Erik J. Heels
Bio (The Short Story)
Erik subscribes to the idea of trying to help everyone who contacts him, a concept outlined in the excellent book “Give and Take” by Adam Grant (2013), so feel free to contact him (and read the book) (HT Adam McGowan).
Erik Heels (patent attorney, trademark lawyer) graduated from MIT (1988, BS Electrical Engineering), served in active duty in the USAF (1989-1992), wrote the first book published simultaneously on the Internet and in print (1992-1995), and worked for 6+ startups as a non-lawyer for 6+ years (1995-2001), including a 4-year stint with Verio (sold to NTT for $6 billion in 2000), before launching Clocktower (2001), a patent and trademark law firm in Great Boston (not a typo) that caters to startups.
Erik is a frequent speaker (in person and virtually) and writer (a few books plus a few more articles). He earned his BS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his JD from the University of Maine School of Law (Maine Law). Erik claims to publish the #1 blog about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll. Brevity is not his strong suit.
The Long Story
Erik’s technology experience includes getting in to MIT (1984); getting on the Internet as part of Project Athena at MIT (1984); getting out of MIT (BSEE 1988); Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) (1988-1989); briefly flying jets in the Air Force (1989), turning down the opportunity to be an astronaut (1989), then flying a desk in the Air Force (1989-1992); Cayman Systems (1990); Verio (acquired by NTT for $6 billion in 2000); co-founding (with the domain name originally used for Clocktower Law) the Heels.com shoe store (sold to Erik’s co-founder in 2008); and Clocktower Law (2001-present).
Erik’s law experience includes writing seven editions of”The Legal List” (the first book published simultaneously on the Internet and in print, reviews of which appeared in Wired magazine, Internet World magazine, and The New York Times) (1992-1995); teaching patent law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law (2011-2014); and Clocktower Law (2001-present).
Erik’s baseball experience includes being a lifelong Red Sox and Carl ‘Yaz’ Yastrzemski fan (1966-present); coaching Little League for ten years (2000-2009); attending the 2008 ALCS Game 5; and attending the 2013 World Series Game 6.
Erik’s music experience includes learning to play from chord sheets (tabs) as the piano player for the MIT Seekers at Park Street Church in Boston (1984-1988); playing the organ at a friend’s wedding (1987); performing an original piano composition at the MIT Chapel (1988); seeking the perfect Hammond B-3 organ sound on various keyboards (1988-present); and being a hacker keyboard player in a rock cover band, The MCats Band, that raises money for cancer research and other charities and has played multiple times on the PMC Party Ferry (2005-present).
Erik’s life experiences and adventures include being born (6-6-66); co-building (with his brother, Mark) and sleeping in a huge igloo (1982); swimming in the Arctic Ocean (1988); pulling six Gs and soloing a jet in the Air Force (1989); raising three children (Sam, Ben, and Sonja) (1994-present); co-building (with his kids) the perfect treehouse (2003-2004); and marrying Rebecca Cazabon (who heads up the pro bono program for Foley Hoag) and helping raise her two children and his stepchildren (Nino and Freddy) (2013-present).
The Even Longer Story
- Experience: Present
- Experience: Past
- Publications: Books
- Publications: Columns
- Publications: Articles
- Publications: Blogs
- Publications: Sample
- Speaking Engagements
- Media Appearances
- University of Maine School of Law, Portland ME, JD, 1995.
- Franklin Pierce Law Center (now University of New Hampshire School of Law), Concord NH, Intellectual Property Summer Institute, 1994.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA, BS Electrical Engineering (BSEE), 1988. Representative classes, activities, and jobs include:
- 2.70 Introduction To Design (Woodie C. Flowers, Harry West).
- 2.70 Mechanical Engineering Design Contest, tug-of-war machine selected for annual display in Mechanical Engineering department (1987).
- 6.001 Structure & Interpretation Of Computer Programs (Gerald Jay Sussman, Louis D. Braida).
