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Big IDEA Speaker Series to bring IP law experts to campus

September 2, 2016

Drake Law School’s Intellectual Property Law Center will host three lectures this fall as part of the first-ever Big IDEA Speaker Series.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will feature professionals in various topics of intellectual property (IP) law.

“The series will bring renowned experts—both local and national—to Drake’s campus to share their biggest ideas about innovation, disruption, and entrepreneurship,” said Shontavia Johnson, Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law and director of the Intellectual Property Law Center. “This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for our community to not only listen to great ideas, but also engage in interactive discussions with people from all walks of life.”

The Big IDEA Speaker Series lineup is as follows:

"The Innovation Ecosystem" - Dan Cosgrove, Pioneer
Sept. 29, 4:30 p.m., Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center

Dan Cosgrove will speak about the ecosystem needed for innovation, how technology will be impacted by innovation, and where lawyers fit in the process.

Cosgrove is vice president of business development for the DuPont Agriculture Biotechnology Group at Pioneer. He leads the strategic approach in research business development by establishing alliances with technology providers and out-licensing technology.

Cosgrove joined Pioneer in 2001 as leader of the Intellectual Property Group and corporate counsel. He previously practiced in the area of litigation and licensing at Zarley, McKee, Thomte, Voorhees & Sease in Des Moines.

This event has been approved for one hour of Iowa CLE credit (Activity ID Number: 243849).

"Tattoos and Intellectual Property" - Yolanda King, Northern Illinois University College of Law
Oct. 4, 2:30 p.m., Neal & Bea Smith Law Center Courtroom

Yolanda King, associate professor of law and director of faculty development at Northern Illinois University College of Law, will speak about the intersection between tattoos and copyright law.

King is currently of counsel at Advitam IP, an intellectual property law firm in Chicago. A recipient of the Corporate Woman of Achievement Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners, she previously practiced intellectual property law at Husch Blackwell Sanders Welsh & Katz and Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Chicago. She also worked as an attorney in the City of Chicago Department of Law.

"Lawyers as Startup Entrepreneurs" - Todd Van Thomme, Nyemaster Goode PC
Nov. 3, 3 p.m., Cartwright Hall, Room 213

Todd Van Thomme will discuss his experience inventing a mobile app and founding a business startup based on that app.

Van Thomme is a shareholder in Nyemaster Goode PC's Intellectual Property Department. His practice focuses on assisting clients with their mechanical, chemical, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and food science related intellectual property needs.

Previously, Van Thomme worked as in-house counsel for Whirlpool Corporation. He has served in leadership roles for the Association of Intellectual Property Firms and the Great Lakes Section of the Institute of Food Technologist.


The Drake Intellectual Property Law Center was launched in fall 2007 to promote global, interdisciplinary understanding of intellectual property law and policy.

The center was established with the support of a $1.5 million gift from Wayne, LW’72, and Donna Kern, which endowed the Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law, and a $750,000 leadership commitment from DuPont Pioneer. It has consistently ranked among the top 25 intellectual property law programs in the nation.

Learn more about the Intellectual Property Law Center.