“Begin with the end in mind”


Begin with the end in mind. This one’s worth repeating. Patents can become a ‘nice to have’ and, ultimately, a sunk cost with no prospect of monetization. Before I undertake any new project, we do our homework. We ask, primarily, ‘will these intangible asset opportunities (i.e., patents) provide more than just an abstract value to the client?’ The last thing you want to do is make money while your clients are losing money. We’ve had to let go of good patents (release from maintenance fees), because I didn’t see that they were adding value to the business even though they still wanted to keep spending money to keep their patents alive. This is not easy for any business to do primarily for one reason: the escalation of commitment fallacy!


The legal field is known to be extremely competitive. Lawyers are often smart, ambitious, and highly educated. That being said, what does it take to stand out and become a “Top Lawyer” in your specific field of law? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Become A Top Lawyer In Your Specific Field of Law”, we are talking to top lawyers who share what it takes to excel and stand out in your industry.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yuri Eliezer.

Yuri is the head of the Intellectual Property group at Founders Legal, where he primarily focuses on the intellectual property and patent needs of the firm’s clients. He works closely with many technology companies and is often integrated within their business. He serves on the boards of several tech companies and served as General Counsel to Clickagy, a leading AI tech provider that was acquired by ZoomInfo. He has been consistently recognized within the top 2.5% of lawyers through the Super Lawyers list, a recognition achieved through peer nomination. He is also one of few patent attorneys who was invited by United States Patent and Trademark Office to provide formal industry training to U.S. patent examiners.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law? Did you want to be an attorney “when you grew up”?

I’ve known I wanted to be a patent lawyer since childhood. As a kid, I was intrigued with Albert Einstein, who many people don’t realize started as a patent clerk at the Swiss patent office. His life story captivated me, so I decided to follow in his footsteps. I worked as a patent clerk from high school through law school and focused on engineering as an Undergrad.

Can you tell us a bit about the nature of your practice and what you focus on?

I am an intellectual property attorney specializing in patent law who works with companies that have technology centered around their competitive edge. I ensure that their legal needs are taken care of- from patents to fundraising to successful company acquisitions.

You are a successful attorney. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

Great question. In terms of traits, I would say focus, understanding, and strategy. For example, I focus on the ROI of the services I provide to my clients. To do this, I must understand my client’s business goals. So I keep up to speed with hardware and software technologies. In this way, I am ready to understand my client’s technology. Finally, I begin with the end in mind. This way, I can successfully align their legal strategy with their goals and technology assets.

What unique qualities do you have that others may not? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Unlike many other attorneys, I’m a tech entrepreneur as well. My background as an entrepreneur has enabled me to see where legal can be a part of the solution rather than the problem. I know when it’s time to spend money. I know when it’s time to save money. And I can provide that insight and guidance to other entrepreneurs.

Do you think you have had luck in your success? Can you explain what you mean?

Luck can bring opportunities to you, but it’s up to you to create success from those opportunities at the end of the day.

Do you think where you went to school has any bearing on your success? How important is it for a lawyer to go to a top-tier school?

Yes, your school can have a bearing on your success, but not in the traditional sense. In addition to the education you get, the exposure to your classmates, colleagues and the relationships you build with them have a more significant bearing on your success.

Based on the lessons you have learned from your experience, if you could go back in time and speak to your twenty-year-old self, what would you say? Would you do anything differently?

I would tell my 20-year-old self always to finish strong. Often when we see the finish line, we get comfortable and start to slow down. I would remind my 20-year-old self that those last hundred meters of the race are the most important to push your hardest. The last impression can be the lasting impression.

This is not easy work. What is your primary motivation and drive behind the work that you do?

It’s certainly not easy work. First and foremost, I have incredible clients who embody innovation, which this field is all about. But I would also say my primary drive behind my work is from the team that I lead. I can honestly say that I have built a top-notch team from my paralegal, Merri, to my client coordinator, Elizabeth. Al, our director of research, and John, our technical specialist, are considerable resources to our team. And of course, our intellectual property attorneys, Kevin and Rob, provide our clients with a wealth of knowledge and insight.

Last but not least, my partner Eddie brings me peace of mind and ensures that I can get some time off when I need it! Of course, these are just a few of the excellent teammates I work with. They’re all incredibly talented at what they do and hardworking. I want them all to succeed, and when I succeed, they succeed with me. That has truly been a huge motivator.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Because of my line of work, my most exciting projects are still confidential. But being a key player for innovators is always exciting work. The technologies my clients are creating will have a lasting effect on our future. You can visit patents.google.com and look up some of the clients we represent to see their incredible innovations. In terms of what is now well into the public domain, I have worked on everything from MS X-Box to TIVO patents. You would be surprised how far ahead some patents are filed. For instance, the dual-screen mobile phone MS DUO- those patents stem from I.P. we filed many years ago!

Where do you go from here? Where do you aim to be in the next chapter of your career?

I am excited to build an ecosystem for entrepreneurs to have the connections and resources they need in communities where resources might not be as abundant as what many of us had in our community when we were starting. It’s in the works, but I know it will be a huge chapter ahead.

