Legal Briefs appears in e-Inside monthly to keep faculty and staff informed of legal issues and their implications. Content is provided by the Office of the University Counsel, whose mission is to ensure high-quality legal services to Kent State University in a timely, cost-effective manner, to reduce litigation and to ensure legal compliance. An archive of Legal Briefs from 2008 and past years is available online.
My department has created a new entity (e.g., center, institute or entrepreneur collaboration) based at Kent State University. The name is unique, and we would like to protect it. Can the university provide any assistance in this area?
The answer is yes. The university has several resources in place to protect entities that are created as a part of university research, academic or entrepreneurial collaborations.
The creator/organizer should contact the Office of University Counsel to examine trade/service mark protection and registration issues. Service marks and trademarks that are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can be used to discourage others from using a similar name/logo.
The creator/organizer of the university-based entity should also contact the university’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development to examine intellectual property issues (such as patents, copyrights or further licensing) that may be created or relevant to the entity and its work. The office can also assist in exploring any applicable partnerships with outside companies or other entrepreneurial options.
As the university continues to develop more areas of excellence, both offices can provide critical protections for the establishment of a university entity. It is important to initiate these processes early in the development of the entity, to ensure the appropriate review and provide time to implement the best protections available.
For more information about services offered by the Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development contact Greg Wilson, associate vice president for economic development and strategic partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information concerning the trade/service mark services offered by the Office of University Counsel, contact Jim Watson, associate university counsel, at email@example.com.
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