- 6THU Undergraduate Thesis, Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation, integrated a Macintosh SE personal computer with a microcomputer-controlled above-knee prosthesis and programmed in Lightspeed C and CP/M 80 assembly language (Woodie C. Flowers) (https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/14584).
- AFROTC (Air Force ROTC Detachment 365).
- MIT D-League Intramural Hockey Team (Defense).
- MIT EECS Teaching Assistant (TA), 6.001 Laboratory Teaching Assistant, taught students in areas of recursion, iteration, query database construction, and higher level language abstractions and programmed in Scheme, a dialect of LISP.
- MIT Logarhythms, a capella singing group (LOGs).
- MIT Next Act, musical theatre group (Next House).
- MIT Seekers (Park Street Church, Boston).
- American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow, 2003-present.
- Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce, 2001-present.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), 1996-2005.
- “Patent Bar” (i.e. registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, reg. no. 39,218), Registered Patent Attorney, 1995-present.
- Massachusetts Bar, reg. no. 628520, 1995-present.
- Maine Bar, reg. no. 8051, 1995-present.
- American Bar Association (ABA), 1992-2011.
- Law Practice Management Section, Magazine Board, 2001-2007.
- Law Practice Management Section, Publishing Advisory Board, 1996-1997.
- Law Practice Management Section, New Media and Internet Board, 1996-1997.
- Law Practice Management Section, Internet Services Board, 1995-1996.
- The MCats Band, Great Boston, Co-founder and Keyboard Player, January 2005 – Present.
The MCats Band is a rock cover band that was originally founded to raise money for the McCarthy-Towne Elementary School (MCT), Acton MA, where the children of all of the founding members attended. The MCats Band raises money for cancer research and other charities and has played multiple times on the PMC Party Ferry.
- Clocktower Law, Great Boston, Founder and Patent Attorney, March 2001 – Present.
Clocktower Law is a patent and trademark law firm in Great Boston that caters to startups.
- GiantPeople LLC, Great Boston, Founder, December 1999 – Present.
GiantPeople provides various services (including business analysis, business strategy, consulting, investing, IP due diligence, marketing, planning, and publishing) to Boston startups in various markets (including technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll).
- University of Maine School of Law, Portland ME, Adjunct Professor, January 2011 – May 2014.
Erik taught Maine Law‘s Patent Law 698 class.
- Heels.com, Charlotte NC, Co-founder, June 2007 – September 2008.
Heels.com is an online retail shopping site for designer women’s shoes. Sold to Erik’s co-founder in 2008.
- Verio Inc., Denver CO, Dir. of Marketing and Sales, June 1997 – March 2001.
Verio was the world’s largest web hosting company and a leading provider of comprehensive Internet solutions. Sold to NTT for $6 billion in 2000.
- RedStreet Consulting, Great Boston, Co-founder, April 1997 – April 2001.
RedStreet was an internet consulting company for legal professionals with a website featuring 1000+ law firm website reviews from 1996 to 1999.
- Inherent.Com Inc., Portland OR, VP of Marketing and Sales, March 1996 – May 1997.
Inherent.Com was a pioneering provider of websites and other Internet and intranet solutions for legal professionals (including abanet.org and martindale.com).
- American Lawyer Media, New York NY, Dir. of Internet Product Development, November 1995 – March 1996.
American Lawyer Media (ALM) was a legal media company whose online brands included Counsel Connect and CourtTV.
- Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, Rochester NY, Internet Systems Architect, January 1995 – November 1995.
Lawyers Cooperative Publishing (LCP) was a leading legal publisher and published the 6th and 7th editions of Erik’s first book,”The Legal List.”
- The Legal List, Great Boston, Founder, August 1992 – December 1994.
The Legal List (the company) published the first five editions of Erik’s first book,”The Legal List.” Erik sold those publishing rights to Lawyers Cooperative Publishing in 1995.
- Cayman Systems, Great Boston, QA Engineer, January 1990 – December 1990.
Cayman Systems was a manufacturer of internetworking hardware and software, including the GatorBox, a Macintosh-to-Ethernet network gateway.
