Initial Legal Training
During law school and following graduation in 1989, Willard worked for Morgan & Finnegan. All of the professionals in the firm were focused upon various aspects of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property. In 1991, Willard took a position in the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith. This general practice firm included an established intellectual property department. It was at Reed Smith that Willard began to build on his expertise in commercial transactions, including the licensing of intellectual property — involving software, industrial plant processes, telecommunications systems, banking services and pharmaceuticals, among others. With a strengthened background in commercial transactions and licensing, Willard was well prepared to join the startup company, Sega Channel. This newly established programming service distributed Sega video games via cable television systems to subscribers with Genesis consoles. Willard’s duties as in-house counsel for Sega Channel included negotiating and drafting agreements through which Sega Channel secured software distribution rights and the associated trademark license from publishers of Sega video games. He also negotiated deals with cable television distributors, and handled marketing deals, technology agreements, a possible acquisition deal (where Sega Channel was the target), and finally, the wind-down of the business.