Design, Knowledge Exchange and Intellectual Property

G. Follett, M. Marra (Lead / Corresponding author), S. Conran

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    The paper looks at the relationship between Design, Designers and IP
    (Intellectual Property). There is almost no use of IP within the design
    community. The preferred business model has always been first to market.
    This paper explores aspects of IP in relation to Design:
    • Is creating IP collaboratively with design as a core element, an
    effective model for Knowledge Exchange in business?
    • Is this a better strategy for design driven IP than first to market?
    • Can this deliver economic benefit and sustained development in
    Scottish businesses?
    • Should we adopt the Californian model of university research IP
    transfer to business?
    In addition there is a scale issue with design businesses, usually below 10
    employees, and many function as micro-businesses or lone traders. Even
    where there are huge corporates (such as Apple and Dyson) defending their
    IP through the courts has proven to be both expensive and something of a
    pyric victory. Where judgments are in support of the legal claim they have
    seldom in reality resulted in any behavioral change. This raises a whole
    series of issues:
    • How does a business engage with design to build IP?
    • Do small companies have the resources and knowledge to
    successfully challenge IP breaches?
    • How does a research project unpack these issues?
    • Can applying research build new models of engagement with design
    that gives value to IP at the start of a product journey?
    These questions are being posed, and answers sought, by Design in Action an
    Arts and Humanities Knowledge Exchange hub for the creative industries.
    This issue has been little explored with literature reviews revealing a dearth
    of papers in the area. The knowledge exchange hub looking specifically at IP
    for the creative industries has also found a lack of literature in the field.
    What little information is available in the public domain are reports of
    litigation; yet even these fail to indicate how and if these challenges can be
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalEuropean Journal of Contemporary Economics and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - May 2015


    • Intellectual Property
    • Knowledge Exchange
    • Design
    • SMEs


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