Welcome to this issue of the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology newsletter. Below you will find our featured article.
Creating fertile soil for innovation
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Kathleen Chapman is a native of Mississippi, but spent her adult life in Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and, for the past 23 years, New England. She's back now, a patent attorney for the Naval Research Laboratory Detachment at Stennis Space Center, and she's on a mission to make South Mississippi and the broader region an innovation dynamo.
"I feel strongly that one way out of the economic doldrums we are in, maybe the only way, is through innovation. Being an inventor is an equal opportunity option, but an inventor planted in one culture versus another might mean the difference between an invention's being exploited versus the same invention's being immortalized by an issued patent hanging on a living room wall," she said.
And what she's trying to do makes sense to others.
"Mississippi Enterprise for Technology is very interested in the new patent group and plans to have the Mississippi Technology Transfer Office and MsET's incubator at Stennis involved," said Charlie Beasley, president of MsET.
Joe Graben, director of the University of Southern Mississippi Business and Innovation Assistance Center, thinks the work is important because it gives businesses in South Mississippi an organization of experts in intellectual property to turn to.
"With intellectual property issues, you need to talk face-to-face with someone," said Graben, adding that South Mississippi has some technology clusters that are very young, and while parts have been around a decade or more, a key component for development is innovation and intellectual property management.
Chapman said all the places she has lived shared the quintessential American qualities of intelligence, creativity, drive and enthusiasm. But she told participants at a recent meeting that a business in Massachusetts is 73 times more likely to have a patent application assigned to it than a business in Mississippi.
"There is not one reason, and there are no easy answers. One factor that could feed into this statistic is a simple lack of opportunity for the citizens of our states to have access to an innovative culture in which there is support for ideas and the commercialization of ideas," she said.
The lack of opportunity led her to establish the Gulf Coast Patent Association, a group of people and organizations involved with intellectual property issues. It includes patent practitioners, intellectual property specialists, business development specialists, technology transfer offices and others.
Chapman points out that the innovation process begins with an inventor creating a product or process. But moving that to the marketplace requires a number of players and organizations working together. The Patent Association hopes to provide the intellectual property expertise to protect the inventor's assets.
"I believe our role as IP practitioners in our region couldn't be clearer. We have the opportunity to create the fertile soil for innovation here and now," she said at the inaugural meeting in late October at Stennis Space Center, attended by more than a dozen people.
While she is based in South Mississippi, her interests go well beyond the state. She sees innovation opportunities all along the Gulf Coast. The group's next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3 in New Orleans. She said future meetings will be held in other areas of the Gulf Coast region.
"I hope this meeting is the beginning of the coastal states IP practitioners' taking an active role in creating a climate in which innovation and commercialization thrive and flourish," she said, adding that fostering such an environment and taking advantage of the IP resources along the Gulf Coast can help the entire region move forward economically.
To learn more about the group or to get involved, contact Chapman at 228-688-5759, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. - David Tortorano
We hope that you found our featured article very informative, If you would like to learn more about the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology please contact us @ 228-688-3144.
Charlie Beasley, President and CEOMississippi Enterprise for Technology