Bar Napkin Inventions: How to Apply for Patent Protection

Mark Melasky

Do you have an invention that you’d like to protect, but don’t know where to start? Have you always wanted to learn more about the process? Then join patent attorney Mark Melasky of Intellectual Property Consulting on Wednesday, October 23rd at 5:30 p.m. for a free workshop at LaunchPad as he discusses:

  • What do you need? Patent/Trademark/Copyright?
  • How you obtain a patent.
  • What to expect during the registration process.
  • Patent infringement issues and your duties as a patent owner.
  • Deadlines, fees, and how to get help.
  • Plus your questions!

This workshop is part of The Ella Project’s Bar Napkin Inventions, a casual series preparing the inventor for going through the patent process, and attending this workshop, or doing an online course is a requirement to apply to our Louisiana Invents Patent Pro Bono Program.

Ashlye Keaton to speak at World Intellectual Property Organization

Ella Project Co-Founder Ashlye Keaton will present on the work of the Ella Project on October 18th and how artists are empowered to protect their intellectual property via pro bono legal service providers like ours in Geneva, Switzerland. Joining her will be Walter Chia of the IP Office of Singapore, Olga Dubey of Switzerland’s AgroSustain, and Suil Hong of Japan’s Nodoka Tea.

Though it’s a long way from New Orleans, the webcast of the opening session of this event will be available on Facebook live via the U.S. Mission Geneva Facebook page. Bon Voyage, Ashlye!

Gene Meneray added to NASAA board

Ella Project Co-Founder Gene Meneray has joined the Board of Directors for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Charged with champions public support for the arts in America, NASAA works with the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and provides research, advocacy, and connections to ensure all Americans have access to arts and culture. Gene is honored to represent Louisiana on this board, and looks forward to bringing new ideas back to our state to strengthen arts funding, increase diversity in the arts, and make sure Louisiana is represented at the national level when developing new arts policy.

Our fact finding trip to Seattle, San Francisco

City of New Orleans delegation in Seattle, WA with King County’s Kate Becker

In September, The Ella Project led a delegation of City of New Orleans officials to Seattle and San Francisco to learn from those cities how they manage their nighttime economies, work with street performers, and fund their arts agencies and grant programs. We came back brimming with ideas, and more committed than ever to empower the creators of our unique culture. This trip could not have happened without the tireless assistance of Kate Becker of King County, and Ben Van Houten and Maggie Weiland of San Francisco, and our longtime friend Jocelyn Kane. We recently wrote about this trip, and what New Orleans can learn from these communities in OffBeat. Read our guest editorial and let us know your thoughts!

Sync Up: Make Your Music the Next Hollywood Sound

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and the New Orleans Business Alliance will host a Sync Up workshop on Wednesday, September 18 to help local musicians earn more money for their art. It starts at 5:30 p..m. at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street). Admission is free.

The first 50 artists who register, attend the Sync Up, sign up and complete an ELLA Project assistance session will earn a grant from the New Orleans Business Alliance to substantially offset the fees for copyright registration.

Presenters will teach local artists how to clear samples for use, register copyrighted music, and how to get their works into film, commercials and TV productions. CLICK HERE TO RSVP!

The workshop features a discussion with John Boutté, local jazz icon, whose “Treme Song” became the theme for the acclaimed HBO series Treme.

In addition, film, music and law experts will discuss the nuances of registering music for licensing or use.

Panelists feature:
•Sarah Bromberg, music supervisor, Bonfire Collective (music supervision for NBC’s Smash, Pitch Perfect 2 and commercials for Walmart, Subaru, Budweiser and more)

•Dino Gankendorff, entertainment attorney, Provosty & Gankendorff (clients include Chuck D, Cupid, Mavis Staples, Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty among others)

•Kyle Lamy, music and location supervisor, NCIS New Orleans

•Reid Wick, senior director & project manager, The Recording Academy (GRAMMYS).

Copyright & Contracts for Filmmakers on September 18th

September 18th at LaunchPad

Please join New Orleans-based entertainment attorneys Max Hass and Bri Whetstone and The Ella Project for a FREE workshop on copyright and contract topics relevant to filmmakers that will cover a range of legal and business topics for artists developing their careers. This workshop will be an introduction to copyright issues, including an explanation of what copyrights are, information on registering copyrights, issues related to collaborations and commissions, an overview of work for hire agreements and other contracts commonly encountered by filmmakers and producers, and more!


WHEN: Wednesday, September 18 – 6:00 PM
WHERE: Launch Pad New Orleans, 400 Poydras St, Suite 900 (corner of Magazine St)
WHO: Class taught by Max Hass and Bri Whetstone (New Orleans-based attorneys focusing in entertainment, arts and intellectual property law).

Copyright is part of a set of property rights that underpin every film, and nearly every component of each film, and enable artists to monetize their creativity and earn a living from doing what they love. The trouble is, it comes from a complex area of the law that relatively few people understand. As a result, many creators don’t get the full benefit of what the law provides for them. In this workshop, Max Hass and Bri Whetstone will walk through the basics of copyright law, focusing on the specific needs of visual artists. Participants will learn about the rights they have in their work, and how to use those rights to maintain creative and financial control over their projects.

Supported by Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans with the assistance of The Ella Project. Many thanks to our hosts, Launch Pad, for providing their beautiful space for this event!

NOTE: This workshop is an overview of certain areas of law concerning copyright and contract, and is intended for educational purposes only. The workshop will not provide legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult an attorney. The workshop instructors may be able to put you in touch with attorneys if needed.

Workshop: Copyright and Contracts for Visual Artists

Please join us On Wednesday, August 28th for our latest free workshop on growing your arts business. Presented New Orleans-based entertainment attorneys Max Hass and Bri Whetstone, this workshop on copyright and contract topics is relevant to visual artists that will cover a range of legal and business topics for artists developing their careers. Issues to be covered include:

  • what copyrights are, and how to register them.
  • other areas of intellectual property law, issues related to collaborations and commissions.
  • work for hire agreements.
  • other contracts commonly encountered by visual artists.
  • plus answers to your questions.

Copyright and Contracts for Visual Artists

Wednesday, August 28th 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Launch Pad, 400 Poydras, Suite 900, New Orleans, LA

Free, but please RSVP here. 


This workshop is supported by funding from the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans. 



Keep Your Organization in Tune workshop on August 14th in Lafayette

The Ella Project is excited to partner with the Acadiana Center for the Arts to present this new, full day workshop developing specifically for small to midsize arts and cultural nonprofits. Running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, this workshop covers topics including:

  • Board Development and Best Practices
  • Bylaws and Compliance
  • Donor Cultivation and Stewardship
  • Social Media for Nonprofits.

Presenting will be Ashlye Keaton and Gene Meneray of The Ella Project, Melanie Merz with WWOZ, and Katie Odell from La GUILD Gallery.

Along with the workshop, Ella Project will make their one on one legal services available to attendees, and will waive the organizational application fee.

There is no fee for this workshop. For more details and to RSVP, please click here.

Let your voice be heard. Take the NOME survey.

The New Orleans Music Economy Initiative (NOME) is a project of Greater New Orleans Inc. and the local music and  business community. A major initial goal of this project is putting together an Action Plan, but first they need to hear from you, especially working musicians. The survey just takes a few minutes, but closes July 31st, so please follow the link, take a few minutes, and let them hear about your experiences, and what you’d like to see improved.