After almost 20 years in intellectual property law, I’ve worked in and for everything from startups to conglomerates. All companies face the same pressures to stand out and create something unique in the minds of the consumers, and that’s where intellectual property comes in.
When businesses create new products, new brands and new designs, intellectual property protections can be used to give a firm a leg-up over the competition.
If you’re in a business, at this point, you may be saying to yourself, “Intellectual property doesn’t apply to me here in Northwest Arkansas.” But that’s just not so.
Arkansas is home to some serious brands. There are almost 10,000 registered trademarks or pending trademark applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for businesses large and small, tech and non-tech. Arkansas is also home to over 5,000 active patent records at the USPTO assigned to businesses of all kinds.
So who cares about all this? You should care because one of the truest indicators of a healthy economy is the number and nature of registered intellectual property rights coming out of the region. Businesses that go through the trouble of protecting their competitive advantage through intellectual property protections are more competitive and produce more jobs.
Still not convinced intellectual property is something Arkansas should care about? Well, what if I told you our very own U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., recently sponsored an IP-related bill? Yep, that’s right. Sen. Cotton co-sponsored the bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act of 2017, along with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
Why, you ponder? The short answer is to protect the intellectual property rights that impact and grow our economy.
As a business, what can you do to jump on this growth curve? You can learn, listen, and be inspired as a group of encouraging Arkansas entrepreneurs assemble to discuss what it takes to make intellectual property work for an enterprise.
Join me for a World IP Day celebration at 4 p.m. April 25 at the Exchange in downtown Bentonville. The event is part of a global celebration of the one economic driver common to most thriving economies: intellectual property. A panel of speakers, including Dr. Ellen Brune, founder and CEO of Boston Mountain Biotech, Dr. Nancy Gray, UAMS BioVentures director, and the Honorable Hope Shimabuku, director of the Texas Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office, will be present to discuss how top entrepreneurs use intellectual property as the secret sauce in growing their businesses.
Our program, moderated by yours truly, will close with parting thoughts from Vanessa Moody, state director in Sen. Cotton’s office. The program is designed to showcase Arkansas entrepreneurs, and the fact that these are women entrepreneurs is an added inspirational bonus.
Protecting company intellectual property is critical to the growth of an economy. IP protections are accessible to all companies bringing creativity to the marketplace, whether low-tech or high-tech, big or small. So as a community, let’s rally together and use intellectual property to make Arkansas stronger.
Editor’s note: Angela Grayson is the principal and founder of Precipice IP, a legal firm in Bentonville. She is a registered patent attorney and is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. The opinions expressed are those of the author.