|Student cat by Drakiusz|
"Universities need dramatic rethink on how they teach intellectual property, new survey showsThe survey is available from the NUS here.
Most students believe that the way they are taught about intellectual property (IP) does not equip them for their future careers. Universities and colleges focus too much on the negative aspects of plagiarism and not enough on the benefits of IP rights, such as patents and registered designs [this Kat is quite surprised, not just because he has always tried to emphasise the positive -- as this blog also seeks to do -- but also because there seems to be so much more useful teaching material about the positive benefits and how the system works].
According to a new landmark survey of student attitudes to intellectual property and its teaching, students recognise that understanding IP is important for their education and future careers but fail to see any link between IP and their eventual commercial success (or failure) [this can easily happen if students are encouraged or habituated to think of IP rights as something that other people own and enforce against them, rather than as something which they themselves produce, often quite effortlessly, as a by-product of their own existence].
The focus on plagiarism has not led to teaching about broader aspects of IP. But students want IP education integrated into their courses, linked to their career options. Only 40 per cent of respondents thought their IP awareness sufficient for their future needs [this is good news. A shared recognition of a need = proof that a market exists for such teaching].
[Veteran Katfriend and National Treasure] Professor Ruth Soetendorp who leads IPAN’s Education Group said:
“This research highlights shortcomings in student IP understanding and its teaching in Further and Higher Education which have negative implications for the UK economy. The UK needs to be world class in the creative arts, innovative in its product and systems designs, and pioneering in manufacturing processes. In a global market these need to be underwritten by a proper understanding of IP embedded in an educated workforce.” “This research confirms what we have long suspected: that students want to see IP teaching integrated in their courses. The UK’s FE and HE course providers must now step-up to meet this need.”Improving IP education in the UK is a significant and urgent challenge requiring active involvement and cooperation of stakeholders in academia, industry, the professions and government. IPAN looks forward to working with the Intellectual Property Office and education bodies to help ensure that the challenge is met".
The IPKat is saddened that, after so many years of trying to teach IP to non-lawyers at tertiary educational institutions, there is still an unmet demand. This Kat in particular remembers offering to teach IP to the Engineering students at an institution in which he was a Law Lecturer. He was told: "why not teach them something useful instead?" He wonders whether other countries have had greater success in integrating information and understanding of IP into their non-law teaching and hopes that readers will share their thoughts and experiences.
By the way, you're never too young to start learning about IP: only last month this Kat posted on Project EduKat, here.