* About Erik J. Heels

Erik J. Heels

Erik J. Heels

Erik John Heels (born 6-6-66) is a patent attorney, trademark lawyer, and the founder of Clocktower Law LLC (Clocktower Law), a patent and trademark law firm in Great Boston (not a typo) that caters to startups and whose representative clients include (alphabetically):

Notable client exits include (chronologically):

  • Right Media (rightmedia.com, acquired by Yahoo! for $850 million in 2007)
  • BzzAgent (bzzagent.com, acquired by Tesco’s Dunnhumby for $60 million in 2011)
  • KAYAK (kayak.com, acquired by Priceline for $2.1 billion in 2013)
  • Smarterer (smarterer.com, acquired by Pluralsight for $75 million in 2014)
  • Unidesk (unidesk.com, acquired by Citrix for $60.4 million in 2017)

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 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).

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 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 at erikjheels.com. Brevity is not his strong suit.


“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
“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