By Ezekiel Hobbs
How do you know if you’ve created something unique? What’s the best way to protect your ideas?
These questions and more were answered during a recent free intellectual property workshop on Florida A & M’s campus, hosted by the Office of Technology Transfer and Export Control. The workshop drew faculty members, staff and students.
The Office of Technology Transfer and Export Control (TTEC) have been putting together these type of workshops for the past three years on FAMU’s campus, and this marks the second one this academic year.
The workshop featured a lecture and Q&A where the attendees got a chance to ask questions and/or voice their concerns regarding patent law with Patent Attorney Alton Hornsby III, J.D.
Hornsby, who has been a Patent Attorney for over 10 years, showed a presentation about the latest intellectual property and innovation protection, as well as tips on everything from trademarks and copyrights to patents and trade secrets.
“Look at all these major companies they are built on patents. Patents derive economic value to their owners,” said Hornsby. “If you’re able to own patents in specific key technology areas you can influence society. You have an economic advantage in the market place.”
The goal of these workshops is to make students more aware that the success of a business depends largely on the power of innovation. Knowing that others may wish to benefit from that success, it is key to protect innovations using the available intellectual property rights in order to stay ahead of competitors. In other words, protect your idea from copycats.
“These workshops are to inform people about how intellectual property is valuable to the students and others at the university. It gives them insight on how different inventions are filed and how patent law works,” said Reis Alsberry, J.D, current director of TTEC.
IP protection applies to all businesses, no matter the size or what’s being sold. Top leading companies such as Apple, Gucci and Amazon all filed lawsuits due to having competitors infringe upon their ideas. These companies have IP protection intact for everything they produce and put out in the public. With no IP protection in place a company cannot take legal action against other companies for appropriating their ideas.
Participants found the workshop to be very informative and helpful. Kaelyn Hamilton, a business administration student, said Hornby’s presentation was an “eye opener and very detailed.”
“I enjoyed the presentation and the reason I came was to grow my knowledge as an entrepreneur,” said Hamilton. “I’m hoping to open my skincare line this year.”