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Revival of High-Tech Startups Create Intellectual Property Issues in NYC

The number of high-tech startups calling New York City home has steadily increased over the last few years. While this startup revival has helped the city’s unemployment numbers and boosted its economy, it has also created new issues like intellectual property violations in the form of content licensing and copyright infringement. A federal judge recently ruled, however, that even some violations of intellectual property laws that cause irreparable – but not overwhelming – harm can be overlooked, which gives some startups the chance to grow.

Startup Climate in NYC

According to Center for an Urban Future, almost 500 startups in New York City gained investors between 2007 and 2011. This funding, which rose 32 percent during the four-year period, was the opposite of the 10 percent decrease in startup financing that occurred across the U.S. Since that time. IT employment opportunities in New York City have increased by 30 percent and over a dozen existing high-tech startups have abandoned their offices in areas like Boston and Silicon Valley and set up camp in the thriving metropolis.

Recent Ruling

In July U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan sent broadcasting giants like Fox, CBS, NBC and others reeling when she rejected their request to enjoin a small startup company based in New York City from copying and retransmitting their copyrighted programming to the mobile devices of its subscription customers. The judge instead sided with prior case law and ruled that the company could continue its operation even though its activities caused the broadcasters substantial, but not overwhelming, imminent and irreparable harm.

Innovations in technology that allow mobile device users to view movies and programs via internet streaming have created much controversy and confusion. This is especially so among the networks and other content providers and distributors who attempt to examine their legitimacy against pre-existing copyright laws and licensing contracts. The main issue in lawsuits arising from retransmitting unique programming to mobile devices is the inability to track Nielsen ratings, which broadcasters rely on to help them sell advertising time.

High-Tech Revival

Startup companies who have been sued by the big networks and won do not believe they are infringing copyright laws or violating licensing agreements. They are instead part of a technology revolution who believe that mobile devices are just more screens in households that should be covered, without further charges, under current customer agreements. Issues like content licensing and rebroadcasting that deal with copyright infringement and other intellectual property laws will likely grow instead of lessen in the coming years, so all parties need to prepare themselves with legal representation.

Whether you represent a New York City startup company or an existing technology giant, you need to know how to approach intellectual property issues and any potential lawsuits for infringement. Contact a New York City intellectual property law attorney right away for advice to ensure that you can not only survive, but thrive during the high-tech revival.