Turning Innovation Into Enterprise

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WVU College of Law Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic

May 6, 2013

WVU_LogoThe WVU College of Law Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic provides accessible, low-cost legal services for entrepreneurs, innovators, small businesses and nonprofits seeking to form or grow a business across the state of West Virginia.  Law students participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic have the opportunity to work on a wide range of transactional legal services for clients and develop the skills needed to practice business law.

Over the past few years, students working under the supervision of faculty have served hundreds of clients on intellectual property law issues, such as registering copyrights and trademarks; structuring and forming business entities; obtaining licensing and permits; drafting contracts; and other topics related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

“We have between 12 and 15 students in the program each quarter,” said Visiting Associate Professor Patricia H. Lee, Director of the Clinic.  “This gives the student first-hand, real-world experience in learning about the laws and regulations that affect entrepreneurs, innovators and nonprofits.  They leave this program with a good understanding of how to assist startup firms and entrepreneurs.”

For the past three years, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic has been an approved Trademark Clinic Pilot Project with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic has worked with West Virginia student competitors in the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition over the past five years and, more recently, the West Virginia Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“With these competitions to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, we are seeing more students who need intellectual property protection services, so the time is right to strengthen our patent resources,” Director Lee said.

To formalize the support offered to help students protect their intellectual property, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic has entered into a new partnership with the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. With funding for a pilot project from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the program will support provisional patent applications of students enrolled in West Virginia colleges and universities.

In the coming year, students in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic will also provide legal support for the West Virginia Rural Agriculture Value Chain Cluster (VC2) and the WVU Center for Electromechanical Energy Storage (WVU CEES Project.  In addition, students in the Clinic participate in symposia, lectures, and workshops, and are assisted in finding legal internships or academic credit legal externships.

Prospective clients can submit an application to the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, which is available online at: http://law.wvu.edu/clinical_law_program/elc

For more information, contact Professor Patricia H. Lee, Esq. at patricia.lee@mail.wvu.edu