Every College Student's Dream: An 8 AM Class on Patents

    What’s the key to success that each aspiring entrepreneur has discovered from watching the smash hit reality-TV present Shark Tank?

    “Except you may have a patent or some proprietary expertise,” Shark Tank host Robert Herjavec has mentioned time and time once more to contestants, “you’re gonna be in bother.”

    After which he invariably pronounces, “I’m out!”

    To make sure, patents, copyrights, emblems and commerce secrets and techniques — collectively, mental property (IP) — will not be the one necessities for enterprise success. However there isn’t a denying that the mental property rights to an innovation — and figuring out find out how to leverage them — are very important to getting funded by enterprise buyers.

    Neither is there any doubt that IP performs a pivotal position in powering immediately’s data economic system, the place intangible belongings comparable to IP signify more than 80 percent of the market worth of all publicly traded corporations. Certainly, intellectual-property-intensive industries now account for a stunning 38.2 percent of total US GDP, in response to a latest US Division of Commerce report. That’s greater than $6 trillion a yr, greater than the GDP of another nation besides China. IP-based industries are additionally answerable for 30 %, of nationwide employment, or roughly 40 million jobs.

    But regardless of IP’s monumental position within the US economic system, few universities supply any type of course on IP to undergraduates. Among the many first is the College of Southern California, which final fall launched a course on the fundamental workings of patents, copyrights, emblems and commerce secrets and techniques. The brand new course, by way of the Greif Heart for Entrepreneurial Research inside USC’s Marshall College of Enterprise, goals to coach tomorrow’s leaders within the abilities they should navigate our more and more IP-driven economic system.

    Pioneered by USC President C. L. Max Nikias and billionaire medical inventor Dr. Gary Michelson, the course, titled “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Intellectual Property,” was taught by Kirkland & Ellis partner Luke Dauchot, a trial lawyer specializing in advanced IP. Apart from class lectures, the course additionally supplied its 65 college students an IP textbook designed for non-lawyers and a specifically produced sequence of animated four-minute videos highlighting on a regular basis patent, trademark, and copyright points in enterprise.

    The course additionally attracted a who’s who of worldwide IP luminaries as visitor audio system, together with former Patent Workplace director David Kappos, Fb IP chief and former Google head of patents Allen Lo, Dolby Laboratories Basic Counsel Andy Sherman, Chinese language smartphone maker Xiaomi’s head of IP technique Paul Lin, and the IP leaders of Apple, Nike, Teva Prescription drugs, and Greenback Shave, amongst others. The “father of contemporary company IP technique,” Marshall Phelps, who during the last 30 years constructed and led each IBM’s and Microsoft’s international IP operations, attended the primary week of courses.

    “I used to be actually struck by these college students’ eager curiosity in IP,” says Phelps. “Let’s face it, most individuals’s eyes glaze over once you begin speaking about patents and commerce secrets and techniques. However not these youngsters. They could not know an entire lot in regards to the specifics of patent regulation — and why ought to they, I imply, that’s why God invented attorneys, proper? However they do know that IP points form many areas of contemporary life immediately, and may very well be essential to their success as entrepreneurs.”

    Simply contemplate, Phelps reminded college students throughout his speak, how the smartphone patent wars, together with Apple’s billion-dollar patent suit towards Samsung, helped decide winners and losers within the wi-fi business. Or how the “Blurred Traces” copyright infringement verdict towards Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams has reshaped music-production practices, making artists rather more reluctant to borrow even basic musical “themes” from earlier artists with out credit score and compensation.

    College students say they discovered the course worthwhile. “This class actually drilled into our heads that within the trendy IP-driven international economic system, IP technology, safety, and enforcement is totally important,” says Jack O’Grady, a junior physics main. “That’s a view that is typically neglected in conventional enterprise courses or startup tradition.”

    Natalie Monger, a junior with a twin main in laptop science and enterprise administration, says the course helped present her find out how to defend a software program system she is creating to assist dancers handle their educating, choreographing, and performing decisions. “I’d not have discovered this had the course not been supplied to me as an undergraduate,” she provides.

    David Belasco, govt director of the Greif Heart, says the course was a “particular success,” and has been given everlasting standing by the varsity’s curriculum committee.

    The USC course is a departure from previous observe in IP schooling. Till now, IP had been taught primarily solely on the graduate stage in regulation colleges or the occasional enterprise college seminar. However because the data economic system gained power in latest a long time, IP-protected innovation outmoded industrial may to grow to be the principal driver of company worth and nationwide financial progress. This, in flip, reworked IP from a narrowly specialised authorized subject into a serious pressure in American social and financial life, affecting fields as various as enterprise, science, the humanities and professions, and even commerce coverage debates within the halls of Congress.

    Because of this, argues USC President Nikias, “Any younger one who takes the chance to be taught the fundamentals of mental property immediately will discover herself with a serious benefit on this planet of tomorrow.”

    Nikias says USC is trying to fill an “IP schooling hole” that poses a menace to US management of the 21st century economic system. To grasp why, he asks us to think about how US management of the economic economic system 100 years in the past would have been hamstrung had there been no Wharton College or Penn State — the latter of which established the nation’s first division of business and manufacturing engineering in 1908 — to show mass-production administration to early-20th-century enterprise leaders.

    Comparable stakes exist immediately, Nikias believes. As Dauchot informed college students on the primary day of sophistication, “We’re a part of a first-of-a-kind experiment right here. Nobody has finished this earlier than. However IP has grow to be so vital in immediately’s world that it doesn’t matter what profession you select in a while, it’s important that you simply be taught one thing about mental property and the way it works.”

    Put one other means, simply as tech literacy was as soon as a requirement just for IT specialists however is now thought of virtually as important as verbal literacy, IP literacy is not only for attorneys anymore.

    All of which calls to thoughts that scene from the 1967 film The Graduate, when Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) gives profession recommendation to a younger Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman)?

    “Plastics!” he says. “There’s a terrific future in plastics.”

    Half a century later, USC is demonstrating that mental property has grow to be the brand new watchword for nearly any profession of the longer term.

    Defending the Jewels

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