This morning, the Innovation Cluster held it’s first 2012 quarterly membership breakfast in partnership with the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. The topic: Intellectual Property Rights – Why bother? The event was well attended which made for a great networking event along with the excellent education on Intellectual Property (IP) by Gastle & Etigson. This breakfast was quite a bit different from past events – with quick case study reviews followed by an expert panel review ( Jim Gastle , Robert Hirons and Joe Etigson) and Q&A from the attendees.
The discussion ranged from basic to quite advanced issues with regards to IP and when/why to protect your rights. A few highlights included:
- The potential for an inventor to become the patent infringer - the focus of this discussion was around academia: can a researcher continue to do research on a patentable technology? (yes but must be wary as if the research takes a commercial spin then is considered infringement).
- The potential for an inventor to become the infringer of a patent on their own invention – the focus of this discussion was around industry collaborations: as collaborations may not last forever and with first to file always file your IP and make sure any agreement takes into account IP created.
- Trade Secret is disclosed within a patent with too narrow of claims, thus cannot protect the invention – the focus of this discussion was when to file and the risks/rewards of filing for patent protection versus keeping it a trade secret: a few things to think about (competition in the field – will others be able to create the same technology independently of yours, value of technology and market, how quickly will the technology be obsolete, previous public disclosures – are you likely to get all of your claims in a patent or just a few that will be unenforceable.)
The other topic was around building up a portfolio of IP around the same technology that increases the value of the technology you are trying to protect.
- Small Technology company dealing with Titans today, thanks only to a patent that was issued in 2000 – This discussion pinpointed the value of Intellectual Property protection by small companies to get a seat at the table with large companies. The question came up – what is the value of IP if you do not have the resources to assert your rights: Gastles indicated that a new market has developed to help address this: contingency IP litigation, as well as, private orgs. Raising funding to support the litigation/legal proceedings as an investment vehicle.
Overall, the event was quite educational – if interested in specific questions, interested in filing for IP (patent, trademark, copyright), litigation, or even general discussion we strongly recommend getting in touch with Gastle and Etigson: firstname.lastname@example.org; as they clearly demonstrated a mastery of the field.
We look forward to seeing you all at the next Innovation Cluster Breakfasts on June 22nd and want to thank our sponsors and Gastle and Etigson again for their support and time: Trent Security; The Stewart Group; Community Futures Develoment Corp.; Fleming College; Trent University; and Workforce Development Board.
Joseph F. Miller
Interim Director/Commercialization Officer