From Chicago IP Alliance to Illinois IP Alliance:
Promoting the Midwest as a center for new ideas and innovation
Just as the century changed, Dolores Hanna,* a very prominent and respected trademark attorney in Chicago who had been a pioneer throughout her career, undertook a new endeavor. She assembled a group of IP professionals who shared her vision of the Chicago region as a vibrant center of IP and of innovation. At the time, the east and west coasts enjoyed those reputations, but the middle of the country did not. She outlined an organization of educators (law schools and universities), IP attorneys, innovators (businesses and corporations), and other supporters of invention, creation, and innovation. These groups would work together to promote Chicago and the Midwest as a center for new ideas and innovation through programs, networking, education, and other opportunities.
An interested and enthusiastic group** representing law schools, law firms, corporations, and associations became the founders of the Chicago Intellectual Property Alliance, incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and began to reach out to the area with a variety of programs:
IP Day for Chicago highlighted the international nature of the region, its businesses, and the international connections that IP creates through protection, licensing, and enablement.
IP Primers for Inventors and Innovators provided the basics to audiences of inventors and small businesses before the advent of formal incubators with similar activities in an informal setting that encouraged interaction with attorneys knowledgeable of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets as well as the business implications of invention and creation.
Chicago Public Schools Science Fair Most Inventive Awards given by CIPA recognized outstanding and potentially patentable projects with generous monetary awards as well as the opportunity for fair participants to interact with IP attorneys paired with IP law students and learn a little about the value of IP to their work. Additionally, the winning project because the subject of a provisional patent, when possible, with the help of the Patent Clinic at Chicago-Kent where law students could interact directly with the student inventor.
Girls4Science has been a recent project that engages girls in Chicago with science and invites participants in CIPA to provide IP feedback to the girls and parents on the final projects that they undertake in the semester-long sessions. The resulting Q&A was always lively!
Student Mentoring was an original goal of CIPA, partnering local law students with attorneys.
This program recently has been a partnership with IPLAC with the speed-mentoring between
attorneys and law students.
In November, 2017, CIPA was the primary sponsor of the first IP Awareness Summit organized by the Center for IP Understanding. At that meeting Scott Frank, CEO of AT&T IP and founder of the Georgia IP Alliance had an initial quick meeting. A follow-up meeting in 2019 provided time to compare the missions and activities of the two groups, realize the alignment that they have, and began discussions to move CIPA beyond the confines of Chicago to a state-wide presence with the Illinois IP Alliance. Subsequently, the members of CIPA agreed and approved this change, recognizing that a state-wide
alliance would enable the good programs begun by CIPA to reach the entire state.