“Fourteen percent of respondents were either neutral or disagreed with the premise that IP infringement hurts people.”
CIPUToday, the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) released the results of a survey on viewpoints within the intellectual property (IP) community about acceptable behaviors surrounding IP rights, as well as guiding IP principles for business and consumers. Responses from inventors, attorneys and consultants across the IP sector revealed a significant disparity in beliefs on how IP protections impact sharing and the effects of IP infringement, though most agreed that IP has positive economic impacts in general.
Survey Respondents Average More than 20 Years in IP-Related Profession
While most respondents agreed with the premise that an invention or expressive work can have economic value, there was greater doubt as to whether current forms of IP protections created value for society as a whole. While 97% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed about the value of inventions or expressive works, only 73% of respondents strongly agreed that copyrights have a positive impact on creative expression. Further, only 71% of respondents strongly agreed that patents had a positive impact on innovation.
Views among members of the IP community were more fractured on topics related to IP infringement. Fourteen percent of respondents were either neutral or disagreed with the premise that IP infringement hurts people. Only 56% of respondents strongly agreed that IP infringement has been linked to criminal activity and unfair competition. The greatest amount of disagreement was spurred by statements that IP is property just like real property (14%) and that IP protections encourage sharing (16%).
The cross-section of the IP community responding to the CIPU survey reflects a range of experience levels within the field. Nearly half of respondents have spent 20 or more years within the industry and the average career span was 20.8 years. Twenty-two percent of survey respondents had less than 10 years of experience within the industry. According to CIPU, the longest length of tenure was enjoyed by IP consultants, who averaged 23.9 years in their line of work, and the shortest average tenure was 18.4 years for corporate employees. Exactly half of all survey respondents self-classified as experts within the IP field, and another 41% said that they possessed a high level of IP knowledge.
The patent community was best represented among respondents to CIPU’s survey. Eighty-five percent of respondents indicated that they create, manage or are otherwise associated with patents. By comparison, 65% of respondents indicated that they are associated with trademarks, and 61% said they were associated with copyright. Nearly half of the survey’s respondents are associated with some aspect of trade secrets, the only other form of IP discussed by the survey.
Most Who Disagreed with Principles are Novices in the IP Field
CIPU’s survey also contains an evaluation of IP principles espoused by the organization and made public at IPBasics.org. According to those principles, inventions or works of creative expression have value as property, IP protections establish rules of ownership that empower creators to share, infringement of IP rights is harmful to businesses and society, and consumers and businesses should be responsible for practicing good behaviors with regard to IP.
Most respondents found these principles clear and easy to understand, found them useful to the broader audience and had no suggested changes. Of those who found that the principles weren’t personally relevant, 60% were novices in the IP field and another 15% were not IP professionals.