Small business owners, start-ups, nonprofit organizations, inventors and entrepreneurs can get their intellectual property questions answered for free from the University of Minnesota Law School’s Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic.
Phillip Goter, an intellectual property attorney with the Minneapolis office of Fish & Richardson, founded the Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship clinic at the University of Minnesota law school four years ago.
Phillip Goter is an attorney with Fish & Richardson and teaches the IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School.
The class is looking for clients to attend the clinics. Upcoming clinics are on Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 all located in Room 190 of Walter F. Mondale Hall, 229 19th Av. S.. Clinic hours are 5:30 to 7:30 pm. There is room for six clients during each clinic session and some clients may come back for subsequent visits.
As part of the University of Minnesota Law School’s experiential learning initiative students can participate in the clinical training program and its 25 clinic offerings.
“This is our fourth year of the IP and entrepreneurship clinic,” Goter said. “The law school has had clinics for various other areas of law for many years now and they were getting a lot of inquiries about intellection property and start-up business, and start-up business always have a lot of question on intellectual property issues.”
Goter teaches the course with a hybrid classroom and clinic approach. He uses some guest lecturers to go in depth on some of the issues around patents, trademarks and copyrights and then supervises the students in the clinics. The sessions are limited representations meaning the students don’t take on cases outside the clinic but provide counseling and direct clients on how to take on some of the IP work themselves.
“The law school liked this wholistic approach, this drop in patient/client counseling approach, Goter said. “It’s been really well received; we have sessions every fall and tend to fill them up fairly quickly.”
Goter was a software engineer for several years before he earned an MBA and law degrees from the University of Iowa.
Prospective clients can stop by multiple times and students are expected to take on 3 to 5 clinic cases during the semester
Students can offer advice on how to protect intellectual property which is critical to emerging and growing businesses. Goter says the students have helped a number of people over the years including a former Army veteran who had a web-based retail business. Through two sessions the students helped her with some trademark and copyright issues.
“People come with patent ideas, graduate students at the university or otherwise, every once in a while people need trademark,” Goter said. “And sometimes people want to talk at a high level about an idea they have…we are happy to talk to them too.”