Informative Program Offers Primer on Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs
Web Editor - Published: April 20, 2012
On Thursday, April 19th, Widener Law’s Delaware campus hosted an “Introduction to Intellectual Property Law” program with support from DuPont that offered small business owners, entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors an overview of how Intellectual Property Law can help them to protect, commercialize, and fund their ideas.

In her welcome, Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons spoke about the value of the “entrepreneurial spirit” before concluding, “We hope that this seminar will provide you insight into how to protect your precious intellectual capital.”

The first group of four speakers spoke about protecting ideas, with each focusing on one of the four major forms of intellectual property protection. Joan T. Kluger ’92, the managing partner of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP’s Delaware Office and co-chair of Schnader’s Intellectual Property Practice Group presented “Protecting IP Through Patents.” Dr. Eric Evain ’98, a Partner at Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz LLP, followed with a look at trade secrets, while E.I. DuPont Senior Counsel Kevin Dobson, Esq. covered copyrights, and Dr. Rakesh Mehta ‘04 of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP covered trademarks.

The presentations touched on which type of intellectual property protection would be the appropriate choice depending on what one was trying to protect, areas in which the types of protection might overlap, time and cost, and mitigating factors such as the fair use doctrine in Copyright Law.

The second section of the program looked at commercializing ideas and opened with E.I. DuPont Senior Counsel Angela Grayson – who along with Associate Professor Sonia Baldia served as program coordinator – presenting “Creating a Business Identity,” which looked at branding. Kenneth Dorsney of Morris James LLP looked at licensing issues and other contracts related to intellectual property and E.I. DuPont Corporate Counsel Chyrrea Sebree covered how to prevent others from copying intellectual property.

John Calvert, Senior Advisor in the Office of Innovation Development of the United States Patent and Trademark Office delivered the keynote address in which he discussed some of the initiatives the PTO has undertaken to promote awareness and assist small businesses with their intellectual property needs. He touched on the InventorsEye online newsletter for independent inventors, the IP Awareness Assessment Tool, the Ombudsman Program, and the America Invents Act Pro Bono Initiative.

Following a luncheon, the topic shifted to how to fund ideas, with Professor Baldia moderating a panel on raising capital that featured the Honorable Chipman Flowers Jr., Delaware State Treasurer; Michael Rossi, a lending relations specialist with the Small Business Administration; and James J. Roszkowski, a former MBNA executive who serves on the Board of Directors of First State Innovation, a privately led initiative that focuses on increasing Delaware’s entrepreneurial capacity. Each panelist spoke briefly about various means of raising capital, whether through government or private means.

“We do have an impact on job creation,” Flowers said of the state government, adding, “We believe that entrepreneurs are the spirit of our government.”

After the panel on funding concluded with a brief question and answer session, E.I. DuPont Vice President, Assistant General Counsel & Chief IP Counsel Mr. P. Michael Walker offered brief closing remarks, saying, “I’d like to thank Dean Ammons and Widener for putting this together,” before singling out Special Programs Coordinator Connie Sweeney, Professor Baldia, and Angela Grayson for all of their work in putting the program together.

Widener Law gratefully acknowledges the support of DuPont for making the program possible.