Brief report of my attendance at an Intellectual Property Masterclass last week. This document is intended for my ACLIP portfolio.
IP MASTERCLASS COURSE
WHEN: 18TH – 20TH OF November 2013
WHERE: ST MELLONS BEST WESTERN HOTEL, CARDIFF
This is a course run by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) and is designed to provide newcomers to the Intellectual Property (IP) field with a grounding in the various types of IP, as well as the different ways businesses or individuals can protect or exploit such a valuable resource. It is hoped all front-line staff within the Business & Research department will undertake this training at some point, as the service moves towards a partnership with the British Library IP Centre that will see the launching of a fully-fledged IP Centre within the Leeds Central Library. Outside of some brief training in the Leeds Central Library Business & Patents department, I was a beginner in this subject area. Therefore, I prepared for the course by reading a basic text in the field1, as well as a useful booklet provided by the UK-IPO itself2. This background preparation ensured I could approach the course material with (some) confidence.
The first day saw a series of talks by different speakers introducing the main types of IP – Patents; Trademarks; Registered Design; and Copyright. These talks were punctuated with two group exercises. In the first instance, delegates were encouraged to invent a product of their own and perform an “audit” of the relevant IP for that product; in the second exercise, delegates were presented with an analysis of the creative process involved in formulating and manufacturing a new type of car. Again, attendees were required to perform an analysis of the various types of IP relevant to this process.
The second day was slightly more complex. Revolving around a single speaker, delegates were introduced to some of the finer details surrounding the valuation of IP by a business or individual, particularly in cases where the owner of the IP may wish to license usage of that property to another party. This involved fairly technical formulas and other mathematical tools. After some preliminary exercises in pairs around these processes, the delegates were separated into two teams for a negotiating exercise. The purpose of this was to reveal some of the difficulties both the licensor and the licensee face attempting to reach a deal satisfactory to both sides.
The third and final day consisted of a half-day talk exploring the many ways to search for IP in order to ascertain whether the property in question is available to be patented, trademarked or design-registered. Delegates were introduced to several different available packages and shown how to use them in the most effective and efficient manner. Around 12:30pm the presentation concluded and course attendees lunched together before going their separate ways.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable course that provided me with increased confidence to approach IP matters in the future. The first day was probably the most useful from a library-specific perspective. While much of this content was familiar to me from my background reading, I received greater clarity on the issues involved through having the topics patiently explained “live” by an expert. It was also helpful to be able to hear the kinds of questions other people asked around the topics. Similarly, the group exercises that were undertaken in-between several of the talks offered an opportunity to discuss with other delegates some of their own issues and approaches to IP.
This was particularly useful because the vast majority of other delegates were from very different backgrounds to myself – small business owners, Growth Accelerators, accountants, and representatives from organizations like United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI). It was very interesting discussing IP issues with people who work closely with, or are themselves from, business organizations – as these are likely to be the kinds of people utilizing the new IP Centre at the Leeds Central Library.
I left the course with a desire to learn more about Intellectual Property and the issues in the field.A certified qualification was offered to delegates on production of a 3,000 word report into the IP of an SME; while I declined this offer during the course (not feeling myself sufficiently qualified to undertake it), I have since re-thought this position and will investigate whether I can still register myself on the programme.
1 Grant, J et al., Patents, Registered Designs, Trade Marks and Copyright For Dummies (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2008).