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Resources for NHLBI-Funded Innovators and Small Businesses

Intellectual Property Resources

Protecting intellectual property (IP) generated during research is an important component of a successful business plan. A company that does not protect its IP rights cannot easily keep competitors from entering its space, and worse, may put itself out of business. Additionally, established companies are uninterested in acquiring unprotected IP from a start-up company, severely limiting the start-up's commercialization or licensing exit strategy.

The best IP protection strategy enables a start-up company to be successful, either by selling or licensing its products or services or by being acquired by a larger, established company.

Early IP protection is important because premature IP disclosure can render the IP unprotectable. Therefore, it is important for an inventor to think about what IP has been generated as a result of the research conducted, how the IP relates to envisioned products or services, and what forms of IP protection might be suitable.

The online resources on this page provide general IP-related information and present a series of user-friendly IP-protection options available to an inventor.


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO promotes the protection of intellectual property throughout the world and offers an e-tutorialimage of external link iconon using and exploiting patent information. Modules include:

  • Patent basics
  • Patent search and retrieval
  • Patent analysis

IP Awareness Assessment image of external link icon(takes 15-30 minutes to complete)

This tool from the U.S. Patent Office allows an inventor to assess his or her intellectual property awareness and provides customized training materials.

How to Conduct a Patent Search image of external link icon(video)

This step-by-step computer-based training course from the U.S. Patent Office provides online research resources for inventors interested in conducting a thorough search of U.S. patent files.

IP E-Learning Modulesimage of external link icon

These six modules on intellectual property protection and enforcement were created by the Global Intellectual Property Academy. They cover all areas of intellectual property protection, including patentsimage of external link icon, copyrightsimage of external link icon, trademarksimage of external link icon, geographical indicationsimage of external link icon, international enforcement standardsimage of external link icon, tradeimage of external link icon, and the patent cooperation treatyimage of external link icon.

Intellectual Property Webinar Series image of external link icon

This series, hosted by the National Council for Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer (NCET2), features in-the-field thought leaders discussing IP issues from an applied, pragmatic, and deeply experienced viewpoint. Topics covered include:

  • Patents 101
  • Securing a Patent and American Invents Act (AIA) Implementation
  • Intellectual Property, Non-patented Topics - Copyrights, Trademarks, etc.
  • Researcher's Life After Invention Disclosure Topics
  • Working with a Patent Attorney/Agent and the USPTO
  • Patent Trial and Appeal Board
  • Protecting IP in Global Markets
  • Picking the Right Global Markets

Copyrights image of external link icon

This site from the U.S. Copyright Office contains general information about the copyright process, as well as detailed instructions on conducting copyright searches, recording a document, and licensing procedures.

Trademarks image of external link icon(42-minute broadcast-style video)

This video from the U.S. Patent Office provides basic facts about trademarks. It gives guidelines on how to select the right mark - one that is both federally registrable and legally protectable. image of external link icon

This is a one-stop shop for U.S. government tools and resources on intellectual property rights. It is particularly useful for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as consumers, government officials, and the general public.

Google Patents image of external link icon (non-federal resource for patent searching)


If after reviewing these materials you still have specific questions, please contact NHLBI Intellectual Property Advisor Gautam Prakash, Ph.D., J.D.

Last Updated September 2014


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