OHIM: IP and Education Report, September 2015

The economic importance of intellectual property is gaining recognition and attention. One example is the 2013 study on the contribution to economic performance and employment of IPR-intensive industries, carried out jointly by OHIM, through the Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and the European Patent Office (EPO). IFRRO reported about the study here.

Another is the recent survey, carried out on behalf of OHIM, on the perception of European citizens with respect to intellectual property, which shows that a growing number of EU citizens are prepared to justify infringements of IP rights under certain circumstances. Inter alia, between 35% and 50% of young Europeans reflect attitudes which favour counterfeiting or illegal downloading. Intellectual property education in school curricula could be one way to tackle this issue.

The study suggests that the best approach to intellectual property education is to ensure that intellectual property skills and competences are competences that can be used across different subjects in a curriculum. It also provides examples from the EU and elsewhere, from which suitable models could be adapted for the educational systems in the 28 Member States. Interestingly, the study notes that the most innovative non-EU countries/regions already teach IP at the primary level and place IP more commonly as a part of citizenship education, whereas in the EU, IP is addressed in more specialised ICT-related subjects and is being taught much later in the educational cycle.

In this vein, the Office is prepared to set up a specialised network of education experts and stakeholders to help them coordinate and develop appropriate, modern resources and programmes for pupils and teachers.

The complete study, published in September 2015, is available here.