While some legal principles will be addressed, the primary focus of the class will be on leveraging intellectual property to create financial returns for start-ups. We will focus on practical hands-on tips over theoretical frameworks. Topics to be covered include: Reading, Writing, and Securing Patents; Evaluating Patent Strength and Commercial Potential; Software IP (Patents, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets); Navigating and Negotiating IP Licensing Agreements; How Investors View IP; Start-up IP War Stories; How “Trolls” Work; and Patent Enforcement & Monetization.
The course will feature guest speakers from start-ups, venture capital, Fortune 500 firms, and patent attorneys. Last year, speakers included guests from Osage Ventures, Vedanta Capital, General Electric, MPEG LA, and the USPTO, as well as from various start-up companies.
There will also be a heavy emphasis on negotiations, via an ongoing series of team-based interactive negotiation exercises throughout the semester. At the beginning of the semester, the class will be broken up into groups, and within each, further divided into a Licensee team and a Licensor team. The teams will be given an actual technology patent, and over the course of the semester will negotiate a term sheet for that technology.
Orin Herskowitz was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2012 to 2016.
Jeffrey Sears was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2012 to 2016.