May 24, 2012
Online Tool Builds Awareness of Intellectual Property Issues
- A new web-based tool will help small business owners understand and protect their intellectual property
- The tool focuses on trademarks, copyrights, utility patents, trade secrets and design patents
- The project is a collaborative effort between the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, RTI International and Enventys
- Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe
- Kami Spangenberg
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A recently launched web-based tool will help small business owners understand and protect their intellectual property. Working collaboratively with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, RTI International and Enventys supported the development of this new tool.
The IP Awareness Assessment Tool was created to educate users, especially small and medium-sized manufacturers, about IP issues and protection including trademarks, copyrights, utility patents, trade secrets and design patents. The online tool takes visitors through a comprehensive set of questions and then, based on the answers, provides a set of training resources tailored to specific needs.
"Many small business owners don't know where to begin when it comes to protecting intellectual property," said Kirsten Rieth, a senior technology project manager at RTI and member of the project team. "This tool helps fill in knowledge gaps about what intellectual property is and how it can be protected, and educates on the value of proper IP processes and associated protection."
The tool features a user-friendly interface and questions that are intended to prompt further reflection on IP issues. Users can choose between taking the full assessment (62 questions) and a shorter customized assessment specific to their potential IP protection needs.
"We applied many of the techniques learned in the development of our own online product development platform, EdisonNation.com, to the creation of the IP Awareness Assessment Tool," said Matt Spangard, chief technical officer of Enventys and Edison Nation. "This allowed us to target complex IP issues with a seemingly simple series of questions. Our goal in both projects is to make the monetization of IP accessible to all."
"We needed to ensure the tool was ultimately helpful to the intended audience," said Molly O'Donovan Dix, a senior manager at RTI who was involved in developing the tool. "The result is an easy-to-use online resource that doesn't test an individual's knowledge of IP, but instead helps companies consider their strengths and weaknesses in their IP processes, procedures and strategies. Because the site is hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, we hope it will have a great impact."
RTI's involvement in the project was supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, whose goal is to help build a solid economic foundation in the United States by empowering small and medium sized manufacturers.