- United States Air Force, Multiple Locations, Captain, April 1989 – October 1992.
Erik served on active duty in the USAF as a Student Pilot (Reese AFB, TX) and Program Manager, E-3 Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) Program Office (Hanscom AFB, MA).
- Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN), Great Boston, QA Engineer, October 1988 – April 1989.
BBN was a pioneering company that helped invent the Internet. BBN Advanced Computers Inc. (BBN ACI) was a manufacturer of the Butterfly GP1000 parallel-processing computer.
- Rautaruukki OY, Raahe Finland, Research Engineer, June 1988 – September 1988.
Rautaruukki (now Ruuuki) is Europe’s largest steel plant.
- How To Study For The Bar Exam In Three Days (Second Edition) (ISBN 0967860725), GiantPeople, by Erik J. Heels, January 2003.
- How To Study For The Bar Exam In Three Days (ISBN 0967860717), GiantPeople, by Erik J. Heels, May 2001.
- RedStreet’s Best Legal Websites 2000 (ISBN 0967860709), GiantPeople, by Erik J. Heels and Richard P. Klau, January 2000.
- The Legal List, Law-Related Resources on the Internet and Elsewhere (v5.1) (ISBN 0964363704), The Legal List, by Erik J. Heels, September 1994.
- Law Law Law on the Internet: The Best Legal Web Sites and More (ISBN 1570735530), American Bar Association, by Erik J. Heels and Richard P. Klau, March 1998.
- The Legal List (v7.0) (ISBN 0762000120), Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, by Erik J. Heels, October 1995.
- The Legal List (v6.0) (ISBN 0762000007), Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, by Erik J. Heels, March 1995. “The Legal List” has been excerpted, cited, or reviewed in many publications including:
- Other Books
- The Lawyer’s Guide To The Internet (ISBN 1570731497), American Bar Association, by G. Burgess Allison (Author), Erik J. Heels (Contributor), August 1995.
- The Internet Compendium: Guides to Resources by Subject (ISBN 1555702201), Neal-Schuman, by Louis Rosenfeld (Editor), Erik J. Heels (Contributor), et al., June 1995.
- Paralegal Guide To Intellectual Property (ISBN 0471043036), John Wiley & Sons, by Valerie J. Atkinson (Author), Erik J. Heels (Contributor), October 1994.
- Online & Print Media
- Wired,”a brilliant resource for the electronically inclined,” December 1995.
- Lycos (formerly Point Communications) Top 5%,”relentlessly complete,” April 1995.
- Internet World,”the de facto source of legal and law-related sites on the Internet,” March 1995.
- The New York Times,”many on the Net consider [‘The Legal List’] the most authoritative guide of its kind,” August 19, 1994.
- “LegalResearcher.com” column, LegalResearcher.com, New York Law Publishing Company, with Richard P. Klau, August 1997 – March 1999.
- “nothing.but.net” column, Law Practice Management magazine & Law Practice magazine, American Bar Association, October 1996 – December 2008.
- “Legal Links” column, Martindale.com, Martindale-Hubbell, with Richard P. Klau, June 1996 – March 1997.
- “Online” column, Student Lawyer magazine, American Bar Association, with Richard P. Klau, September 1994 – April 1999.
- Articles published by third-party publishers (i.e. not self-published).
- Articles, presentations, and the like published in blogs, websites, and other publications, owned in whole or in part by Erik (i.e. self-published) including: applewoodvillage.org, cannonballshooters.com, clocktowerlaw.com, erikjheels.com, giantpeople.com, high.heels.com, mcatsband.org, redstreet.com, russellandtate.com, and yearofdisruption.com.
Some of Erik’s favorites (all flavors) include the following:
- “* Rename Yawkey Way Yaz Way,” ‘Rename Yawkey Way Yaz Way’ Facebook Page, GiantPeople, August 2017.
- “* Why We PMC: The MCats Band Story,” MCatsBand.org, GiantPeople, July 2017.
- “* Vet My Bio For Veterans Day #VetMyBio,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, November 2016.
