Student Essay: Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic lends guiding hand to new business

UW Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic is known for helping entrepreneurs and small business owners realize their potential.

Recently, L&E Clinic client Eric Ronning won a 2012 National Collegiate Inventors Competition award for the inexpensive, body-powered prosthetic hand that he invented. With the help of UW Law student Lindsey Thompson and the rest of the clinic, Ronning protected his invention and formed a business entity.

Below, Thompson describes how the L&E Clinic works closely with entrepreneurs like Ronning to help move inventive ideas to market.

Like many entrepreneurs, Eric Ronning needed to protect his invention, but he also needed to form a business entity, draft contracts and non-disclosure agreements and much more. The L&E Clinic provided valuable legal services that Ronning might not otherwise have been able to afford, helping him to proceed safely and legally through the early stages of his business.

The most valuable services we offered were the patent research and patent drafting for Ronning’s prosthetic device, the ReHand. Working with outside counsel, we drafted a patent application that will provide Ronning intellectual property protection for the ReHand as he begins to partner with larger prosthetic companies.

As a student attorney assigned to this project, I’ve learned that customizing business documents to clients’ specific needs can give them a huge advantage. Not only are business owners able to have their unique intentions expressed, but they can also be assured that a legal professional has covered the essential points.

I've also learned firsthand that sometimes inventors need to be reminded of the time sensitivity of their inventions. Perfecting a design before filing a patent can actually be detrimental to their patent rights if it causes them to miss the filing deadline created by previously disclosing the invention.

Learn more:

Competitive prizes help move printable prosthetic hand closer to market
Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic: A day in the life

Submitted by Law School News on January 31, 2013

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