This article is reprinted with permission from the December 2007 issue of  IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine.

Any successful founder of a technology-based company can tell you, with an ethereal smile, exactly when and where "the big idea" hit him. Then his expression will flash to a serious, battle-worn stare as he explains all the work he had to do to get his product launched. The intellectual property (IP) aspects of a typical odyssey from startup to product release require one to go beyond the "eureka moment" and ask if you have discovered a viable "big idea."