Tulane, Southern Law Clinics Offer Entrepreneurs Intellectual Property Help

By Ted Griggs
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new U.S. Patent and Trade Office program at Tulane and Southern University law schools will provide free legal help to budding entrepreneurs.

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

One of the biggest obstacles for startups is protecting their intellectual property, or more accurately finding the money to hire an attorney to help them do that.

While some schools, like LSU or Tulane University, cover patent application costs for faculty and students, there is little in the way of free legal assistance for entrepreneurial members of the public.

But the law schools at Tulane University and Southern University plan to change that under a U.S. Patent and Trade Office program.

“We get questions all the time about, ‘Can you help me with my patent?’ But we couldn’t until we got certification,” said Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a Tulane Law School faculty member and co-director of the Tulane Center for IP, Media & Culture.

Townsend Gard said in each of the past three years, her intellectual property class has done about 100 trademark searches for people.

“We really recognize that there is a need in the city, that there aren’t a lot of places for people to turn to get pro bono patent and trademark help …. That’s why we wanted to do both,” she said.

Under the program, law students, under the supervision of an attorney, can file patent and trademark applications. The students get hands-on experience. The entrepreneurs get crucial help.

Michael Hecht, CEO of economic development group Greater New Orleans Inc., said clinics like Tulane’s are essential for would-be entrepreneurs for two reasons.

“The first is that when investors are looking to put money into a business, one of the most basic questions that they are going to ask is, ‘Is your intellectual property protected?’ ” he said. “And if they’re a savvy investor, they’re only going to invest if the IP is protected because that’s the bulk of the value of the business.”

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *