Our Islands, Our Future

As a licensed patent attorney, Shannon Sheldon has come to realize that many businesses and individuals on Maui are unfamiliar with how to protect their valuable intellectual property. That’s why she and her law firm – McKeon Sheldon Mehling – collaborated with Maui Economic Development Board to present “Barbarians at the Gate: Protecting Your Business from Outsiders and Insiders.” The event drew nearly 50 participants and offered free advice from attorneys and a technology consultant on how to protect business intellectual property assets and guard against competitors and employee mistakes.

“The most valuable asset in your business is often the intellectual property, and business owners need to take precautions to protect it,” Sheldon said. “In light of the current technology, this means protecting it from both the outsiders such as competitors, and even insiders, such as employees who inadvertently make mistakes in disclosing the data and confidential information,” she added. Sheldon said business owners could save money if they take preventative measures to protect their data and intellectual property. Judging from the workshop participants’ questions, Sheldon said she believed all learned something important in managing their assets.

“I left with a better understanding of how trademarks, copyrights and patents work and how important it is to have those in place to protect your IP and business,” said Anston Rodrigues, the owner and operator of Maui Needle Worx LLC. “There was a lot of information that was useful,” Rodrigues said. “I will do my best to put it to use. Most of all, ensuring I invest in protecting my intellectual properties.” Aside from Sheldon, her firm’s attorneys Linda Aragon and Rebecca Filipovic spoke at the workshop as well as Erik McFrazier, the founder, owner and lead technician for Computer Hale Inc. Following the workshop held in October at MEDB’s Malcolm Center, participants were offered one-on-one time with the attorneys and consultant. MEDB plans to add another legal seminar on a different topic in January 2015.