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New Michelson HBCU Initiative Promotes Equitable Access to Intellectual Property Education

Sep 15, 2021 | Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property


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The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson IP) is partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to bring intellectual property (IP) education to a new generation of creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. The ‘HBCU IP Futures Collaborative’ will connect leading faculty at HBCUs to foster best practices for teaching IP to non-law students. In support of this program, Michelson IP is providing digital curricula, resources, and $25,000 grants to participating institutions.

Intellectual property is fundamental to today’s economy, where an organization’s most valuable assets include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Yet multiple studies, as well as research from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), document overwhelming, systemic barriers facing underrepresented inventors. Despite a rise in IP developed at HBCUs since 2010, as a collective they have yet to fully harness their IP generating potential. 

The HBCU IP Futures Collaborative aims to help students and institutions derive more value from their intellectual assets and innovation. The initiative establishes an educator community of practice that will be equipped to share the importance of IP rights and strategy across disciplines including business, entrepreneurship, STEM, and creative fields.

The inaugural program includes Bethune Cookman UniversityHampton UniversityMorehouse CollegeNorfolk State UniversitySouth Carolina State UniversityTuskegee University, and Xavier University of LouisianaNicole Morris, J.D., a professor at Emory University School of Law, has joined as principal advisor.

“We’re excited to take part in this timely collaboration that will increase student interest in innovation,” said Mark L. Quinn, MBA, Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship at Xavier. “My colleagues work with students looking for information on how IP affects them, and this initiative responds to their needs.”

“Our nation’s HBCUs are a wellspring of creativity and ingenuity,” said Gary K. Michelson, M.D., founder and co-chair of the Michelson 20MM Foundation. “The Collaborative will further uplift these students in identifying and securing their valuable IP for the benefit of generations to come.”

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property provides no cost IP educational resources to empower budding inventors and entrepreneurs. Michelson IP is an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, which focuses on a range of issues, including digital equity, smart justice, and open educational resources.