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Intellectual Property And Entrepreneurship Programs: How To Hold Onto Your Wallet As You Transfer Technology

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

IP and Supporting Student Startups

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.807.1 - 11.807.8

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Paper Authors


Martin High Oklahoma State University

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MARTIN S. HIGH founded and co-directs the Legal Studies in Engineering Program at Oklahoma State University and is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University. Professor High earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Penn State, and a J.D. from the University of Tulsa. He is licensed as an attorney in Oklahoma, registered as a Patent Attorney to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and licensed as a professional engineer in Pennsylvania.

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Paul Rossler Oklahoma State University

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PAUL E. ROSSLER directs the Engineering and Technology Management Program and co-directs the Legal Studies in Engineering Program at Oklahoma State University and is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management. He is a licensed professional engineer and holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Karen High Oklahoma State University

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KAREN HIGH earned her B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1985 and her M.S. in 1988 and Ph.D. in 1991 from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. High is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University where she has been since 1991. Her main research interests are Sustainable Process Design, Industrial Catalysis, and Multicriteria Decision Making. Other scholarly activities include enhancing creativity in engineering practice and teaching science to education students and professionals.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Programs: How to Hold onto Your Wallet as You Transfer Technology


Entrepreneurship programs present wonderful opportunities to allow students to practice engineering in an exciting and challenging environment. One of the challenges that students in entrepreneurship programs face is how to consider intellectual property rights while technology is transferred to and from entities outside the program. Technology transfer functions in the form of undergraduate entrepreneurship programs present unique and basic challenges such as deciding who owns any developed intellectual property, how should that property be protected, and who should do the protecting. Unfortunately, every situation is likely to be different and no one-size fits all answer can be provided. However, this paper will discuss the various issues to be considered before entering into relationships via an entrepreneurship program.

Specifically, this paper will discuss the various steps that entrepreneurship teams must take in order to protect any intellectual property generated by the team. The U.S. Patent laws as they currently stand allow for grace periods in which to file for patent protection. Given that many entrepreneurship programs occur over the span of many semesters, the expiration of these grace periods may result in forfeiture of rights. The paper will focus on how to preserve these rights in the face of demands made by our legal system

In addition, dramatic shifts in the U.S. intellectual property law landscape will be discussed in relation to entrepreneurship programs. Current legislation aims to eliminate the traditional “first to invent” system of priority in the U.S. with a “first to file” system. This change can have drastic effects on intellectual property rights.

Contract with Society

The U.S. Patent system can be viewed as a contract between society and inventors. Society agrees to grant a limited monopoly to the inventor, but only if the inventor agrees to satisfy various requirements. Even then, society, through the patent laws, agrees to impose certain constraints on the monopoly granted to the inventor.

The basic requirements that society requires is that the invention have utility, the invention is novel, and that the invention is not obvious to those with ordinary skill in the art of the invention. In addition, the inventor agrees to adequately disclose the invention in a timely fashion.

The details that make up these requirements are what make patent law so challenging to patent practitioners and so maddening to inventors. Precisely following these rules for any inventor, including inventors associated with entrepreneurship programs, may make the difference between a successful invention and a failure.

High, M., & Rossler, P., & High, K. (2006, June), Intellectual Property And Entrepreneurship Programs: How To Hold Onto Your Wallet As You Transfer Technology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015