[We’re pleased to welcome Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury. Sarah recently published an article in Journal of Management Education entitled “Protecting Student Intellectual Property in the Entrepreneurial Classroom,” highlighting her interview with Jerome A. Katz of Saint Louis University.]
The interview I conducted with Jerry Katz looks into an important, but overlooked problem in entrepreneurial courses within universities – the ownership of student ideas. Who owns the intellectual property a student creates while enrolled in a course at university, using university resources? Jerry and I began talking about this dilemma at the Vancouver AOM meeting. I was puzzled as to why there has been no widespread discussion of this issue – in the literature, within universities, or in general?! It seems like everyone is scrambling for revenue streams for universities created from innovation and commercialisation, and in doing are so making sure the academics and the universities’ interests are protected. But it seems the students, and their families, interests have been forgotten in the process. We think this oversight, purposeful or otherwise, is quite worrisome. Professor Katz’s solution is to put the students’ interests at the heart of any university policy on commercialisation of intellectual property (which is only starting to happen now), and to create strong classroom norms around the protection of ideas.
The abstract for the paper:
While universities are intensely protective of revenue streams related to intellectual property interests for the institution and professors, the financial and legal interests of students in the entrepreneurial process have largely been overlooked. This lack of attention, both in universities and in the literature, is intriguing given the mushrooming growth in entrepreneurial education courses in almost every U.S. university. This article builds and reflects on an original article by Katz, Harshman, and Lund Dean where the authors advocate for establishing classroom norms for promoting and protecting student intellectual property. We present research, insights, and reflections from Professor Katz regarding the controversial ethical and legal issues related to student intellectual property in university settings and provide suggested resources for faculty traversing these issues.
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