Intellectual Property Education: More Work to be Done

By Ideas Matter

Educating students on the uses and workings of intellectual property has grown in recent years, but ‘there is still more work to be done towards introducing IP into course curriculum,’ according to a Center for IP Understanding (CIPU) survey released this week.

CIPU’s report The State of Intellectual Property Education Worldwide: Seven Leading Nationsreviews non-lawyer IP-related education initiatives, including formal programmes in schools and universities, as well as training programs offered by public agencies, extracurricular programs, and education fairs.  The study looks at IP education programmes underway in seven ‘innovation economies’, including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Sweden, South Korea and China.

The report reviews a number of different IP education initiatives in each of the seven countries, and shows how private-sector and government initiatives are helping to promote these programmes at all levels of the education system. 

While ‘IP education remains largely the province of law schools’, business and technical education curricula in these countries are starting to include IP courses—some of which are compulsory in Japan and China—and some younger school children in the UK and the US are benefitting from age-appropriate IP-related material.

“Although IP rights are more relevant than ever to the economies of leading nations, basic IP literacy is lacking,” said Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel at IBM, a member of the board of directors of CIPU and President of the IPO Education Foundation. “Delivery of IP education programs for the most part has not kept up with the emergence of the STEM curriculum.”

Schecter’s conclusion: “More pro-active education about the fundamentals of intellectual property is needed to ensure that students understand the importance of intellectual property to our economic well-being and the impact of routinely ignoring patents, trademarks and copyrights.”

For more information about CIPU’s report, see their summary here and full report here