NIFK14020U  Intellectual Property Rights: Strategy and Management

Volume 2014/2015

How do firms ensure growth? How do new entrepreneurs secure that they benefit from their novel ideas? And how do scientists at universities ensure a transformation of scientific results into commercial business? One core element in answering these three questions is intellectual property rights (IPR). IPR is not only an important business opportunity for large multinational corporations but should also be considered by SMEs, entrepreneurs and scientists. Work with IPR  involve assessing risks, market structures, competitor positioning, and defining how to organize oneself in this landscape and deciding how to go forward and shape business by exchanging IP with other stakeholders in the market.

This course has two main agendas to ensure that students are well equipped in understanding IP:  IP strategizing and IP dealing. IP strategizing is about how to develop, map and implement an Intellectual property strategy (hereafter IP-strategy), essentially demonstrating how managers, entrepreneurs and scientists can support reaching their commercial goals with the use of IP rights (e.g. patents, designs, copyrights, trademarks) in combination with know-how and trade secrets – and showing how the business can grow by using the supporting instruments the IP regime offers. IP dealing is about how IP rights are exchanged between stakeholders, and the challenges, costs and benefits individuals or firms face. IP dealing can be conducted in a myriad of ways – where the more common approaches are in-, out- and cross-licensing, sales, open access, royalty agreements or by the use of IP brokers, each approach entails different considerations. In this course participants will therefore be taught and trained in the core elements of exchanging IP, not only how to identify potential beneficiary ways of dealing with IP but also by participating in fictitious IP negotiation cases to get as close to real life experience in IP negotiation as possible.

The course will take departure in IP strategy seen from a general perspective, however, focus will also turn on aspects which only pertains for firms belonging to selected industries. The industry specific elements will be based on students’ area of interest. For example for students with an interest in in agriculture, environment or natural resources cases and assignments will be within this area, whereas student with interest in life science and biotech will have assignments within their particular interest area. In addition, the course includes introduction to instruments (search engines) wherein IP rights can be identified and the students will be trained in navigating in IP-databases as sources for knowledge.

The instruments and search engines introduced during the course will also serve as tools for solving assignments continuously during the course. Assignments are topic specific; however, the students will have the opportunity to apply the assignment in the setting wanted. In this way, students with particular interests in a particular business, maybe even bringing an own business ideas to the table, will have the opportunity to scrutinize the IP situation of this particular industry, firm or innovation in detail.

In essence this course helps students to develop an applied approach to how scientists, entrepreneurs, and companies navigate in this complex business area, where strategy, innovation, intellectual property rights and know-how meet.

This course can be seen as an add-on for the students that has taken one of the more patent technical courses offered at KU.

Learning Outcome

After taking this course, students will understand how to approach IP challenges in various industries, they will know how to exchange IP and have insights on the practical issues to be handled when considering IP. Further to this they will be able to apply the knowledge learned in future positions in-house in Start-ups, SMEs and MNCs or if choosing an academic career. Among others, students will learn, when, how and what kind of IP rights that should be considered in the product development process, how to secure a corporate brand, how to fight counterfeit products worldwide and what to consider when transferring IPR between different types of stakeholders, such as universities and firms.

After completing the course student will be able to:
• Understand the fundamentals of IP rights, international challenges, national indicators and how IP rights are investment incentives
• Classify and distinguish between different types of IP (e.g. patents, trademarks, tradesecrets, copyrights, designs) and their usability in respect to types of business (e.g. the characteristics of a product, process, organizations)
• Identify and describe a IPR strategy, hereunder the elements belonging to patent strategy, trademark strategy, design strategy, copyright strategy, trade secret strategy and enforcement strategy
• Identify and describe IP archetypes and the causal implications for performance
• Identify and describe industry and firm specific factors influencing firms chosen IP approach
• List and describe types of dealing with IP and the causal implications for innovative activities (e.g. speed of innovation, open innovation) and firm performance

• Explain IP archetypes and typical dealings with IP using cases in their chosen field of study
• Apply and integrate models of IP strategizing to analyze identified targets (e.g. a firm, an industry, a start-up)
• Design, plan and execute relevant analyses for dealing with IP and preparing a negotiation

• Discuss theoretical approaches to IP strategy and IP organization and apply the theoretical perspectives learned during the course to suggest realistic ways of managing IP rights in different industries
• Have an understanding for how markets for IP is shaped
• Have an understanding for how bundling of IP, isomorphism, heritage of practices, market selection, as well as how resources drive similarities in IP strategies
• Discuss the role of IP strategy and IP dealing for a start-up, an innovative scientist, a SME, and a MNC
• Discuss the role of IP strategy and dealing with for IP rookies, IP strategists, IP dealers and IP strategic dealers.
• Have an understanding of the resources and processes needed to implement IP strategies and dealing with IP, thereby able to conduct an IP strategy for a given product in a given industry
• Have an understanding of IP contracting and negotiations, hereunder potential different outcomes of IP negotiation, thereby able to conduct a preparation for an IP negotiation

Alkærsig L., Beukel K., and Reichstein.T (forthcoming): “Rookies, Strategists and Dealers – How firms Manage IP Succesfully”

More literature will be announced at the beginning of the course

Ingen forudsætninger
The course aims at presenting participants to leading international research on IP strategizing and IP dealing, combined with real life examples, practice will also be ensured by the use of selected practitioners as co-teachers, role-plays and cases. It is the aim to combine teaching and practice in such a way that each theoretical insight will be combined with practical assignments the students will perform either as individuals or in groups. During the course we will also do company visits, some will be planned ahead while others will be planned as we go ahead. It is possible for participants to suggest firms that are of special interest for them, these firms can be the firms in which the students decide to work with as cases during the practical assignments of the course. The course is thereby designed to take participants own preferences into consideration, and as the teachers have a broad knowledge within IP originating different industries, it is expected that special interests from students can be met.

Furthermore, it is the hope that a wide range of students with heterogeneous educations will be enrolled in the course to offer insights from industries and perspectives the participants not normally takes part in. The course is a mixture of several approaches to learning, where students with preference for combining theory with practical insights when learning will be served best.

To enter the course no prior knowledge of business nor IPR is required, as we will start with the basics, but then move on to the more complex issues as we go along.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
The exam will start with a 5 min presentation from the student, presenting the students view on one their selected theoretical aspect learned during the course. Thereafter the examination will cover the theories learned on IP strategy and IP exchange as well as questions related to the student’s project report
Exam registration requirements
An approved written project report, made individually, is a prerequisite for access to the oral examination
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assesment

see course objectives

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Theory exercises
  • 24
  • Exercises
  • 24
  • Project work
  • 92
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 20
  • Total
  • 206