The Battle

The Battle

Tuition continues to rise, student debt is growing, and schools are challenging student IP. It is a battle to save student futures…

Higher education has become a quintessential pursuit for the majority of students graduating secondary institutions. Over the last few years a volatile job market saturated with highly qualified applicants has caused a social evolution, a bachelor’s degree has replaced a high school diploma as the minimum education requirement to ensure a comfortable lifestyle.

Unfortunately, we have accepted this new social convention without sufficiently investigating its implications both fiscally and legally to students. Today, with an average tuition rate of approximately $19,000 annually (according the National Center for Education Statistics) students incur gross amounts of debt to attain a four-year degree and national student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion dollars.

Aside from the financial evolution, there is an evolution in the education process itself. With powerful technology so readily available to students it is commonplace for exceptional innovation to occur at the bachelor level of post-secondary school. With an increasing number of technology and business-savvy students the number of start-up companies, licensing deals, and patented innovations has been exceptionally high.

A critical part of innovation is the impartial evaluation of ownership. Historically, post-secondary institutions possess the legal right to pursue intellectual protection to any invention or innovation created by a faculty or staff member or any group consisting of faculty or staff members. This policy is commonplace in the corporate world and applies to all individuals who are on the payroll of the institution.

Where this policy fails to work efficiently is at the student level. Students possess very limited rights to inventions and innovations and often share incredibly high margins of legal ownership with their respective institutions. We, a student-conceived organization, are calling for a federal reformation that grants university students, whose projects are not directly funded by their respective institutions, a majority of intellectual property rights. This reformation would encourage innovation at the university level and provide a fair and socially progressive solution to the current problems perpetuated by outdated and/or nonexistent federal, state, and local initiatives. ipchart

Without these standards, students could find themselves in undesirable circumstances. Take these examples:

Read about the intellectual property issues facing Facebook and Netscape at their respective universities… (Read More)

Read about a University of Missouri student who developed an iPhone app and later approached by the university demanding royalties… (Read More)

Everyday unfair IP policies at colleges and universities across America allow schools to claim ownership of their student’s IP, hindering a student’s ability to capitalize on opportunities while attending college, encouraging students to drop out or wait until graduation. This is not only debilitating for students, but in the ultra competitive global market, lost opportunities can hurt the U.S. economy.

With students risking their futures every day by incurring thousands of dollars in student loan debt, we believe the duty of institutions to maximize the value of a U.S. college education is as paramount as ever.

Our team is a nationwide group of students and business partners with front-line experience dealing with student IP rights and regulations. The collaborative network we have has already reached political affiliates in Washington DC. We hope to solidify connections and assure a change in legislature. This will be a delicate process. Your support will show the nation that a shock wave of innovation is upon us!

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