Expert Mentor Session Part 4: Business Exit Strategy
[Sunny Smith]: Michael H. Cohen is the founder of Cohen Healthcare Law Group.
He’s a former professor at Harvard medical school and a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The author of over a hundred articles in law reviews and peer reviewed journals, as well as six books, including four published by an academic presses like Johns Hopkins University Press. Michael’s a thought leader who pioneers legal strategies and solutions for clients in traditional and emerging health and wellness markets. In doing so, he advises many physician clients in a variety of businesses and practices. Michael and his attorney team have a wide range of knowledge and he’s glad to have this chance to share some of it with us today.
What About my Business Exit Strategy?
[Michael H. Cohen]: Who’s in charge? Who’s in charge of the electronic medical record? Who has access? What’s confidential? What’s not confidential?
[Sunny Smith]: Even with coaching for everyone who has, because again, a lot of people who follow me are interested in coaching, but for instance, who owns these videos that I’m doing right now, right? Is a question, because if I bring on other people, do they have any rights to these videos that we’re doing?
[Michael H. Cohen]: I thought about that. I mean, you should probably want to control that.
[Sunny Smith]: Yeah.
But I’m just saying there’s all these questions that none of us as physicians, we don’t, because when we walk into a patient room, we don’t think about ownership and exit strategies and who has the right to say what, but as you go into either an online space or an entrepreneur’s space, there’s different questions to start asking.
[Michael H. Cohen]: I think as an entrepreneur, you want to think about ownership.
You want to think about what you own, what you don’t own,
How to protect it?
Is it copyrighted?
Is it patentable? It’s not just patents, right?
Patent is like a machine. I mean, it’s a contrivance? It’s something very specific. There has to be novel. There are all these requirements to get something patented. Not that not everybody patents, maybe you have a drug discovery or a process or a method. Then there’s trademark.
Trademark is, you go to Starbucks, you have, she has green hair, that lady in Starbucks, she’s on the cup of coffee, that’s a trademark. I don’t even know if they have that trademarked. I think that they had very few, I try to remember, I think at one point I read something that they had almost no intellectual property. It was all the branding that propelled them forward.
But usually there’s something that you brand, that you trademark, that’s your thing. And if you don’t clear it, then you get a trademark disputes, then you might have stuff that’s copyrighted. You might have software that’s copyrighted. Then you have trade secrets, things that are confidential.
That’s going to become important when you have employees like your customer lists, right. If you’re coaching all these people, it’s very valuable, right? Your customer lists need to be protected. And then maybe your processes, maybe you have a certain way of coaching people. There was a whole dispute about Bikram.
Bikram, the yoga teacher who invented these moves in a hot studio and could they be protected or could someone take some of his moves? Did he get them from ancient seers? Or were they his? If you stand like a tree, I mean, is that something that …
He did it in his own unique way. So there’s a big court case about that.
Agreements, your agreements with your students. I mean, another way to slice the onion is you think about agreements. You can think about who you need to have agreements with. So we were focusing really deep in the weeds, micro on your agreement with your current employer or your perspective co business layer person, your university, but you can think about agreements with your suppliers horizontally.
You can think about agreements with your coachees, your customers. You can think about agreements with your vendors. All of these things could have terms in them that you just don’t expect. Risk of loss. What if stuff goes wrong, who’s responsible? It’s the language that will protect you or let’s say seal your fate, but it will lead to a certain outcome if you have not acted preventatively.
And so the lawyering that I do now, tying all the buttons together, is preventative. I was like in acute and emergency care in the courtroom and I burnt out. And so I became a holistic preventative lawyer, it was just to help people problem solve ahead of time.
It’s kind of like coaching. And that’s what you need to do for yourself. You need to advocate for yourself.
I would definitely recommend. I needed direction regarding the FDA and how the rules would affect my business. Responsive, accessible, and knowledgeable.
Impressive credentials are only overshadowed by their clear awareness of practical strategies to help Physicians navigate modern healthcare and achieve successful outcomes.