Every year on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recognize World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. The celebration was founded in 2000 as a day to learn about the vital role IP rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.  With events taking place around the globe, ktMINE took part in Chicago’s celebration.

The festivities were hosted at Columbia College and highlighted Improving Lives through Innovation. Two panels of experts, well-versed in the innovation process and the protection of creative projects, were featured. A short video message from Michelle Lee, the Director of the USPTO kicked off the night.  Dr. Christal Sheppard, Regional Director USPTO, followed with this strong statement, “I’ve heard people say World Patents Day. It’s not just patents, it’s trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs, and trade secrets. It’s World IP Day.”

We couldn’t agree more with Dr. Sheppard’s statement. That’s why ktMINE is focused on creating transparency of IP landscapes through connected data, including patents & assignments, trademarks & assignments, license agreements, royalty rates, M&A deals & rumors, IP news and litigation data.  


Panel 1: The Innovation Process  

Panelists included:

  • Dimitra Georganopoulou / Innovation & Commercialization Officer, INVO of NorthWestern University
  • Erin Lothson / Senior Corporate Counsel, IP Groupon
  • Bob Groselak / Inventor and Law Student Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Parminder Batra / Cofounder and CEO TraknProtect

This panel discussed, at a broad level, starting with an idea and going through the process to commercialization. Bob Groselak shared his experience as an inventor developing a technology and attempting to bring it to market while running into various obstacles. Dimitra Georganopoulou, who helps bring new innovations to market from “cradle to grave”, shared her insights on patentability research, the patent process, and commercialization. Next, from an entrepreneur and business owner’s perspective, Parminder Batra gave her story on how she solved a common problem with an innovation. Finally, Erin Lothson provided tips from a legal perspective, such as:

1. Do legal research and market research – Understand your technology and players in the space.

2. Loop in legal early – IP is complicated, try to approach a lawyer early. It’s important to make sure you protect what you have and ask questions you don’t know the answers to.

3. It’s more expensive to fix a problem – Try to clear the obstacles so you can innovate faster.


Panel 2: Protecting Your Innovation

Panelists included:

  • Steve Parmelee / Partner Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery
  • Christine Pompa / Senior Counsel, Patents, Kraft Heinz Company
  • Nicole Yeary / CEO & Founder, Ms. Tech Co.
  • Dr. Christal Sheppard / Regional Director USPTO

This panel focused on the point at which protecting an idea is needed. There were conflicting views as to when to share an idea with others for strategic advice and when to file a patent. Being costly to file, there’s a need to prove out an idea in order to raise funding. The panel explained the risk of using crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter before a patent is filed. Once an idea is open to the public it can no longer be protected.

Dr. Sheppard shared that it’s inexpensive to submit a provisional patent and this protects the idea up to 12 months before going through the patent filing process. The panel compared securing an idea with a provisional patent to “claiming a slice of pizza by picking it up, licking it and put it back down.”

The night closed out with questions from the audience and a reception.