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Name and title:Kevin Lapidus, senior vice president and general counsel. Age:36 Artificial intelligence:YellowBrix Inc., based in Alexandria, Va., provides “contextual analysis” software that reads, analyzes and categorizes news and information from more than 3,000 sources-including the Associated Press and Knight-Ridder newspapers-for clients including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp. “For instance, it can understand the difference between Tiger Woods and an actual tiger,” Lapidus said. “Using artificial intelligence, the software looks at the juxtaposition of words and determines what the article means. Our customers use this information to see how they’re portrayed in the news, keep track of the competition, look at the supply chain or vendors and to look at regulations that apply to them.” YellowBrix operates in “the digital content space” where the law “is still very much in flux.” he said. “Cases like MGM v. Grokster, which in essence was decided based on the knowledge and intent of the companies, left open the debate about dual-use technology. “Copyright issues like fair use are still being flushed out-there is still honest debate about fair use and copyright in some industries. In the end, business viability really boils down to the importance of attorneys and the licensing regime. This is an opportunity for lawyers to play a business role as well as a legal role. Licensing is critical to a company.” Spinoff:YellowBrix was founded in 1997 through a buyout of Web search portal Infoseek. Investors include the Soros Private Equity Group, Time Warner Inc. and ABN AMRO Holding N.V. The company was partially through the initial public offering process in 2000 when the tech bubble burst. “We missed the IPO window by about three months,” Lapidus said. “We spent a couple of years reorganizing the company, retooling our business model and recapitalizing the company.” The company became profitable in 2004, the same year it acquired content-licensing group FluentMedia from Tribune Media Services. “We’re hiring again; we have a number of job openings,” he said. Daily duties:Lapidus works with the board of directors and helps manage investor-relations issues, including capital structure, financing and corporate events. “I’m involved in corporate governance, making sure the corporate processes and checks and balances are in place. And I work on transactions including IP licensing, customer contracts and corporate finance.” Mergers and acquisitions and financing he handles in-house. “During our reorganization I did the workouts with the vendors as we retooled, and helped to recapitalize the company by taking a number of series of preferred stock and converting them to common stock.” Lapidus reports to Jeff Massa, the company’s chief executive officer and co-founder. Legal team and outside counsel:The legal department consists of “one person-I’m the only attorney.” Lapidus turns to Howrey of Washington for some IP work and D.C.’s Hogan & Hartson for employee benefits, corporate finance and immigration law work. Coming up:On the horizon for tech companies are important changes to the deferred-compensation law under the Internal Revenue Code-”namely, how you value stock for stock-option purposes. These are big changes,” Lapidus said. Additionally, “digital intellectual property issues are important and interesting. I want to put in a plug for a Web site from the Committee for Economic Development. They have a report on http://www.ced.org “  www.ced.org that really goes through the issues surrounding digital content and what the regulatory regimes could be, what business models exist and ways to protect the IP rights of content creators while also spurring technology development.” Lapidus sits on the board of the District of Columbia chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. “There are important issues that affect all in-house counsel,” he said. “One is the importance of an in-house bar as a distinct knowledge and influence base within the overall bar. I think the in-house bar can play a larger role in commenting on and formulating regulatory initiatives-for instance, in the area of corporate governance and the attempt to define the DNA of corporate compliance. “We’re on the front lines, and the overall bar should take into account the in-house bar’s unique perspective on these issues. Also, it’s part of our initiative this year to be more involved in other debates.” One key issue is protecting the attorney-client privilege, he said, “particularly as it applies to communication with in-house counsel, even in the context of complying with government investigations.” Route to his present position:Lapidus earned a degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis before entering Harvard Law School, graduating in 1997. He was a corporate attorney at Hale and Dorr and then at Hogan & Hartson. He left to join a client, Internet-access provider OneMain.com, which he’d helped to take public while at Hogan & Hartson. The company was acquired by EarthLink Inc. “After that I came to YellowBrix, to help take it public. I’ve been here since 2000, a little over five years.” Personal:Lapidus and his wife, Nancy, a trademark attorney, are the parents of “two young, spirited children.” The family lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. The couple took a bike trip through Maine last summer. “In the winter I like skiing. I’m taking my son skiing next weekend,” he said. Professionally, he said, “I enjoy the combination of business and legal skills, particularly as these skills are applied to the digital IP area, which is very dynamic.” Last book and movie: Executive Intelligence: What All Great Leaders Have, by Justin Menkes, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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