Better understanding of IP ‘urgently needed’

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has called for a 'solid understanding' of intellectual property to be made part of every engineering course.

The declaration was made following a report published by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Intellectual Property Office, which found that only 40% of students consider their current awareness of IP to be enough to support them in their future career. "Whilst we welcome this unique study, which for the very first time gets the view from students, one of the rather startling findings is that students fail to understand the link between IP and commercial success," commented Graham Barber, the IET's principal policy advisor. "If the UK is to continue to effectively compete, it is essential that we have an innovative engineering sector at its heart. Our future engineers and technicians must clearly understand the benefits and obligations of IP. In order to address this issue, a solid understanding of IP should be part of every engineering course. Ultimately, universities and accreditation bodies must work together to strengthen knowledge in this area." Rachel Wenstone, NUS vice president, said improvements were 'clearly needed'. "Students want IP education to be integrated into their courses, and linked to their future career options," she added. "Intellectual property is a significant issue for many UK students, not only for the successful completion of their academic course, but as importantly, to ensure students understand how ideas are recognised and protected, to prepare them for the growing world of enterprise and innovation beyond graduation." For more information about the value of intellectual property from a design engineering perspective, visit Eureka's dedicated IP advice zone here.