New Intellectual Property and Business Formation Clinic to offer a variety of legal services to the St. Louis community

From helping start-up companies grow into strong businesses to guiding inventors as they obtain patents, students in the Washington University School of Law’s new Intellectual Property and Business Formation Legal Clinic, working under the supervision of experienced intellectual property law attorneys, will offer a variety of services to the University and St. Louis community.

“This clinic has an opportunity to provide intellectual property and business formation legal services to clients who might otherwise not have access to competent legal counsel,” says David Deal, administrative director of the clinic.

“We can help identify promising ideas and begin the patent process while assisting start-up companies with a range of legal needs. In addition, our work can help support the creation of the BioBelt.”

Nine students will be divided into teams representing the clinic’s four program areas: Washington University Interdisciplinary Innovation, Business Incubators, Local Research Organizations, and Non-Profit Pro Bono Organizations.

Students on the Washington University Interdisciplinary Innovation team will work with the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the senior design course during the spring semester. In the fall semester, students will help turn business ideas into reality in Olin School of Business’ entrepreneurship course, the Hatchery.

With the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise as their principal client, students on the Business Incubator team will provide early stage legal advice to entrepreneurs who are refining and preparing new plant science technologies for market.

The Local Research Organizations team will work with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The students will focus on international projects involving genetic resources, biotechnology, and the protection of traditional medicinal and agricultural knowledge.

Students on the Non-Profit Pro Bono Organizations team will assist St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and the Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors, a nationwide intellectual property referral service established to help clients from developing countries find U.S. professionals to represent them in intellectual property matters as a public service.

“This clinic is one of two new law school initiatives funded by a generous grant awarded to Washington University by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the other being the Center for Research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will conduct directed research, in the form of interdisciplinary academic conferences and workshops, and administer a university-wide competitive faculty grant program,” says Charles R. McManis, the Thomas and Karole Greene Professor of Law, director of the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Program and director of the new Center for Research on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

For more information about the clinic, call David Deal at (314) 935-7960 or visit: