Winston-Salem, N.C. — Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Chris Towery and Vivian Coates, and regulatory scientist Heather Hatcher, Ph.D. , attended the Center for Creative Economy’s Velocity Creative Accelerator Demo Night hosted by Venture Café of Winston-Salem on September 26, 2019 at Wake Forest Biotech Place, located in the Innovation Quarter district of Winston-Salem, N.C. At Demo Night, ten participating start-ups competed for a share of $50,000 in equity-free funding, capping off nine weeks of an intensive accelerator designed for creative entrepreneurs. Womble Bond Dickinson has been a long-time supporting partner of the Center for Creative Economy (CCE); Towery is a member of CCE’s Board of Directors and Coates is a 2019 Velocity Legal Mentor. Also, Womble Bond Dickinson is proud to be a Thought Leader Sponsor of Venture Café of Winston-Salem; Hatcher is leading the 2019-2020 Thursday Gathering Programs for the firm.

During the final week of the accelerator, intellectual property attorneys Jake Wharton and JD Wooten , and employment and labor attorney Patricia Heyen , participated in a legal clinic for the Velocity cohort. The cohort is comprised of start-ups hailing from Winston-Salem, Raleigh, San Francisco, Columbia, MO, Lovettsville, VA, New Delhi, India, and Mexico City, Mexico. The problems the teams hope to solve focus on design, interactive digital photography, creative health technology, fitness, 3-D printing, gaming, and digital platforms for creatives. Womble Bond Dickinson is proud to support the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Winston-Salem and recognizes CCE and its staff for the energy, growth and transformational results that the creative accelerator, now in its fourth year, has delivered.


Jake Wharton is an intellectual property (IP) attorney focused on dispute resolution and helping clients protect and defend their IP assets. Jake assists clients with IP disputes in federal courts, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and in private arbitrations. His experience preparing and prosecuting patent applications, as well as counseling clients on trademark, copyright, and trade secret matters, provides a deep knowledge of what it takes to successfully procure and protect what may be a business’s most valuable assets—their intellectual property

Vivian Coates advises businesses on securities and mergers and acquisitions transactions, with an emphasis on designing and implementing equity incentive plans and employment, severance, change-in- control and other compensation-related arrangements. She counsels public companies, private equity firms and emerging and late-stage private companies on securities and tax laws that impact executive compensation.

Chris Towery is a business and finance attorney advising lenders, administrative agents, borrowers, and issuers in a variety of corporate and commercial finance transactions.

Patricia Heyen helps companies and individuals resolve labor and employment disputes involving discrimination and harassment claims under Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the FMLA, and equivalent state laws; unemployment insurance claims before the North Carolina Division of Employment Security; claims of wrongful termination and retaliation; and alleged wage and hour law violations. Additionally, Patricia works with clients to develop employment policies, handbooks, and agreements that are in compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws to effectively anticipate and manage their risks and avoid potential litigation. Patricia’s approach to her legal practice is understanding her clients’ business goals so that she can provide them with the best legal advice going forward.

JD Wooten assists clients in securing and protecting their creative rights in patent, trademark and copyright matters with a focus on civil litigation and other forms of IP enforcement. JD enjoys assisting clients—from entrepreneurial start-ups through large, established corporations—protect and leverage their intellectual property rights and assets through effective and aggressive legal action.

Heather Hatcher, PhD has extensive experience in Regulatory Affairs and as a basic and clinical research scientist. She effectively guides clients through the complex regulatory landscape governed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toward market authorization. In addition to advising clients on early regulatory strategy and product development issues, Heather prepares regulatory submissions to the FDA for drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Heather also helps clients prepare responses to the FDA and provides regulatory advice on best practices for Phase I/Phase II clinical trials, standard operating procedures and protocols for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and quality control testing for stem cell therapy and biomaterials. She has experience researching predicate devices for 510(k) submissions, and preparing requests for Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) and Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE).

vivian coates