Madeleine Key

Madeleine Key has been writing about intellectual property, inventing, and entrepreneurship for more than 15 years. As a ghostwriter, her work has appeared online in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Business Insider, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, The Globe and Mail, and more.

In 2015, she expanded and revised One Simple Idea, the bestselling how-to book about product licensing. With more than 800 5-star reviews on Amazon, it has been taught in numerous college courses, including the MBA program at the University of Fairbanks in Alaska; the University of California at Merced, and the University of the Pacific.

She is the longtime social media director for inventRight, the beloved coaching company, as well as the developer of its learning management system. In 2019, she helped create and administer "How to Launch a Product Without Starting a Business," a 10-unit course for the University of Newcastle in Australia. To her knowledge, it is the first and only undergraduate course devoted wholly to product licensing.
As of 2021, she serves on the Communications Committee for the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding.

As a freelance journalist based in Oakland, her articles about arts and culture were featured in the SF Chronicle, East Bay Express, CALIFORNIA magazine, and on the website Civil Eats. She began writing for The Modesto Bee as a teen and cemented her interest in storytelling at The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper.
Currently, she lives on the road in a built-out Sprinter van with her husband John and their Welsh Terrier Bear.

Recent Articles by

Understanding IP Matters: IP Investing — What Is It? Who Does It? Why It Matters

Intellectual property is the primary reason most companies are valuable today, but making investments in inventions and patents isn’t well-understood. As creators develop a roadmap for profiting from their output, understanding the mechanisms for valuing and monetizing intellectual property is crucial. To tease out the intersection of startup funding, intellectual property and litigation, in Episode 8 of Season 2 of his podcast “Understanding IP Matters,” Bruce Berman interviews Efrat Kasznik, president of Foresight Valuation Group, and Adam Gill, founder and managing director of Chicago-based GLS Capital, who are leaders in the field of IP valuation, monetization and litigation funding.

Understanding IP Matters: Inventor and Author Arlyne Simon Wants to Change the World — and How Children View It

Inventor, author, and entrepreneur Arlyne Simon believes creative problem solving should be the foundation of every child’s early education. The Intel Corporation biomedical engineer says that failure is a part of every invention’s success, and that we need to learn how to fail to succeed. She is the creator of Abby Invents, a highly regarded series of children’s books about perseverance, the power of learning, and the invention process told from the perspective of a young black girl.  In Episode 7 of Season 2 of his podcast “Understanding IP Matters,” Bruce Berman interviews Simon about the importance of representation, her motivations as an invention educator, and her career as a professional inventor.

Understanding IP Matters: Rising to the China Challenge – Why the United States Must Capture Value, Not Just Create It

In the United States, our ability to innovate drives our economic advantage. Have policymakers taken that for granted? To find out, Bruce Berman, founder of the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding, interviewed renowned professor David Teece and Patrick Kilbride of the Global Innovation Policy Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Episode 6, Season 2 of “Understanding IP Matters.” Their wide-ranging conversation explores the relationship between intellectual property rights, investment, and the rule of law.

Understanding IP Matters: Embracing Open Innovation – The Business of Licensing with or without Patents

Is it a great time to be an inventor or a terrible one? From some corners of the inventing community, the news is doom and gloom, but for Stephen Key, a successful creator and entrepreneur, the opportunities faced by inventive people today are as varied and exciting as the challenges. Patents, he believes, are a tool to help people share their creativity. To commercialize some products they are absolutely necessary, but to bring others to market they may not be needed. In an industry where inventors are regularly charged tens of thousands of dollars for help with inventions that will never make it to market, his unique perspective and commitment to giving back to the next generation of creators have earned him a large following.

Understanding IP Matters: Rock On — ‘Cracker’ Lead Singer Advocates for Musicians and Other Creators

One contradiction of the digital era is that, while it’s become easier to make and distribute music, it’s also more difficult to earn a living doing it. Artists must accept the extremely low rates that streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube pay for their songs. What does the future look like for garage bands? And will stronger enforcement of copyright protection help? Bruce Berman, host of the “Understanding IP Matters” podcast, sought out musician, serial entrepreneur, university instructor and intellectual property advocate, David Lowery, to find out in Episode 4 of Season 2 of “Understanding IP Matters.”

Understanding IP Matters: Beyond the Headlines – Two Veteran Reporters Confront IP Media Coverage

Communicating the value and importance of intellectual property to the general public — let alone investors, C-suite executives, and politicians — is a formidable challenge that exists industry-wide. This is partly due to the reality that writing cogently about intellectual property requires an understanding of business, law, science and finance. In the third episode of Season 2 of “Understanding IP Matters,” the podcast from the Center for IP Understanding, founder and host Bruce Berman sits down with two legendary figures in the field of intellectual property reporting. Gene Quinn is CEO of IPWatchdog, the most widely read publication in the intellectual property field. With more than 300,000 monthly visitors, IPWatchdog’s go-to coverage is a must read. Quinn is also a writer, patent attorney and leading commentator on innovation policy. He has twice been named one of the Top 50 most influential people in intellectual property. Quinn has advised inventors, entrepreneurs and startup businesses, and is highly regarded as a teacher and speaker. Sue Decker covered patent litigation and policy from Washington for Bloomberg News for more than two decades. She retired this year after 35 years in journalism. Decker was one of the very few business reporters ever to have a dedicated IP beat, and the first woman.

Understanding IP Matters – Investor View: Why Market Leaders Want to Kill Creative Destruction

Some technology companies embrace new inventions and patents; others just stockpile them out of fear for how they may disrupt their leadership position. Some investors regard IP rights positively; others do not. After massive legislative and judicial weakening, can patents still be relied upon to help generate reasonable returns? In Episode 2 of Season 2 of the “Understanding IP Matters” podcast, Bruce Berman sought out veteran venture capitalist (VC) and technology investor Gary Lauder to find out.

To Become Transaction-Ready, Startups Need IP Business Strategists

On the second day of the IPWatchdog LIVE conference held in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month, a panel of experts who advise startups and are passionate about the licensing business model discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by intellectual property. The panelists opened the discussion by describing their experiences with the biggest mistakes startups make in regard to patents. Ian McClure, Associate VP for Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact at the University of Kentucky as well as the chair of AUTM, identified two mistakes commonly made by the approximately 1,200 startups that are spun out from university research in the United States each year.