Starting a business can be intimidating. You have an idea, now what? How do you protect that idea? The startup scene is something more and more entrepreneurs in the Jackson area are dipping their toes into. For that reason, the Jackson entrepreneurial community is lucky to have dedicated intellectual property (“IP”) expertise in Endurance Law Group PLC. Jon Shackelford, one of the partners, explained that Endurance Law is made up of patent lawyers, a rare breed who are as much engineers as they are attorneys, which makes them unique in the legal field.
Endurance Law was formed by Jon and law partner Brad Smith, who each left big Ann Arbor firms in 2012 to set-up shop in Jackson. The motivation was different for each. For Jon, he always admired clients who were entrepreneurs, taking risks on ideas and new ventures. The thought of starting a business seemed exhilarating to Jon. Brad was motivated by the prospects of a better quality of life and the ability to closely manage the working family farm in Addison. Leaving the security of large firms and steady incomes to start a boutique IP practice in Jackson was daunting, to say the least, but the pair have never had any regrets for taking that leap of faith, now ten years ago.
A patent lawyer must be able to understand an invention in order to write an effective patent. Brad and Jon both come from a mechanical engineering backgrounds, meaning they love inventions made of gears and springs and moving parts, but have less experience dealing with inventions based in electrical, software, and E-commerce tech. That’s why they’ve recently made an important addition to the firm, Jim Yee. Jim is an electrical engineer and specializes in exactly these areas. With Jim, Endurance Law is able to better serve clients in the electrical, software and E-commerce spaces at a competitive cost.
All three lawyers that make up Endurance Law came from big firms, posh offices and expensive hourly rates. Here they are now, in Jackson, the very same lawyers without the flashy surroundings and big city rates. When the Lean Rocket Lab was established in downtown Jackson (2018), Endurance Law jumped at the opportunity to relocate its offices within the hub of the city’s entrepreneurial heartbeat. The Lab offers Jim, Brad and Jon the ability to easily connect with Jackson’s best and brightest rising stars on the entrepreneurial scene. Endurance Law passionately believes that the future entrepreneurs of Jackson are to be found flowing through the Lean Rocket Lab in some capacity, and that’s why the firm is exactly where it needs to be. Jon testified that after observing the entrepreneurial scene in Jackson over the past 10+ years, the Lean Rocket Lab has done a remarkable – make that miraculous — job establishing a genuine, fully-functioning, entrepreneurial community in Jackson. Being in this environment allows the Endurance lawyers to be one step closer to their clients, while offering their specialized type of support to this important growth sector of our community.
Endurance Law specializes in Intellectual Property Law, IP law for short, which is an umbrella term for four different legal tools/devices created to protect different facets of human creativity: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. They work mainly with inventors and creators to protect and defend their creations.
If a client has an invention, they need a patent. If a client has created a work of art, they need copyright. If a client has come up with their own brand, they need a trademark. Confidential formulations need a trade secret. Brad, a seasoned litigator, handles IP disputes for the firm. Jon described their services as a sort of cocktail. Depending on what each client creates or needs, Endurance Law devises a “cocktail” of intellectual property ingredients to maximize protection. With that, the partners at Endurance Law see themselves as “mixologists” for Intellectual Property – custom IP cocktails made to order.
Entrepreneurs have something unique to offer their customers. Businesses without a unique offering at least want to be distinguishable from their competition. In both cases, the path to distinctiveness in the business world travels through Intellectual Property. Though needs differ from business to business, Endurance Law helps entrepreneurs and businesses of all kinds establish themselves in a unique way so that they can maintain, and hopefully grow, their market share.
One major point that Endurance Law wants to get across is – why pay for showiness? Jon explained, “If someone is looking for a flashy, expensive IP lawyer, go to a big city like Ann Arbor, Detroit or Grand Rapids.” Rather, the Endurance lawyers are highly qualified, experienced “IP mixologists” that know the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. For day-in, day-out IP legal affairs, come to Endurance Law for the same quality of service as you will find in the big firms, just with lower rates and skipping the superficial stuff.