Protecting Innovators

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Developments in advanced technology depend greatly on innovators knowing that there will be protection for the intellectual rights to the products and ideas they bring to the market. That protection for innovators has a long history in Kansas, where the Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSURF) has been working to assist its associates in protecting intellectual properties and to file for patents, trademarks and copyrights since 1944.

Peter Dorhout, the university’s vice president for research, says that KSURF’s seven-decade history of educating and preparing inventors (or breeders and cultivators in the university’s strong field of agricultural science) has naturally led the university to develop a strong support system to protect those developments. “The foundation has been working with inventors and breeders to patent their works since it was founded, and the foundation began publicly rewarding individuals for their accomplishments in 2004,” says Dorhout. “We feel it is important for these people to be recognized.”

This year, the foundation—based on the K-State main campus in Manhattan—honored 16 groups of inventors and breeders in the fields of wheat variety, winter canola, transgene construct for crop resistance to blight, and energy storage devices. Dorhout, who began at K-State as a professor of chemistry, says that the university has always made an effort to bridge academic discoveries with educational partnerships in the public and commercial spheres throughout the state. “As a land-grant university located in the Midwest, we are dedicated to educating people through a variety of means including ongoing workshops and our county extension offices that reach a broader public. We also have several opportunities for people who want to learn about business through our Center of Entrepreneurship and are offering a new series of workshops for people who want to launch a business,” he says.

The KSURF courses reach across all departments and university programs to help innovators certify their works. Chris Brandt, the president of KSURF, formerly worked in the private sector and is an expert on protecting intellectual property. The innovations developed on campus often lead to collaborations with Kansas commercial organizations, something that K-State is able to capitalize on with its strong network of graduates who work in businesses such as Cargill, Cerner Corporation and Koch Industries.

“The foundation has been working with inventors and breeders to patent their works …”

More Online Info on Research at Kansas State

K-State Research Foundation This site offers an overview on research efforts and initiatives. k-state.edu/ksurf

The Center for Business Entrepreneurship This site provides an overview of research opportunities and efforts in the field of business. cba.k-state.edu/departments-initiatives/center-advancement-entrepreneurship

University Industry Demonstration Partnership This site shares information and stories about a project-oriented organization that connects partners between K-State and industries. uidp.org

K-State Career Center Along with information for students, this site shares success stories of recent college graduates. k-state.edu/careercenter/about

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