Without sharing anything confidential, can you please share your most successful “war story”? Can you share the funniest?

CES is a big annual tech convention. Without revealing too much, U.S. Marshalls showed up at the booth of a CES exhibitor who was displaying alleged infringing merchandise by a Chinese competitor to a U.S. company and confiscated their merchandise. The show of force was impressive, and the power of U.S. patents really shined! Everyone was shocked to see what was happening at the convention in front of them. Needless to say, the case settled.

Ok, fantastic. Let’s now shift to discussing some advice for aspiring lawyers. Do you work remotely? Onsite? Or Hybrid? What do you think will be the future of how law offices operate? What do you prefer? Can you please explain what you mean?

We work remotely. It was a transition we made during COVID-19, but it has been an incredibly successful move. I prefer to work in a connected environment, whether through in-person meetings or any interactive platform. At our firm, we have built out a remote platform that has makes remote work seamless for both our teams and our clients. It’s a big step toward the future, where I’m confident that lawyers will be integrated into the everyday communication channels used by their clients for direct messaging interaction.

How has the legal world changed since COVID? How do you think it might change in the near future? Can you explain what you mean?

Since COVID, it’s safe to say we’re all experiencing less in-person meetings. Because of that, there is more adoption of electronic signatures for documents. And overall, the transition to remote and distant client interaction has been much more productive. We don’t lose valuable time commuting to meetings, and clients don’t lose valuable time commuting to our office. There will always be meetings that need to be in person, but now we can better judge what makes sense online versus in person.

We often hear about the importance of networking and getting referrals. Is this still true today? Has the nature of networking changed or has its importance changed? Can you explain what you mean?

Absolutely, referrals and networking are essential in this field. Clients want to work with attorneys they can trust, and often having that mutual connection or that initial interaction creates the foundation of that relationship. The challenge today becomes how do you network in the virtual world? I’m still pursuing in-person networking, fully vaxxed and fully masked. The in-person events are invaluable.

Based on your experience, how can attorneys effectively leverage social media to build their practice?

Thought leadership is crucial for attorneys building out their practice. Attorneys who share valuable insight for their audience are the ones benefitting the most from social media platforms. It’s important to know what platforms match your audience. I’ve seen some personal injury and criminal defense attorneys very successful on platforms like Tik Tok, where they can interact with that target audience. I’m not sure if that’s the right avenue for B2B services — but that is yet to be seen. For me, LinkedIn has been a great platform to connect with tech-focused businesses and entrepreneurs, and Facebook has been good to remind my close friends and family about the work I do.

Excellent. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Become A Top Lawyer In Your Specific Field of Law?” Please share a story or an example for each.

First, possess fundamental knowledge in the field of your invention. Not many patent attorneys have experience at cutting edge tech, for example, blockchain. I served as general counsel and cofounder within this field. In turn, this led to my growth within the community as a trusted blockchain attorney.

Second, assess the state of the art for your client’s invention prior to advising on patent strategy. I turn down clients that do not perform patent searches, and here is why. I once had a client that came to me for legal guidance three times, and each time, the patent search for his idea revealed that he did not have any strong patent rights. This encouraged the client to continue innovating for something that would be patentable and improve upon his technology. That client now holds a multimillion-dollar business and a multimillion-dollar patent portfolio because he took the time to ensure that his innovation was strong and competitive. Without the patent search process, it is not likely they would have seen the same results.

Third, align with at least one economic interest tied to your long-term business model. One of our clients came to us with their patent portfolio. Our team conducted an in-depth assessment of their technology, and we identified a very large competitor that had a gap within their portfolio. We reconstructed my client’s portfolio to fill that gap and make it a good acquisition target for the competitor. This started a bidding war for my client’s patents because the competitor saw our client’s acquisition value strength.

Fourth, continue your education. I don’t just mean continued legal education (CLE) for annual credit requirements. I mean engineering. You must be willing to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Experiment with the latest tech. Be an early adopter. If you’re into blockchain tech, don’t just read about it. Learn how to build crypto-miners, learn how to set up chia farms, deploy smart contracts, set up DOAs, etc. The story here is that I’ve co-founded and failed a business in all of those goals but what I learned led me to work with successful companies.

Finally, begin with the end in mind. This one’s worth repeating. Patents can become a ‘nice to have’ and, ultimately, a sunk cost with no prospect of monetization. Before I undertake any new project, we do our homework. We ask, primarily, ‘will these intangible asset opportunities (i.e., patents) provide more than just an abstract value to the client?’ The last thing you want to do is make money while your clients are losing money. We’ve had to let go of good patents (release from maintenance fees), because I didn’t see that they were adding value to the business even though they still wanted to keep spending money to keep their patents alive. This is not easy for any business to do primarily for one reason: the escalation of commitment fallacy!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Bernie Marcus. He is a very active philanthropist — and his transition from entrepreneur to philanthropist really interests me!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank you for having me! I certainly wish you the same.

About Author /

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Start typing and press Enter to search

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest product or an exclusive offer.