Protecting your intellectual property at BC’s Entrepreneurship Experience

Michael Gennaro 

North Bureau Chief


Broward College Entrepreneurship Experience (BCEx) wants students to know the value of starting their own businesses and protecting their intellectual property.

To that effect, BCEx convened a workshop on North Campus on Sept. 30 for an informal chat with Dr. Paul Moore, the Dean of Business and Management at Broward College, and Gail Bulfin, the VP for Membership of The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Dr. Mildred Coyne, the Senior Vice President of Workforce Education and Innovation at BC, said that BCEx “is an idea that we’ve been trying to launch here at Broward College, understanding that the real way to make your education stick and your ideas come to life is by giving you access to conversations that will help you take your dreams and make them come true.”

Over 50 students and faculty were in attendance to hear Dr. Moore lecture about the ins and outs of business law and copyright before Bulfin took the mic and discussed the unique business climate of South Florida.

Dr. Moore’s lecture focused on copyright, trademarks and other aspects of copyright law that many students might be curious about.

First, when are patents issued?

“Patents are issued for novel, useful, non-obvious inventions. What the government is basically saying is, they’re looking for utility,” Dr. Moore said. “It has to have some type of use to be protected by the federal government.”

If a student wishes to make money off their own creations, knowing the tricks of copyright law can help. A student may not know just how far copyright law goes to protecting their creations.

“Film, sound recordings, works of art, choreography, musical compositions and media. All of them are subject to copyright law. Maybe you’re an artist, you’re a writer, you’re a singer. All of that is work that comes from the mind; it is subject to copyright law. Both unpublished and published works,” Dr. Moore explained.



Dean of Business and Management at Broward College, Dr. Paul Moore. Jovan Subrath/The Observer


But what is publishing?

A work becomes “published” when a third party that is not a creator or co-creator becomes privy to that work.

Even ideas posted on social networks are considered published. Be wary however: copyright law does not protect ideas; it protects ideas that are in a fixed, tangible form.

You don’t have to be the next Thomas Edison to bring a profitable idea to market.

Dr. Moore pointed out that most inventions are not original ideas. Many times, a product is invented but a creator innovates upon that original idea, such as new models of cars, computers and other common inventions.

“You don’t have to be the original creator of an idea. Most inventions have already been created. And an inventor comes and makes it better, faster or more efficient. You may see a product and say, ‘I can design that differently.’”

After Dr. Moore was finished speaking, Gail Bulfin took the microphone and spoke about business and economic opportunities in Fort Lauderdale.

“People think you come to Fort Lauderdale just for the sun or for the beach,” Bulfin explained.

Perception is often not reality, however. People usually think of Silicon Valley or Austin when start-ups come to mind, but South Florida is right there at the top with them.

According to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which measures new business creation in the United States, South Florida was the number one region for new startup activity in the year 2017.

“We’re one of the top 3 metropolitan divisions for percentage of job growth, behind Dallas and Seattle,” Bulfin said.

More than just tourism, South Florida has been the genesis of numerous small businesses that went national., one of the United States’ largest pet retailers, started as a humble start-up before ballooning to a national juggernaut that sold for $3.35 billion to PetSmart.

South Florida is a booming business climate. From tech to maritime industries and everything in between, Broward County is the perfect place to start a thriving business.

With great weather, international appeal and scores of talented people with original ideas, a new business owner in South Florida has advantages that cannot be understated.