- “* The Who, What, Where, When, Why, And How Of Trademarks,” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, September 2016.
- “* How To Build A Startup: One Board At A Time, Be Yourself, Get Plants,” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, June 2016.
- “* The Who, What, Where, When, Why, And How Of Patents,” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, March 2014.
- “* Thomas L. Bohan, Ph.D., JD,” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, January 2011.
- “* Professor David D. Gregory,” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, January 2011.
- “* A Mere Mortal’s Guide To Patents Post-Bilski (Or Why §101 Is A Red Herring),” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, July 2010.
- “* Thomas R. Heels And Helena E. Heels,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, May 2010.
- “* The Perfect Treehouse (Part 2 – Videos),” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, October 2009.
- “* Huge Igloo We Built And Slept In,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, January 2009.
- “* Nine Principles Of Baseball And Life,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, May 2007.
- “* Recursive Logo,” ErikJHeels.com, Clocktower Law, September 2004.
- “* How To Get And Defend A Patent Without Going Broke,” Mass High Tech, American City Business Journals, August 2004.
- “* Just Say Moo – How To Name And Brand Your Product To Make It Stand Out From The Crowd,” Mass High Tech, American City Business Journals, December 2003.
- “* An IP Audit Of Spongebob Squarepants,” Mass High Tech, American City Business Journals, October 2003.
- “* Software Patents: Good Or Evil? (Part 1),” ClocktowerLaw.com, Clocktower Law, June 2003.
- “* Zen And The Art Of Data Restoration,” Law Practice Management magazine, “nothing.but.net” column, American Bar Association, May 2003.
- “* GEORGE W. BUSH TO CHANGE HIS NAME TO GEORGE WWW BUSH,” Fingbot.com, GiantPeople, April 2001.
- “* BILL CLINTON TO LAUNCH E-COMMERCE DOT COM SITE WITH FALL 2000 IPO,” RedStreet.com, GiantPeople, April 2000.
- “* The Meaning Of Life Online,” Judges’ Journal, American Bar Association, February 2000.
- “* VISA PURCHASES THE INTERNET FOR $419.9 BILLION,” RedStreet.com, GiantPeople, April 1999.
- “* Publications: The Legal List,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, March 1997.
- “* Ease-of-Copying In The Digital Age – Turning A Negative Into A Positive,” Seminar – Commercial Strategies for Intellectual Property, Patent, and Copyright Protection on the Internet, International Business Communications (IBC), April 1996.
- “* The Case Against Daubert: The New Scientific Evidence ‘Standard’ and the Standards of the Several States,” Journal of Forensic Sciences, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, November 1995.
- “* Why Lawyers Should Get On The Internet,” Law Practice Management magazine, American Bar Association, November 1994.
- “* Finland, WW2, And International Law,” ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, December 1993.
- “* Computer Interface For A Passive Self-Contained Microcomputer Controlled Above-Knee Prosthesis,” MIT Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 1988.
- Bentley University, Waltham MA, Class: Entrepreneurial Thinking MG-335, guest lecturer, How To Build A Startup, 2016.
- Bentley University, Waltham MA, Class: Entrepreneurial Thinking MG-335, guest lecturer, Adventure, Risks, and Startups, 2015.
- Koa Labs Start-Up Club, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA, speaker, The Who, What, Where, When, Why, And How Of Patents, 2014.
- Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA, Global Education & Career Development (GECD), panelist (with Jasmina Aganovic and Barbara Donohue), Alternative Careers For Engineers, 2011.
- Law Firm Media Professionals, Boston MA, LFMP Boston Chapter, panelist (with Robert M. Buchanan and Robert J. Ambrogi), Blogging Best Practices, 2010.
- Google Legal Summit, New York NY, panelist (with Nicole Wong, Steven Levy, Nicholas Thompson, and Richard P. Klau), Scaling Google’s Core Values: Innovation And Disruption, 2010.
