Universities need to teach business students about patents: a suggested approach

Helen Gubby

Abstract


An understanding of IP should not be confined to the graduates of law schools. In today's knowledge-based economy, patents often play an important role in business. Yet many students graduate from their management programmes knowing little about intellectual property (IP) in general and patents in particular. Too often managers only learn about patenting when already working for a firm. They learn through trial and error. It is time for business schools to provide integrated, interdisciplinary IP programmes because innovation requires the expertise of a variety of professionals: inventors, business professionals and legal advisors. Innovation is essentially a team activity, demanding that participants understand at least some aspects of each other's expertise, as well as effective communication across areas. While a general IP course could already be offered at the bachelor level, a specialized patent law and strategy course for managers at the master level is a must and not just for those who have opted for technology management. A course that combines patenting theory and the kind of errors so commonly made by managers in practice would be of great value.

Keywords: Management education; Technology and innovation management; Patent law; Patent strategy; Competition tools


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