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Startup Workshops Explore the Ins and Outs of IP and HR

April 26, 2019

On Thursday, WashU Law School’s Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Law Clinic and Sling Health STL presented workshops about intellectual property and human resources considerations for startups.

At the first workshop of the the day students from the Washington University Law School’s Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Law Clinic shared information about common forms of intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. The presenters, all of whom work with startups through the Law Clinic, shared the characteristics, protections, and trade-offs of each of these forms of intellectual property. Participants were able to ask specific questions about timelines, disclosures, and other nuances.

The speakers shared that in addition to the intellectual property itself, the owner of that intellectual property is just as important, the students stressed. Startup formation agreements can be invaluable when conflicts arise about the direction of a startup, who owns the startup’s relevant intellectual property, or if one or more founders decides to leave the venture. These formation agreements can explicitly provide instructions for these unforeseen circumstances. 

The second workshop was hosted by Sling Health STL and focused on HR management and resources. Ryan Hillenbrand, Principal at Hillenbrand & Company Insurance Advisors, presented HR tips for startups. He shared key things startups should consider when building a business. The workshop explored various HR-related topics including onboarding employees, cost of hiring an employee, employee benefits, compliance, and common HR buzzwords.

Hillenbrand’s key takeaway for attendees was to use industry standards as general guidelines for your business but discover what works best for you and your employees. He also stressed the importance of making decisions with employees best interests in mind.

About the Workshop Hosts

The Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Law Clinic gives students the opportunity to provide legal assistance to clients in areas of entrepreneurship and intellectual property. The clinic handles a wide variety of matters for start-up and small businesses and non-profit organizations, with half of the students focusing on business matters and the other half focusing on intellectual property matters.

Sling Health STL is the founding chapter of Sling Health, a national student-run non-profit organization that was founded in 2013 by medical students at WashU to confront the surplus of unsolved clinical problems they encountered within the hospitals. The organization brings together a diverse group of students, clinicians, and local entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize solutions to improve patient health.