Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs: Startups and Spinoffs

By: Imani Nicholson

Intellectual Property has become the bargaining asset for most companies today, and increasingly businesses and entrepreneurs need to learn how to better protect IP and create value from it. On June 15th 2016, the Fundamentals of Intellectual Property’s class hosted Louis Foreman, the founder and CEO of Enventys and CEO of Edison Nation and Edison National Medical. This talk both captivated and inspired the audience of students who had the honor of hearing from him. Mr. Foreman shared his story of starting his first business in his fraternity room at college, which ultimately led him to being a leader in the IP world. He let us know that “all products start out as an idea”. He pointed out, however, that the crucial aspect of the value creation process is in the execution.

We know that not all individuals with an idea want to invest in the product development and commercialization of that idea. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, and many of us do not even know how to go about commercializing our ideas. This was the key reason Mr. Foreman created Enventys. He was frustrated that there were no resources out there to foster innovation and protect inventions. So Enventys was formed to make those ideas into a reality. Mr. Foreman is also a co-creator of the Emmy Award winning reality series, Everyday Edison, where first time inventors submit their ideas via the Edison Nation website and have a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in hopes of launching their inventions commercially. This platform allows individuals to see the value creation that stems from their ideas, and it also gives them the potential to make tremendous profit. Some noteworthy inventions that the series launched were: The Gyro Bowl, a spill resistant bowl for kids and Mister Steamy, a ball that releases steam in your dryer to reduce wrinkles.

Notably, these great inventions could not be commercialized without a strong IP strategy. Mr. Foreman touched on the many routes to protecting your ideas. He talked about patents, trademarks and trade secrets. His team at Edison Nation aids everyday inventors in bringing their products to market, and he stressed that inventors should never let one person determine the fate of their invention. Rather, it is always better to let the market decide if your invention is good or not. Mr. Foreman shared his expertise in the field of product commercialization and how IP facilitates the protection of ideas, and at the end of his presentation he opened the floor up for questions. Below are some answers to the great questions posed by the audience.



Q&A Section

  1. What is the IP mindset of individuals and companies globally?

“Innovation and entrepreneurship is cultural, and there are barriers to entry in other countries. However, the cost of entry is so much lower than it used to be. Nowadays you can do things at a very low cost and the obstacles are much less.”

  1. How do you make a prototype for a service?

“You have to prove that there is a value proposition. You must demonstrate that the process adds value”

  1. How does your team sift through the ideas that come in via Edison Nation?

We look at these 3 criteria:

1. Patentability 

2. Manufacturability 

3. Market size and demand