McNair develops solutions for growing companies at the crossroads of technology and business. While many firms address only specialized needs of emerging technology companies, we provide a range of strategic advice to clients at every stage of their business life – from company creation to establishment of market leadership and transition to new ownership structures.
Our clients vary in size and market capitalization, and their business models encompass experimental concepts and established products alike. We advise companies involved in aerospace, computer software and gaming, and medical technology applications, as well as everything from advertising to agriculture to shipbuilding.
We know the technology world as well as technology law, with lawyers who speak your language and work with you to turn your innovations into commercial success. Whether it's help with project or enterprise funding, intellectual property protection, regulatory guidance or economic incentives, our lawyers combine legal experience and industry knowledge to create a coordinated and focused plan that meets the challenges your business faces.
Protecting and Growing Intellectual Property Assets
Although our counsel to technology companies covers a full spectrum of business needs, we know that assuring proper protection and exploitation of your intellectual property is fundamental to your success. When you ask us to obtain a patent or trademark, we ask the right questions so we can address your needs with a full range of options that fit your overall business strategy.
We can help you reach your business goals by developing an intellectual property portfolio that can be your company’s largest asset. Our IP lawyers are positioned to offer you a multi-disciplinary approach to today's emerging issues in the development, protection and profitable marketing of your intellectual property assets. We speak the language of your business and the technical jargon of your IP applications, so you get the services of a full-fledged IP partner who has a solid understanding of business realities.
The bottom line is that your technology company gets IP guidance that is integrated into a value-added strategy that helps you exploit new business opportunities while protecting your ideas and assets.
Example of our Services
Our software client produced a gaming software product that we believed would qualify for Class 2 certification (Native American gaming establishments) as well as Class 3 (Nevada gaming regulations). McNair worked closely with industry associations and the National Indian Gaming Commission to ensure that the software met Class 2 standards, and then pursued a US patent as a Class 2 product. Today our client’s software is the industry’s only patented Class 2 application and its IP portfolio remains one of its largest assets.
Providing Advice as Companies Evolve
Our lawyers often serve as outside counsel to technology companies, handling the details of organization, finance and governance. We take entrepreneurs through the entire process of writing business plans, help them make presentations to seasoned investors, and discuss growth strategies, including various offerings and business combinations with established companies.
We often help emerging companies find qualified sources of investment banking services and advise on initial or secondary public securities offerings. At later growth stages, we help our clients with acquisitions and mergers, and leveraged buy-outs and the complex securities, corporate finance and tax issues these transactions involve.
Example of our Services
We advised a group of seasoned engineers who left a large multinational corporation to pursue their vision of a unique method of increasing computer speed. We provided our client with legal advice concerning intellectual property and strategic alliance issues, as well as counseling our client during multiple rounds of financing from sources as varied as venture funds and an Internet-based stock offering. Ultimately, we helped them sell their assets to a strategic partner, realizing a return for all creditors and shareholders.
Advancing Economic Development Objectives
We advise companies and development officials on the best strategies to use incentive programs as foundations for business growth. Just as technology companies emphasize product and service innovation, public policy innovation has been our lawyers’ hallmark, from assisting with the creation of the South Carolina Jobs – Economic Development Authority to structuring new applications of development financing and support programs.
Given our understanding of state law and government, we can develop financing approaches that secure incentives tailored to technology clients’ unique development needs.
Example of our Services
Typifying McNair’s economic development capabilities and commitment to technology companies is our participation in SC Launch. A division of the South Carolina Research Authority, SC Launch uses tax credits to fund programs that broaden the knowledge base of the state economy by improving the business skills of emerging technology companies. As a statewide partner in SC Launch, McNair provides our legal services to technology companies, either at no charge, or at capped or fixed fees.
Establishing Strategic Alliances
Using the combined strengths of our corporate and intellectual property practices, we help technology companies exploit their intellectual assets – products, services, work product – through strategic alliances and licensing agreements that protect their ownership rights. Our lawyers guide you right from the start in a transaction, making sure patents, trademarks, copyrights and publicity rights are fully secured even before identifying the partners. We fully document the terms of complex ownership and royalty issues, and handle the details of distribution or franchising.
If disputes should arise during the course of the agreement, our litigators can handle anti-piracy and trade secrets litigation.
Example of our Services
We advised an entrepreneur who developed a new method of integrating house inspections with home warranty policies – an innovation that reduced both the underwriter’s risk and the homeowner’s premiums. McNair prepared and filed software patents, copyrights and trademarks for our client’s unique process, and advised him on developing a strategic partnership with a major real estate brokerage. With his IP portfolio and the business relationship as a foundation, our client has established a thriving business by franchising his method and software – and he credits McNair for his success.
Defending Your Competitive Position
We design executive employment agreements that protect trade secrets and confidential information for technology businesses, including preparation of appropriate confidentiality and non-disclosure/non-use language. Our employment lawyers also handle the proper construction of severance agreements when management or executive employees are terminated.
Compensation terms are another key aspect of employment agreements, and we help many companies establish incentive and non-statutory stock option plans and non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements as part of their executive contracts.
Example of our Services
We recognize the value of technology and know-how developed by our clients. Non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreements are often essential to protect these assets in emerging companies. McNair’s lawyers can prepare technology protection strategies tailored to our clients’ needs. One entrepreneurial client had a company that used a unique assessment tool to help predict where to invest in real estate with the hopes that large retailers might locate there.
McNair was retained once one of the officers began claiming he had developed the assessment tool on his own. Prior to retaining McNair, there had been no employment or non-competition agreements with the company’s officers, so we moved quickly to file patents, copyrights and assignments that secured the rights for our client. Later, when the officer left the company, he was unable to take any IP rights to the process with him, despite his claims of invention.
- McNair Grows IP Practice and Charlotte Office with Addition of Three Shareholders and Three StaffMay 16, 2017
Currie, John W.Shareholder - Columbia, SCjcurrie@mcnair.net803.799.9800 Main
Denning Jr., Jim Special Counsel - Greenville, SCjdenning@mcnair.net864.271.4940 Main
Freeman, Hunter S.Shareholder - Greenville, SChfreeman@mcnair.net864.271.4940 Main
Harrill, Paul D.Shareholder - Columbia, SCpharrill@mcnair.net803.799.9800 Main
Johnson, John Shareholder - Charlotte, NCjjohnson@mcnair.net704.347.1170 Main
Kim, Douglas W.Shareholder - Greenville, SCdkim@mcnair.net864.271.4940 Main
Lahey, Seann Patrick Shareholder - Greenville, SCslahey@mcnair.net864.271.4940 Main
Lineberry, Douglas L.Special Counsel - Greenville, SCdlineberry@mcnair.net864.271.4940 Main
Nicholson V, Benjamin E.Shareholder - Columbia, SCnnicholson@mcnair.net803.799.9800 Main
Quirk, Nathaniel T.Shareholder - Charlotte, NCnquirk@mcnair.net704.347.1170 Main
Taber, Jonathan P.Shareholder - Hilton Head Is., SCjtaber@mcnair.net843.785.2171 Main