- Babson College, Wellesley MA, Engineering Class: Entrepreneurship and New Ventures, guest lecturer, Got IP? Top Ten Tips for Identifying, Protecting, and Making Money from Intellectual Property, 2004-2005.
- American Bar Association, Chicago IL, ABA TechShow, speaker (with Ernest Svenson), Mac, Linux, Open Source: The Other Alternatives, 2004.
- University of Maine School of Law, Portland ME, The Technology Law Center’s 4th Annual Law and Technology Conference, speaker (with Tim Cranton (Microsoft), John Cronin (IP Capital Group), Karen Hersey (Franklin Pierce Law Center), Doug Hurley (Gartner Inc.), David Martin (M-CAM Inc.), Eben Moglen (Columbia Law School), Harlan Onsrud (University of Maine), Jordan Pollack (Brandeis University), Larry Rosen (Rosenlaw.com), and Richard Stallman (Free Software Foundation)), Software Patents: Good or Evil?, 2003.
- Boston Bar Association, Boston MA, speaker, Top Ten Things You Should Know about the UDRP, 2002.
- Babson College, Wellesley MA, MBA Class: Technology and E-Commerce Law, guest lecturer, Patents vs. Trade Secrets, 2002.
- Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA, Class: Advanced Legal Research, guest lecturer, The Future of Legal Research, 1998.
- International Business Communications (IBC), Atlanta GA, Seminar: Commercial Strategies for Intellectual Property, Patent, and Copyright Protection on the Internet, speaker, Ease-of-Copying in the Digital Age: Turning a Negative into a Positive, 1996.
- American Bar Association, Chicago IL, ABA TechShow, speaker, Beyond the Buzzwords: The Future of the Internet, 1996.
- American Bar Association, Chicago IL, ABA Annual Meeting, speaker, The Internet: Opportunities and Challenges on the Electronic Frontier, 1995.
- Maine State Bar Association, Portland ME, MSBA Summer Meeting, speaker, The Internet and the Law, 1995.
- Arizona State Bar Association, Phoenix AZ, State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, speaker, How to be Pleasantly Surprised by the Internet, 1995.
Including television, video, webcasts, radio, audio, and podcasts.
- TWiL 345 Video: Fax It To Twitter: 2016-05-13, ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, February 2017.
- Podcast: The Brass Ring by Gina Ghioldi (feat. Erik J. Heels), ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, March 2011.
- TWiL 99 Video: Butt Dialing To Jail: 2011-02-18, ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, February 2011.
- TWiL 68 Video: Whiz Bang Click: 2010-07-09, ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, July 2010.
- TWiL 66 Video: Wrestling Pigs And Unicorns: 2010-06-28, ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, June 2010.
- TWiL 48 Video: Buzz Kill: 2010-02-19, ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, February 2010.
- TV: Stay Connected Episode II (with Erik J. Heels), ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, April 2009.
- TV: Nothing To Smile About: Teeth Whitening Problems Redux (feat. Erik J. Heels), TeethWhiteningFail.com, GiantPeople, March 2009.
- Podcast: What is High Speed Fiber Optic ISP Service Really Like? (feat. Erik J. Heels), ErikJHeels.com, GiantPeople, January 2008.
- TV: The Internet for Practical Litigators (with Erik J. Heels), American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA), Video Law Review, televised over the American Law Network, February 1997.
|“What gives lawyers like Heels the courage to risk, while others merely daydream out the window, wishing mightily that they were doing something else?”
– ABA Journal
|“[Erik J. Heels’s book The Legal List is] a brilliant resource for the electronically inclined.”
– Wired magazine
|“[Erik J. Heels’s book The Legal List is an] absolutely mind-boggling resource for Internet legal eagles…. Not incredibly exciting, mind you; just relentlessly complete.”
– Lycos Top 5%
|“Anyone serious about legal research and resources needs to get a copy of Erik J. Heels’s The Legal List, which has become the de facto source of legal and law-related sites on the Internet.”
– Internet World magazine
|“[M]any on the Net consider [Erik J. Heels’s book The Legal List] the most authoritative guide of its kind.”
– The New York Times