A key component in the advancement of innovation is protecting intellectual property. WSU Ventures recently initiated a new program to place Wichita State University students at the forefront of this field.
Designed to advance innovation, the Gateway to IP program will provide students an opportunity to gain important intellectual property skills while fulfilling the university’s mission of being an educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.
A large resource gap exists in the Wichita community relating to intellectual property. Local resources are very limited in nature. There are fewer than 10 registered patent practitioners in the city of Wichita — one of them being Rob Gerlach, WSU Ventures’ director of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer. By comparison, Omaha and Tulsa each have approximately 50 patent practitioners.
The Gateway to IP program will play an important and integral role in filling Wichita’s resource void. Under Gerlach's guidance and that of other practicing patent practitioners brought in from surrounding regions, students will gain first-hand experience handling intellectual property matters.
Students will perform inventor interviews, engage in technology evaluations, execute patent and other intellectual property searches, and obtain exposure to preparing patent applications. While students will not perform legal services, they will learn the intricacies associated with the patent process under the supervision of experienced patent practitioners.
Overall, the program will provide WSU students yet another applied learning opportunity. While students are receiving valuable working opportunities to identify, cultivate and protect intellectual property, the Wichita community will benefit.