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Nathan speaks to college students about intellectual property

I spoke to a class of upperclassmen at Henderson State University today about intellectual property. These students, all business majors, are preparing business plans for course credit as well as several local and statewide competitions that have cash prizes for the best plans.


Using the Coke bottle analogy, I taught them about the different forms of intellectual property, and I fielded questions from the students about how intellectual property fit into their business plans. The students were curious about the different forms of intellectual property fit together, what type of patent and trademark procurement costs they could expect to report in their business plans, and how to search for software patents using free tools.

Good luck to Professor Lonnie Jackson's students on the upcoming business plan competitions! 

Where do trade secrets come from?

Trade secrets are created by state law. That means each different state has different trade secret laws. Trade secret laws are designed to protect:

  • proprietary business information
  • customer lists
  • product formulas
  • machinery designs
  • computer software
  • other valuable secrets

Employers often have trade secret clauses in employment agreements to show they are taking steps to protect their trade secrets. Are the secrets of your business safe?

Nathan speaks to Arkadelphia High School business class


I was invited by Principal David Maxwell and instructor David Gustaveson to speak to several business classes at Arkadelphia High School this morning on the subject of intellectual property. 

I told the students a plastic Coke bottle represents 5 types of intellectual property and asked for their help in naming each one. We walked through (1) the design patent for the shape of the bottle, (2) the utility patent for the tamper-resistant top, (3) the trade secret on the Coke formula, (4) the trademark for Coca-Cola® and Coke®, and (5) the copyright for the label.

The discussion turned to the laws for intellectual property. We discussed the constitutional basis for each type of intellectual property and some basic tensions between protecting intellectual property rights and encouraging free sharing of ideas. iPhone vs. Android helped illustrate some of these principles, and the students were divided in their loyalties to their cell phones.

I appreciate the students being attentive and interactive. Thanks to Mr. G and Principal Maxwell for inviting me out! And, thanks to Paul Sivils for giving me a tour. AHS has changed quite a bit since I was a student!

UPDATE: We've added a page on the site that includes an explanation of how a Coke bottle represents five different types of intellectual property. Check it out here.

Nathan talks to high schoolers about IP law

Nathan Chaney was a guest speaker this morning at a class for high school students at Jessieville and Mountain Pine through the distance learning program at Dawson Education Cooperative. Nathan’s presentation was an overview of intellectual property law and how it applies in today’s world.

The outline for Nathan’s presentation is available here.

Thanks to Robert Cooper for inviting Nathan to come speak to his class.