Activities & Organizations

Put a patent on it


The Cullen College of Engineering has devised a training series to teach its faculty, students and staff how to handle intellectual property and how to become an entrepreneur. Kicking off March 8, the series will include topics such as liability, inventions, license agreements and more, according to the event’s website.

Aaron Levine and Matt Todd, co-chairs of the New Ventures and Corporate Transactions Group at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, will be hosting the training sessions.

“Our intention is to walk folks through the notions how to manage the process from creation to cash, from concept to solidifying that concept, to funding that concept, to using that concept, to cashing out on that concept,” Todd said.

“From the seed of the idea to selling your company, we are trying to walk them through that process.”

Levine and Todd consulted with a team of patent-holding members of the College of Engineering. The group was created by Joseph Tedesco, the dean of the College of Engineering. Yuhua Chen, an associate professor for the college, holds five patents and was one of the consultants for the series.

“I think it is great that the college invests in this area and provide some formal training to faculty and students. I learned the patent laws and patent drafting myself, out of my own needs,” Chen said.

“I have developed a course module to teach my students the basics about patents, as well as how to draft patents,” she said. “My students turn in a patent draft at the end of the semester. Knowing how to draft patents also helps students to be more innovative.”

The IP and patent process is complicated, but Levine said he hopes the training will help these potential entrepreneurs be less afraid of going into business with their inventions.

“A lot of it is to just demystify it. People talk about hedge funds and venture capital; it’s all mysterious and opaque. We’re just going to shine a light on it and make it more accessible and hopefully make it a little less intimidating,” Levine said.

“We hope by giving people a little bit of education in it, the fear factor (and) the intimidation factor will drain away. And if they have a good idea, they’ll give it some serious thought,” he said.

The first training will focus on an introduction to business law and the basics of starting a company. The second session on March 22 will focus on patents, and the last will be held April 5 and will cover trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and more.

“Sort of the subtext of it all is to encourage them that they can do this and that they have the tools to be able to do it,” Todd said. “This is about us having the opportunity to assist UH with something they feel is important. We feel honored to be provided that opportunity to assist.”

For more information, visit egr.uh.edu/news/201302/college-hosting-entrepreneurship-training-series. RSVP is required for those who would like to attend.

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