To our engaged faculty, students, inventors, entrepreneurs and partner organizations:
I hope to impart one last message for this eventful year. No one could have predicted what 2020 had in store for our world. The global pandemic has sent a shared sense of anxiety, grief and uncertainty rippling through homes and communities.
Colleges and universities were among the hardest hit—enrollment numbers took a dive while students, faculty and administrators navigated the sudden necessity of online learning. As an intellectual property education initiative, we grew more resolute that the future of IP education will depend on forward-looking institutions meeting the needs of students in the evolving knowledge economy.
In the spirit of invention and innovation, businesses and organizations of all kinds, entrepreneurs, independent creators and makers came together to develop first response solutions that have helped change the tide. We witnessed the 3D printing of PPE by makerspaces; increased inventions for sanitation, safety and wellness; tight-lipped pharmaceutical companies loosening their patents for the benefit of vaccine development. Even in the midst of unprecedented change, human ingenuity takes its place when we need it most.
The Michelson IP community grew in stride – this year we had the largest jump in enrollment for our free online course, welcoming more than 6,000 new learners across 42 languages, and saw over 40,000 new subscribers to our materials. Joining efforts with phenomenal partners such as the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), IPO Education Foundation, Lemelson-MIT and the National Academy of Inventors, we continued to advance our mission of empowering more students, educators, and budding inventors with IP education. We look forward to new initiatives in 2021, including the redevelopment of our IP textbook in collaboration with OpenStax.
This holiday season, we are reflecting on the recent untimely passing of our friend and colleague, David Kline. David was the principal author of our foundational textbook The Intangible Advantage, which launched the Michelson IP initiative and has remained at its very core. He was a Pulitzer Prize-nominated IP expert and brilliant writer, but I will remember him most for his deep passion to illuminate even the most complex subject matter for the benefit of students and entrepreneurs. His impact on our work, and on me, is beyond measure and it was an honor to work with him these past years. We send our deepest sympathy to his loved ones, especially his wife Sarah and their two children.
As we move forward with gratitude, let us remain committed to empowering ourselves and our communities through accessible education.
Dr. Gary K. Michelson
Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property