"Should I Patent This?"
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Howell, Bryan
Institution: Brigham Young University, Utah, USA
Section: Social Aspects of Design Education
This paper addresses the recent legal and cultural evolutions within the United States Intellectual Property system and its impact on Industrial Design students. It reviews how the United States Congress has revised patent laws, diluting the rights of the inventor in favour of the inventor’s sponsor. It also explains cultural shifts in patent creation and ownership, with teams of interdisciplinary inventors employed by well-funded corporations at the core of the patent world. It then highlights how these changes do not favour student inventors and hinder their ability to protect their creative work. This paper also explores how recent patent language includes claims of “user experience” and “usability” which can benefit industrial designers. It highlights intellectual property issues that students encounter, namely, dealing with creative rights ownership and Intellectual Property education. Finally, it proposes how design students and universities could evolve their traditional positions regarding intellectual property and their education methods to align training with the new intellectual property realities in the United States.