entucky recognizes the importance of protecting the intellectual property of its innovators. That’s where the Kentucky Intellectual Property Alliance (KYIPA) comes in.
KYIPA is a community of inventors, attorneys, businesses, nonprofits, artists, educators and tinkerers who believe in the power of intellectual property (IP) to protect the innovations developed in Kentucky. The group is on a mission to facilitate the creation, protection and advancement of intellectual property in Kentucky by serving as a connecting organization for statewide companies, organizations and innovators.
“We want everyone in Kentucky to be able to access and benefit from IP protection,” said KYIPA Executive Director Caroline Stivers. “Commercialized research and innovations are being developed in Kentucky that have the potential to create lasting impact. Our goal is to help innovators protect these ideas and capitalize on them to the highest levels possible.”
KYIPA was founded in 2021 through an agreement between the United States Intellectual Property Alliance (USIPA) and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC). Several organizations have supported KYIPA since its founding, including the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) and its KY Innovation team, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Commercialization Ventures initiative, founded through a partnership between KSTC, CED, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, UK and UofL. Kentucky is one of the first states to establish an affiliated state intellectual property alliance and is now one of 18 such organizations nationally.
In just over a year, KYIPA has grown to more than 125 members including lawyers, entrepreneurs, state and local officials, nonprofit and corporate leaders, faculty and students.
“The volume of quality programming that KYIPA has provided since its inception is impressive and speaks to the talent and dedication of our executive director and executive advisory committee,” said Mandy Decker, KYIPA executive advisory committee member and intellectual property attorney at Stites & Harbison.
Kentucky registered 773 patents in 2021. That’s more than D.C., Delaware and Hawaii combined.
Membership in the organization is free and open to anyone interested in learning about or contributing to IP protection in Kentucky. Members can access events, webinars and IP resources through the group. Programs are focused on the USIPA’s three pillars: IP awareness and education, IP ecosystem collaboration, and IP diversity and inclusion. KYIPA plans to offer expanded programming in the future, including learning opportunities for K-12 and post-secondary students and additional tools for those with IP questions.
“In today’s market, 90% of business assets are IP assets; however, even at elite business schools in the U.S., courses that include IP as a topic are not required for MBA students,” Decker reported. “This reflects a nationwide intellectual property literacy problem and presents an opportunity for Kentucky to raise IP awareness and education as one of the first states to establish a USIPA-affiliated intellectual property alliance.”
KYIPA is a valuable resource for Kentucky entrepreneurs and a critical tool for promoting an inclusive statewide innovation ecosystem. By providing free resources and access to a knowledgeable network, the group is making IP more accessible and easier to navigate.
“Patent, trademark and copyright law can be intimidating subjects for many founders and innovators,” explained Stivers. “Through KYIPA, we can simplify the process and remove barriers by connecting people with experts here in Kentucky to protect their work and ideas.”
Those interested in learning more or registering as a member can visit kyipa.org.