July 21, 2008
The need to strengthen intellectual property (IP) management education and research, especially in developing countries, dominated discussions at a two-day international conference organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 17 and 18, 2008. The International Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) Management Education and Research, attended by over thirty academics, mainly from business schools, corporate executives and policy makers, from eighteen countries around the world, was the first of its kind to take an in-depth look at the state of global IP management education and research and to establish a road map for its future development. The Conference adopted a declaration which underlines the urgent need to include IP management education programs into the curricula of schools of business, engineering and law. The declaration further calls on WIPO to assume a leadership role in the development of this important and emerging discipline.
The first day of the Conference focused on various broad themes, namely – the role of IP in economic development and business competitiveness as well as an analysis of the nature of supply and demand for IP management education and research. On the second day, panelists reflected on ways to integrate IP into functional areas of management. Five parallel sessions attempted to consider ways in which to incorporate IP concepts, such as patents, trade secrets, trademarks, designs, geographical indications, and copyright into curricula that focus on business strategy, innovation, marketing, finance and corporate social responsibility.
The Conference underlined the need to heighten awareness of IP management education and its critical role in building IP-enabled and IP-competent business organizations. Participants generally agreed that a great deal remained to be done to ensure that business organizations, including those in the developed world, were in a position to develop appropriate structures, systems and competencies for managing and leveraging intangibles, in particular IP, for value and wealth creation.
The conference took note of the shortage of IP management teaching and research. Most business schools and faculties of management science do not include IP management education and research programs in their MBA, Management of Technology (MOT) or post-academic executive education programs. The small number that do exist fall short of meeting the emerging demand from business, including transnational companies, and do not adequately equip students with the standard level of knowledge and skills to deal with IP as legal rights. The Conference noted that this scarcity of IP-oriented business education was particularly pronounced within developing countries and countries in transition to a market economy. This was largely attributed to a continued lack of awareness about the management of IP as an economic asset and a severe lack of resources and course materials. Much still remains to be done to fully ensure that IP is fully integrated into the mainstream of management education . In light of this, participants underscored the significance of sub-regional, regional and international cooperation in fostering IP management education and research.
Opening the Conference on behalf of the Director-General of WIPO, Mr. Yo Takagi, Executive Director, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Development and the WIPO Worldwide Academy, welcomed the broad international participation at the Conference and observed that “Intellectual property management is the need of the hour and has a major role to play in transforming the vast development and competitive potential and value created by innovation and brand into concrete and tangible benefits for countries and companies”. Mr. Mpazi Sinjela, Dean of the WIPO Academy, recognized that “IP management education is in its infancy and reiterated the commitment of the WIPO Academy to provide the necessary impetus and support to strengthen teaching and research in this field, particularly in the developing economies."
Participants welcomed the timeliness of the Conference, took note of the considerable and wide-ranging activities undertaken by WIPO Academy and underlined their appreciation of WIPO’s support for technical assistance and capacity building activities in this area.
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