Thursday 30 January 2014

Sally Cooper rants on Issues In IP Educational Programs

As someone whose CV includes being a Senior Lecturer at The College of Law (now the proudly-named University of Law), a publication with the title “IP education of non IP professionals” necessarily attracts 
Tailored Tuition

In its Final Thoughts (so at the end of the page) there’s the conclusion that “The importance of IP education cannot be stated enough” : so say all of us ! 

However, the (negative) issues that command attention for those of us involved in spreading the word about the benefits of IP (and is any one of us not so engaged ?) are (without alteration) as follows :

• the content material had not been adjusted to suit the particular audience, 
• too much attention had been given to one particular form of IP, and other forms of IP had been generally ignored, 
• the language used in the training material had not been adjusted to suit a non IP audience who generally have a poor understanding of IP specific words and phrases. 
• the legal aspects of IP dominated the training, 
• the focus was very on one IP particular process rather than explaining all of the key IP processes and how they are inter-related, 
• learnings from how the IP game is played in different industry sectors were not included, 
• all of the case studies or examples provided during the IP education were drawn from one particular industry sub-sector,
• the person providing the IP education lacked a holistic view of the IP world, 
• the course content lacked consistency when implemented across a large organisation or company, 
• the educational material and delivery was dry and un-atractive, and did not really engage the participants, 
• too much emphasis was given to how the IP game is played in one or two jurisdictions, 
• some admin or facilities issues adversely impacted the success of the IP education program, 
• there was no evaluation or follow-up conducted 

It seems to me that the dominant message coming from these (negative) issues is that old familiar : the person asked to provide the education had not been briefed adequately about the concerns of those he / she was being asked to educate. 

I know I can be “dry and un-atractive (sic)” when doing my best to explain “the legal aspects of IP” rather than “the IP game” : but that won’t stop me being involved in IP education and trying to get it right !


  1. "the person providing the IP education lacked a holistic view of the IP world"

    Which of us could hope to cover all the various aspects of IP that the author identifies? Though I regularly give IP training, I would only claim expertise in 2 or 3 of the topics listed.

    My experience is that people who have no prior experience of IP are far more difficult to engage with than those who have some prior experience.

    I wonder if the feedback would be any better if basic training in tax law, or some other highly technical subject, were being given?

  2. Hi Mark - great to have some useful comment amongst the spam. I wonder if the critic here was concerned more about the holistic view in terms of the perspective of patent agent, patent owner and potential infringer. It is often the case that we do look at IP wholly from the perspective of the protected and not from the view of the consumer or competing business. A client is often impacted by IP in several ways and he has to take a balanced view about what steps will most advance his business. The example of the brand owner who damages his lifestyle brand by over enthusiastic policing against small competitors is perhaps not taking a holistic view.