[Guest Post] IP Education Series #4

New year, new installment of the IP Education Series! (Previous posts: Intro, #1, #2, and #3) This Professor Dinusha Mendis, illustrates where the minds of IP and engineering students meet with fantastic results!
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Over to Dinusha:

Learning from each other at University – when IP law and engineering students collaborate…

Intellectual property is a valuable asset to buy, sell and license. Millions of businesses around the world use it as a mechanism for protecting, commercialising and exploiting their innovative brands, designs, creative work and innovations. Starting to understand IP at an early stage, for example at University, can therefore be a significant benefit for aspiring innovators and businesses. Opening doors for collaboration with IP law students, at that stage, can enrich that experience – as seen through the IP-Design Collaboration Project at Bournemouth University (BU).

The IP-Design and Engineering Collaboration Project at Bournemouth University

The IP-Design collaborative project at Bournemouth University (BU) brings together final year undergraduate IP law and engineering students – who learn from each other. The final year project for engineering students involves bringing an innovation to life and in collaboration with the final year IP students, inventions and intellectual property are brought to life.

At an operational level, the students are paired into groups at the beginning of the IP unit, which normally includes 2 law students to 2-3 design and engineering students. The project begins with both groups of students meeting each other at a seminar addressed by an IP practitioner and an Engineering practitioner. At a practical level, final year IP law students advise their ‘clients’ – the engineering students – through (a) an advice letter and (b) an oral presentation which forms the IP students’ final year assignment. The ‘clients’ are invited to the oral presentation and encouraged to ask questions from their ‘lawyers’ about the advice being given.

Over the years, it has been a rewarding experience to witness some remarkable innovations such as a cake icing pen, a computer game controlled by brain power, a glamping pod amongst others and watch intellectual property law coming to life, through its direct application in the form of written and oral advice.

The opportunity to apply IP law to real-life scenarios and to real-life innovations makes this project truly unique. It assists design and engineering students to grasp the importance of IP law, whilst encouraging the law students to present their advice without bringing in legal jargon. It presents challenges for both parties, but students certainly learn from each other and understand the importance of IP at a very practical level.

The project has culminated in prizes for the best IP student and best IP-design and engineering group awarded by a retired patent attorney. In fact, IPKat’s very own Dr Hayleigh Bosher, was the recipient of the Best IP Law student prize in 2012 – when studying the IP unit at Bournemouth University!

It Does Not Happen Overnight …

The collaboration project has been started many years ago – under the leadership of Professor Ruth Soetendorp. It has gone through many iterations, over the years, as a result of learning through the various challenges it has presented. Being a cross-faculty initiative, it presents its own challenges. Moreover, group work which involves law and engineering students in their final years is demanding inasmuch as it requires dedicated time, more so than any other unit and that is another factor.

A Rewarding Experience for All

However, meeting various challenges and overcoming them has led to the collaborative project being ‘fine-tuned’, it’s been a privilege to have led the IP Unit and the IP-design and engineering collaboration project since January 2011 at BU. It has also been adopted at other universities including Aston. It is undoubtedly an incredibly rewarding experience and throughout the years, students have benefited greatly from the collaborative project as well as speaking about it at their job interviews.
[Guest Post] IP Education Series #4 [Guest Post] IP Education Series #4 Reviewed by Tosshan Ramgolam on Friday, January 24, 2020 Rating: 5

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