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FAU, NAI Offer Students Intellectual Property Certificate

Intellectual Property, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights


Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and the National Academy of Inventors® (NAI) have announced the expansion of an intellectual property certificate for all undergraduate and graduate engineering students at FAU. The certificate program was launched this spring for senior engineering students at FAU, and to date, more than 700 have graduated with the certificate.

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind such as scientific inventions and creative works, with rights awarded to the inventor or author via patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Beginning this fall, the intellectual property certificate program was integrated into the freshman curriculum as well as the graduate curriculum in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Approximately 470 undergraduate and 180 graduate students at FAU enrolled in the program in the fall. The intellectual property certificate was developed by the NAI and adapted by the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Through this certificate program, students will gain a broad understanding of intellectual property, and is expected to spur innovation and entrepreneurship at FAU.

“There is nothing more powerful or valuable than a great idea coming to fruition,” said Hari Kalva, Ph.D., chair and a professor in FAU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who was elected to the rank of NAI Fellow last year. “However, intellectual property is often not well understood or appreciated. This innovative approach to integrate the National Academy of Inventors’ certificate program in our curriculum will foster intellectual property literacy among our students, which is critical to their profession.”

Kalva is a named inventor on more than 25 standard essential patents used in virtually all video distribution and streaming products and services.

The NAI partnered with the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson 20MM Foundation) on this new opportunity for aspiring inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. The intellectual property course was developed by the Michelson Institute and teaches critical knowledge about America’s intellectual property system and how it works. By completing the course, FAU engineering students will acquire a foundation for a successful career in the most quintessential American tradition – innovation.

“We are excited to join forces with FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to provide this critical intellectual property certificate program to all of their students to help take their creative minds to the next level of innovation,” said Jamie Renee, executive director of the NAI. “Intellectual property protection is imperative in the field of engineering and to prepare graduates as they design and develop products to solve real-world problems.” 

Students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science can take the course online at their own pace, which consists of 12 video modules and 38 lessons, each with a refresher quiz.

“Intellectual property is a key asset in many organizations today and employees who understand intellectual property are invaluable to companies and many other institutions,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean, FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Undergraduate students are not usually offered courses on intellectual property to any great depth, with the exception of those who study law. This innovative certificate program offered by the National Academy of Inventors will provide our students with the tools they need to be successful engineers and inventors for decades to come.” 

After completing the course, FAU students take a final exam. Upon successful completion, they receive an “Innovation Development Certificate” from the NAI.

“To be successful in their careers, engineering students need to hone their intellectual property skills and realize the incredible potential of their ideas and inventions,” said Paul R. Sanberg, FNAI, Ph.D., president and founder of the NAI, whose distinguished career has been instrumental in translating new pharmaceutical and cellular therapeutics to clinical trials and commercialization for Tourette syndrome, stroke, ALS, and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. “Ideas are like property and need to be protected. Students at Florida Atlantic University who participate in the certificate program will learn about their rights as inventors and how to manage and ultimately monetize their work.”

The NAI is a member organization comprising universities from the United States and internationally as well as governmental and nonprofit research institutes, with more than 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. Founded in 2010, the academy recognizes and encourages inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhances the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourages the disclosure of intellectual property, educates and mentors innovative students, and translates the inventions of its members to benefit society.

“The College of Engineering and Computer Science’s leadership and experience delivering this new  curriculum will help us expand intellectual property education to the broader student body at FAU,” said Dana Vouglitois, associate director of technology development within FAU’s Division of Research. “Great partnerships with organizations like NAI help to make FAU’s goal of becoming a leading university for innovation and entrepreneurship a reality.”

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