Spotlight: The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding

When did your organization launch and why?

The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding launched in 2016 to address the growing lack of awareness and misinformation surrounding intellectual property (IP) rights, like copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

CIPU is an independent nonprofit that raises awareness about creations of the mind and their impact on people and business. CIPU provides outreach within an educational framework to improve IP literacy, promote freedom of ideas, and deter theft. It holds events, provides materials, and facilitates discussion.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

CIPU supports a variety of audiences with clear, accurate, and positive IP content and messaging. We draw upon resources and materials from a range of IP organizations, as well as educators, professionals, and thought-leaders. We partner with more than a dozen leading organizations and businesses. CIPU does not lobby or promote a particular IP perspective or agenda.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

CIPU recently held the third IP Awareness Summit (IPAS 2020) in conjunction with the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Speakers and attendees included those from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Previous IPAS events were held in New York at Columbia University and Chicago. CIPU also provides summary reports of important research (e.g. IP and education in leading nations). We are in the process of launching IP Awareness Basics Central (IPABC), a portal for easy-access to interesting and accurate information about IP suitable for most students.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

IP literacy is a direct outgrowth of digital and media literacy. In order to make informed decisions about counterfeits, content like news and music, and the handling of inventions and new ideas by business and policymakers, audiences today must have a basic understanding of intellectual property rights — what they are, how they work, and their impact on jobs and society.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

Media literacy creates a conducive environment for intellectual property understanding. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds today need knowledge and context to differentiate between facts and promotion. They need to make informed decisions about what affects them, their family and society.

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

CIPU’s board of directors is comprised of current and former executives at Microsoft, IBM, Philips and Motorola, as well as educators at leading universities. We also have committees that educators and others can join. We place a high emphasis on accuracy, education, and partnership.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.

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