Editor’s note: John Yates, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP partner and an internationally recognized technology attorney, is in India this week on a “tech trek” looking to generate business opportuntities for the Atlanta and southeast technology sector. He is posting blog and video entries at . The law firm has offices in Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Savannah and Washington, D.C. Local Tech Wire will be following Yates’ trip and posting Yates’ observations and news. First stop – Mumbai.

Day 1 in Mumbai – – a small town in India; pop. 20 million; temp 90+F

(Just spent 15 hours on the plane and got several hundred emails completed!)

These are the best of times for Atlanta tech entrepreneurs to look to India for business.

Remember, we’re the most innovative country on earth, and Atlanta enjoys international recognition thanks to Georgia Tech and the ’96 Olympics. Our Indian counterparts are frustrated by their lack of innovation and are looking to the U.S. to lead the way in the tech comeback. Atlanta needs to be at the forefront.

In the next few days, I’ll explore several key issues of significance to those of us in the Atlanta tech community –

How can we penetrate the Indian market? Is there venture capital money in India for Atlanta tech companies? Why would I want to do business in a country 10 time zones ahead of us? How can I partner with Indian companies? Can I protect my IP in India, and is it safer than China? Is India really like Slum Dog Millionaire? (Original title was Slum “Dawg” Millionaire).

First stop tomorrow (or is it really today?) is NASSCOM, India’s largest tech conference. John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, is the keynote.

Then, meetings with India’s leading VC firms and senior execs from the Indian IT services community.

Tech Trek to India: Why Make the Trip?

A sixteen-hour flight, hundreds of people I’ve never met, in a country halfway around the world – why do I want to go to India?

Because India is one of the most exciting countries on earth, with a huge swell of talent and potential that can help Atlanta, and our businesses, grow. I head to India from February 11-22 to meet with leading VCs, I-bankers, outsourcing companies and Indian business executives. I’m also hoping to meet with my good friend, Gabby Rozman, EVP Emerging Markets at Tata Consultancy Services, and one of the best connected software executives in the world. (Gabby and I worked closely together when I represented Seagull Software before its sale several years ago.)

My goal for the trip is twofold

• To help U.S. companies looking for contacts in India — especially companies looking for sources of capital, potential target acquisitions, and prospective customers.

• To convince Indian companies, investors and business leaders to come to the U.S. and enter our market through Atlanta.

I will be traveling with my colleague, Jason D’Cruz, the Chair of my law firm’s IndUS Group. Our IndUS Group addresses a broad range of legal issues for U.S. companies doing business in India, and Indian companies entering the U.S. market.

I’ll be posting summaries of my meetings with interesting VCs, tech companies and business leaders throughout the trip. I’ll also shoot videos with key Indian business leaders, especially ones interested in making contacts with U.S. technology companies.

My itinerary for India will have several stops including Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. I’m excited about this huge adventure, and I want to take you with me! If you’re interested in following my journey, please keep an eye on my posts on TechDrawl.

About the author: John Yates, who chairs the Technology Group at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, is considered a pioneer in technology law and has practiced exclusively in this area for over 27 years. He is traveling with Jason D’Cruz, head of the law firm’s IndUS Group. They will speak at major business and legal conferences in Delhi and Bangalore on the two-week trip. They intend to solidify the firm’s Indo-American relationships and contacts in the Indian technology community, locate new sources of capital for U.S. entrepreneurs, find potential partners for mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships, and assist the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in making Atlanta the “U.S. gateway” for Indian technology companies.