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Law School Venture, The Durationator® Selected for Idea Village Entrepreneur Challenge

November 08, 2010

The Durationator®, a legal software tool created at Tulane Law School, has been selected as one of 15 entrepreneurs to participate in the Idea Village Entrepreneur Challenge (IVEC). IVEC is an intensive six-month business accelerator program designed to provide critical business resources to early-stage, high-impact local entrepreneurial ventures with a goal of driving economic growth in New Orleans.


Funded by a Tulane University Research Enhancement Grant, an IDEA grant from the Technology Transfer Office, and student research support from the law school,  The Durationator®  is a web-based software tool that helps people determine the copyright status of cultural works (e.g. poems, films, novels, and paintings) for use both within the U.S. as well as around the world.

Dr.  Elizabeth Townsend-Gard co-invented The Durationator® with Matt Miller (L ’09) soon after she arrived at Tulane Law School in 2007. At the time, Townsend-Gard says, the project was just a quest to answer her own legal questions and make her research more obtainable for others. Three years later, however, with The Durationator® on the brink of moving from an experiment to a usable product for the public, the intellectual property law professor is witnessing “a real dream come true.”


“The Durationator® has been built with support of the Tulane University community from the start,” said Prof. Townsend-Gard, who currently oversees the software. “Everyone, from the law faculty and central administration to the law students themselves, has been very supportive of this unconventional way to deliver legal information. We believe in social entrepreneurship and feel Tulane University has provided us the opportunity to create something that potentially could make the world a better place—even if just in our own small way.”

According to Townsend-Gard, students (and now graduates) have helped build everything from the code to the design to the legal engineered paths. Team Durationator®, a core set of students, has included Justin Levy (L’09), Benjamin Varadi (L ’09), Evan Dicharry (L ’10), and Zachary Christiansen (L ’12), as well as dozens of other law students focused on research for the software tool. The team is thrilled now to add The Idea Village to their family of support.


Tim Williamson is the co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village. Of the strategy behind IVEC, Williamson  states, “New Orleans has become a vibrant hub of entrepreneurship and these individuals are at the forefront of the city’s renaissance. The IVEC program identifies high impact entrepreneurs and provides direct support by engaging The Idea Village’s global network of supporters. Our goal is to retain these future economic and civic leaders in New Orleans.”


IVEC entrepreneurs are eligible to receive significant resources to accelerate the growth of their ventures as well as customized leadership coaching. Resources include access to successful serial entrepreneurs through the Executives-in-Residence program, connections to a diverse pool of global business experts, professional service providers, and investors, and access to $140,000 in start-up capital.


“We are insanely excited to be part of the IVEC class of 2011,” Townsend-Gard stated. “[The Idea Village] understands our mission and goals, and for the first time, I think our dreams and goals within a social entrepreneurial framework might really be achievable.”


The Idea Village received 195 initial applications this year and selected a portfolio of 15 entrepreneurial ventures poised to grow in 2011. Of those selected, three have ties to Tulane University. Joining The Durationator® in the IVEC ’11 class are as follows: Axon Calc, Bideo, EMOPP (Tulane Freeman School of Business), GTC NOLA, Life City, Liveset, Moped Medical, NOLA Brew, The Occasional Wife, PollBob, Rare Cuts, Rebirth Financial (Tulane Freeman School of Business), Spa Workshop, and Trias Global. 


To learn more about the annual Idea Village Entrepreneur Challenge, New Orleans Entrepreneur Week,
and the portfolio of participating entrepreneurs, please visit www.ideavillage.org .

Dr. Elizabeth Townsend-Gard is Associate Professor of Law and
Co-Director, Tulane Center for Intellectual Property Law, Media & Culture.
Her Tulane Law School  Blog made its debut in July 2007 and chronicles life in New Orleans.


About The Idea Village:  

In 2000, The Idea Village was formed by a group of New Orleans citizens who determined that the key to creating positive economic and social change in New Orleans was to create a vibrant entrepreneurial community. The Idea Village formalized in 2002 as an independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing business resources to high-impact ventures. The Idea Village team supports entrepreneurial talent by identifying growth challenges, setting goals, providing business strategy, marketing support and financial direction.


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