January 14, 2009

Upcoming seminar offers helpful tips to inventors

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Have you ever looked at the newest popular gadget on the store shelves and pondered, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or perhaps you had a great idea for a new or better product but weren’t sure where to go with it.

“From Idea to Invention to Commercialization,” a seminar at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Thursday, Jan. 22, details the process from the idea stage to inventing the actual product or process to commercialization of the invention. Set for the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, the seminar runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There’s no charge to attend but seating is limited so register early by calling 618/453-4532 or via e-mail to hruss1@siu.edu.

“This seminar is an excellent tool for any inventor or idea person who needs guidance on how to proceed to the next stage,” said Kyle Harfst, director of technology and enterprise development at SIUC and executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park. “So often, inventors are experts in a specific discipline, for example, life sciences or structural engineering. However, in many cases, they do not have the skill sets or working knowledge to proceed with commercialization efforts.”

Dennis J. Harney of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal, LLP, is the guest speaker. His practice covers all aspects of intellectual property law, although biotechnology and biochemical patent preparation and prosecution are primary focuses. His experience includes work with patents for transgenic plants and bacteria, novel DNA and protein sequences, and biological, chemical and pharmaceutical therapeutics.

Harfst said University researchers as well as inventors from around the region are welcome to attend the seminar. Sponsors include the SIUC Small Business Incubator, Southern Illinois Research Park, SIUC Center for Innovation, Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIUC and the SIUC Office of Research Development and Administration. The seminar is part of the University’s ongoing support of innovation and entrepreneurship.