From the clothes we wear to our favorite books or songs on the radio, intellectual property (IP) is all around us. Referring to creations of the mind that are used in commerce, protections such as patents, copyrights and trademarks give individuals and companies the incentive to innovate.
Those who have these types of safeguards on their creative endeavors are protected from others using their ideas without their permission.
IP is so valuable that a 2015 study found that intangible assets (which include branding, patents, trademarks and copyrights) for companies listed on the S&P 500 represented 87% of the average company’s total value. Intuitively, this makes sense. Consider the price of a white T-shirt. Now, consider the cost of a white T-shirt that has the logo of a designer brand. Though the materials of these two shirts might be identical, the branding of the latter drastically increases its value.
The Lack of IP in School
Though IP is a crucial component of all businesses, it is especially important to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, where continuous innovation occurs each day. Unfortunately, due to the subject’s complexity, there exist few ways to learn about IP within our traditional education system.
“Intellectual property, and particularly the protection of inventions, is a complex subject. It is full of legal jargon, and even though it isn’t in mainstream conversation or pop culture, it should be taught in any art, creative writing, music or STEM-based course so that people will have basic awareness about when they should seek protection.”
– Maggie Petrush, Vice President and General Counsel for the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF)
We at NIHF believe that while teaching students how to code, design and invent is important, they must also learn how to protect what they create. That’s why our education programs make Intellectual Property Literacy® a priority by incorporating engaging actives that show the importance of protecting one’s ideas.
Learn More About IP by Downloading Our White Paper
For educators looking to provide the most effective STEM instruction for their students, the inclusion of IP fundamentals is crucial. Download our free white paper, “Why Intellectual Property is Essential to STEM Education” today to learn more about how IP shapes the world around us.