Silicon Valley - View of Downtown

Information Technology Law

Helping Your Business Grow and Manage Legal Risk

Silicon Valley spearheads technological innovation in the midst of our latest industrial revolution -- in large part because of information technology.  Executives, business owners, and founders are starting and growing new ventures in the most cutting edge technologies -- artificial intelligence (including machine learning and deep learning), robotics, automated driving and transportation systems, human-computer interfaces, Big Data, the Internet of Things, inmplatables/ingestables/injectables, augmented and virtual reality, cryptocurrencies, other blockchain applications, and quantum computing.  Executives want to develop their innovative products and services, go to market, and start bringing in revenue.

Yet the U.S. and increasingly foreign and international laws and legal systems can be thorny obstacles to business success.  Consider:

  • Your business wants to sell products and services to make your revenue numbers.  At the same time, common sense tells you that you need legal agreements to close the deals to bring in the revenue.  Everyone tells you handshake deals are trouble.  Where do those agreements come from?  Especially for cutting edge information technology products and services no one has seen before.  Certainly, your general business lawyer is unfamiliar with the details.  Maybe your customers are putting their own agreement in front of you -- which looks very one-sided in favor of the customer.  It's at that point you realize that many of the legal terms in these agreements have to protect your interest and control your legal risk.  How can you efficiently develop form agreements, get help negotiating them against your customers' lawyers, and close deals -- all so you can make your revenue numbers -- this month, quarter, or year-end?
  • Companies are spending thousands and millions on legal compliance now in areas such as privacy and security compliance with new laws such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act.  Very few lawyers know much about data privacy.  And even fewer are well-versed in the technology, business processes, and professional standards of the information security field.  How do you get legal help to stay out of trouble with government regulators while managing compliance efficiently?
  • When the data breach occurs, when the robot or autonomous vehicle has an accident, or when someone suspects bias in your company's artificial intelligence software, who will help you run an investigation and connect you with experts in the field who can support your investigation?  Does your general business lawyer know anything about investigating data exfiltration?  About examining algorithmic bias?  How robots can fail?  Sure, you can hire experts in these fields directly.  But the law recognizes an "attorney-client privilege" protection, which prevents the other side's lawyer from asking you questions about what you said to your lawyer and vice versa.  If you hire an expert investigator without an attorney involved, the other side's lawyer can ask about the investigator's calls and meetings with you without restriction.  The protection of the attorney-client privilege would not apply.
  • After breaches, accidents, and incidents of AI bias, you shouldn't be surprised if a lawsuit follows.  Does your general business litigation law firm know much about advanced information technology to defend your interests?  Or would you have to educate your general business firm about your technology -- at considerable expense?
  • Having governance documentation to manage your technology with policies, procedures, guidelines, and training materials makes a lot of sense.  Every major business has a privacy policy for example.  And common sense tells you that you should have robust security policies too.  But when companies develop technologies in the area of artificial intelligence, boards, auditors, regulators, legislators, and advocacy groups start asking hard questions.  We believe that in the unfolding era of artificial intelligence, AI impact assessments and AI governance policies will be commonly used, just as privacy policies are today.  Does your general business lawyer have the knowledge and experience to help you write and refine your AI impact assessment?

Dealing with these legal challenges by yourself can be bewildering, confusing, and frustrating.  Going it alone seems like a risky option.  You trust your general business lawyer, but your current lawyer's experience is probably pretty superficial when it comes to your technology.  After all, your general business lawyer may also help businesses in fields like industrial products, real estate, finance, construction, healthcare, and numerous other sectors.  General business lawyers focus on business formation, financing, and acquisitions for many kinds of business.  Yes, they know business law.  But how efficient will it be for you to teach your general business lawyer all the background about your technology?  Wouldn't it be faster, more efficient, and ultimately less expensive to use a specialist to help you with your advanced information technologies?

This is where Silicon Valley Law Group can help.

  • We help you bring in the revenue your business needs to make its revenue numbers by developing and negotiating agreements to sell your products and services to your customers.  We have been working for decades in information technology and maintain industry leadership in fields like artificial intelligence and robotics, information security, and Big Data.  Our attorneys can help you with a wide variety of agreements, including master service agreements, licenses, joint ventures, and development agreements.  We also negotiate a broad range of sales and marketing deals, including OEM, sales partner/agent, channel, and joint marketing agreement.  By drafting and negotiating these deals, our firm helps your business grow.
  • We help clients learn about their compliance obligations and help them get up to speed on the latest developments in information technology legal requirements -- especially in the areas of privacy, data security, AI, robotics, and automated transportation.  We save you time and effort in your compliance programs because we are familiar with the latest trends already.
  • We spearhead investigations of data breaches, accidents, and breakdowns or flaws in software implementing AI algorithms.  We find out the facts with the help of allied experts in the relevant fields.  At the same time, our work as attorneys means that our communications with you and your communications with our lawyers, staff, and to the extent possible, our outside investigators and experts are protected by the attorney-client privilege.  We can object if an opposing lawyer asks you to repeat what you said to any of us.
  • If a lawsuit does follow a security breach, accident, or breakdown in AI, we can defend you in that suit.  Having our firm represent your business means that we are already deeply familiar with information technology and receiving personal attention from an industry-leading practitioner.  That means we don't need to spend your time or money to get up to speed on a lot of background information about your field and technology.  Also, we staff our cases efficiently and without a lot of bureaucracy that you are likely to see in other law firms.  Our business model is to use a smaller number of experienced practitioners to run cases more efficiently than other firms can.
  • Finally, we help our clients manage governance programs of cutting edge information technologies.  We can write or edit your governance documentation.  Examples include privacy policies, security policies, and AI impact assessments.  We help manage programs of auditing and assessment.  For instance, we help clients and work with auditors to support programs to obtain data security reports and certifications such as SOC 2 and ISO 27001/27002.

If we can be of help to you with information technology -- to help you write agreements, comply with new legal requirements, investigate a breach, explore dispute resolution options, or establish governance programs -- please contact us by filling out the contact form on this page.  One of us would be happy to talk with you without obligation to find out about your needs and see if our firm would be a good fit for meeting your important legal needs.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about information technology law, please join the Meetup groups we lead in artificial intelligence and roboticsinformation security, and Big Data.  We have programs almost every month and have five years of content from old meetings you can view.  You can see the content by registering a free account on Meetup.com.  Recordings and videos of old programs are linked in the comment section of each program page.