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Cash in on other people's patents.
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This story appears in the April 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Ever wanted to explore the R&D department of a corporation? Now's your chance with the Delaware Intellectual Property Business Creation Program. To stimulate economic development and innovation, the Delaware Economic Development Office, or DEDO, has guaranteed 255 donated patents--250 from DuPont Co. and five from Hercules Chemical Co. "There may be a patent with [the program] that [will] help an existing small business develop a new product or innovate a product," says Judy McKinney-Cherry, director of DEDO, who notes that startups are also eligible, with the caveat that resulting companies--with some exceptions--be based in Delaware. "Our goal is to grow our businesses."

Entrepreneurs will even be able to speak with the patent developers and scientists at DuPont and Hercules and find out specifics of the background research of each patent. DEDO also built a Virtual Emerging Technology Center, designed to help these entrepreneurs grow their businesses with help from mentors, advisors, financial professionals, patent attorneys and accounting services.

At press time, 105 patents were available for review at www.state.de.us/dedo/business/patent_portfolio, categorized into areas such as agriculture, biotechnology, chemistry and optics, to name just a few.

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