USC’s New Class Shows It’s All in on Patents


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What’s the key to success that each aspiring entrepreneur has discovered from watching the smash hit reality-TV present Shark Tank?

“Except you have got a patent or some proprietary know-how,” Shark Tank host Robert Herjavec has stated time and time once more to contestants, “you’re gonna be in bother.”

After which he invariably broadcasts, “I’m out!”

To make sure, patents, copyrights, logos and commerce secrets and techniques — collectively, mental property (IP) — should not the one necessities for enterprise success. However there is no such thing as a denying that the mental property rights to an innovation — and realizing find out how to leverage them — are important to getting funded by enterprise traders.

Neither is there any doubt that IP performs a pivotal position in powering at this time’s information financial system, the place intangible property reminiscent of IP symbolize greater than 80 % of the market worth of all publicly traded firms. Certainly, intellectual-property-intensive industries now account for a stunning 38.2 % of whole US GDP, based on a latest US Division of Commerce report. That’s greater than $6 trillion a yr, greater than the GDP of another nation besides China. IP-based industries are additionally liable for 30 %, of nationwide employment, or roughly 40 million jobs.

But regardless of IP’s monumental position within the US financial system, few universities provide any form of course on IP to undergraduates. Among the many first is the College of Southern California, which final fall launched a course on the essential workings of patents, copyrights, logos and commerce secrets and techniques. The brand new course, by means of the Greif Heart for Entrepreneurial Research inside USC’s Marshall College of Enterprise, goals to coach tomorrow’s leaders within the expertise they should navigate our more and more IP-driven financial system.

Pioneered by USC President C. L. Max Nikias and billionaire medical inventor Dr. Gary Michelson, the course, titled “The Entrepreneur’s Information to Mental Property,” was taught by Kirkland & Ellis associate Luke Dauchot, a trial lawyer specializing in advanced IP. Except for class lectures, the course additionally offered its 65 college students an IP textbook designed for non-lawyers and a specifically produced sequence of animated four-minute movies highlighting on a regular basis patent, trademark, and copyright points in enterprise.

The course additionally attracted a who’s who of world IP luminaries as visitor audio system, together with former Patent Workplace director David Kappos, Fb IP chief and former Google head of patents Allen Lo, Dolby Laboratories Normal Counsel Andy Sherman, Chinese language smartphone maker Xiaomi’s head of IP technique Paul Lin, and the IP leaders of Apple, Nike, Teva Prescribed drugs, and Greenback Shave, amongst others. The “father of recent company IP technique,” Marshall Phelps, who during the last 30 years constructed and led each IBM’s and Microsoft’s international IP operations, attended the primary week of lessons.

“I used to be actually struck by these college students’ eager curiosity in IP,” says Phelps. “Let’s face it, most individuals’s eyes glaze over once you begin speaking about patents and commerce secrets and techniques. However not these youngsters. They could not know a complete lot in regards to the specifics of patent legislation — and why ought to they, I imply, that’s why God invented attorneys, proper? However they do know that IP points form many areas of recent life at this time, and might be vital to their success as entrepreneurs.”

Simply think about, Phelps reminded college students throughout his speak, how the smartphone patent wars, together with Apple’s billion-dollar patent go well with in opposition to Samsung, helped decide winners and losers within the wi-fi trade. Or how the “Blurred Traces” copyright infringement verdict in opposition to Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams has reshaped music-production practices, making artists way more reluctant to borrow even basic musical “themes” from earlier artists with out credit score and compensation.

College students say they discovered the course worthwhile. “This class actually drilled into our heads that within the fashionable IP-driven international financial system, IP era, safety, and enforcement is totally important,” says Jack O’Grady, a junior physics main. “That’s a view that is typically ignored in conventional enterprise lessons or startup tradition.”

Natalie Monger, a junior with a twin main in laptop science and enterprise administration, says the course helped present her find out how to shield a software program system she is creating to assist dancers handle their instructing, choreographing, and performing decisions. “I might not have discovered this had the course not been provided to me as an undergraduate,” she provides.

David Belasco, government director of the Greif Heart, says the course was a “particular success,” and has been given everlasting standing by the college’s curriculum committee.

The USC course is a departure from previous follow in IP schooling. Till now, IP had been taught primarily solely on the graduate degree in legislation colleges or the occasional enterprise college seminar. However because the information financial system gained energy in latest many years, IP-protected innovation outdated industrial may to develop into the principal driver of company worth and nationwide financial development. This, in flip, remodeled IP from a narrowly specialised authorized subject into a significant power in American social and financial life, affecting fields as diverse as enterprise, science, the humanities and professions, and even commerce coverage debates within the halls of Congress.

In consequence, argues USC President Nikias, “Any younger one who takes the chance to be taught the fundamentals of mental property at this time will discover herself with a significant benefit on the planet of tomorrow.”

Nikias says USC is trying to fill an “IP schooling hole” that poses a risk to US management of the 21st century financial system. To know why, he asks us to think about how US management of the economic financial system 100 years in the past would have been hamstrung had there been no Wharton College or Penn State — the latter of which established the nation’s first division of business and manufacturing engineering in 1908 — to show mass-production administration to early-20th-century enterprise leaders.

Related stakes exist at this time, Nikias believes. As Dauchot advised college students on the primary day of sophistication, “We’re a part of a first-of-a-kind experiment right here. Nobody has achieved this earlier than. However IP has develop into so necessary in at this time’s world that it doesn’t matter what profession you select afterward, it’s important that you just be taught one thing about mental property and the way it works.”

Put one other method, simply as tech literacy was as soon as a requirement just for IT specialists however is now thought of nearly as important as verbal literacy, IP literacy is not only for attorneys anymore.

All of which calls to thoughts that scene from the 1967 film The Graduate, when Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) presents profession recommendation to a younger Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman)?

“Plastics!” he says. “There’s a fantastic future in plastics.”

Half a century later, USC is demonstrating that mental property has develop into the brand new watchword for nearly any profession of the longer term.

Defending the Jewels

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