Intellectual property and ethics

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Learning Outcomes

Students should gain familiarity with the following elements of business information literacy and specific information resources.

Information Literacy:

  • Discuss issues of business ethics
  • Understand the concepts of intellectual property; specifically copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.

Resources:

[Merck Code of Conduct]

[Eli Lilly Redbook]

[Non-disclosure Agreement]

[United States Patent & Trademark Office]

[Top 5 Intellectual Property Disputes]

Premise

Students are grouped in teams of 4-6 students. They are representing a discussion group of company employees. First they will be presented with a selection of excerpts from several articles discussing business ethics. They will then be posed with a discussion question regarding reporting unethical behavior. The question will be debriefed before moving on to the 2nd case.

The same groups will then be presented with the intellectual property case. They will review Part A and discuss the questions followed by a short debrief. Then they will read Part B and discuss the questions; as well as making private individual guesses about what products and companies are involved in the case. Another short debrief will take place.

Preliminary Discussion

An important facet of business information literacy is the understanding of intellectual property issues. Intellectual property issues surround specific items like non-disclosure agreements, copyright, trademarks, and patents. Discussing intellectual property impacts what students may have to deal with once they are out in the workplace to determine who exactly owns their work product.

See the attached script for more information regarding the preliminary discussion.

First Resource

First, use these two examples of corporate codes of conduct to highlight the rules and expectations in the workplace. These can include accepting gifts from clients, intellectual property ownership, and many other items.

[Merck Code of Conduct]

[Eli Lilly Redbook]


Second Resource

The second resource to consider is the non-disclosure agreement to display the binding agreement an employee makes when hired by a company. Something that students should definitely read the fine print on.

[Non-disclosure Agreement]


Third Resource

Then discuss the issues surrounding patents and trademarks.

[United States Patent & Trademark Office]

Again, see the attached script file for more information.

Wrap Up

The final wrap-up involves telling the story of how Mattel stole the Bild-Lilli doll to make Barbie. Barbie becomes a huge toy which is then threatened when Bratz are created by a former employee of Mattel. Keeping the actual companies and product hidden until the very end makes for a fun reveal in the classroom.

See the script for more detail.


Images Link 1

Images Link 2

Images Link 3

Images Link 4


File:CaseStudy-ethics-instructorscript.pdf

File:CaseStudy-ethics-excerptedreadings-Handout1.pdf

File:CaseStudy-Dolls-Handout2.pdf

File:CaseStudy-Dolls-Debrief.pdf


Supplemental Article 1

Supplemental Article 2

Submitted By

Assoc. Prof. Hal P. Kirkwood

Business Information Specialist

Purdue University

kirkwood@purdue.edu

http://www.lib.purdue.edu/parrish

Originally Submitted: February 17, 2017