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CIPU Report: Consumers are Vaguely Aware that Intellectual Property is Important but not Why

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Many consumers and some businesses abuse IP rights because they lack basic IP education and are unaware of the impact

With IP posed to make a bigger impact on the global economy in the 21st century there is much work to be done to raise awareness about the implications of IP on commerce, culture and individual lives”
— IP Awareness and Attitudes: A Summary of Research & Data
NEW YORK, NY, USA, April 3, 2019 / -- A summary of research and surveys focusing on IP awareness and attitudes conducted over the past decade in the U.S., Europe and Asia reveals a growing disconnect between consumers intellectual property awareness and behavior.

Perception of the role of IP rights by various audiences and businesses differs markedly from how they are in fact used, with use of counterfeits, illegal copying and patent infringement growing despite a vague awareness that IP rights are “good”.

The report, IP Awareness and Attitudes: A Summary of Research and Data, compiled by the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding, an independent non-profit, found that “by and large the public is misinformed (or, at best, under-informed) about intellectual property, leading to higher levels of infringement as well as reduced use and value of IP.”

“With IP posed to make and even bigger impact on the global economy in the 21st century,” the report states, “there is much work to be done to raise awareness about the practical implications of IP on commerce, culture and individual lives.”

The report concludes that both education level and age have a pronounced effect on an individual’s understanding of intellectual property. It suggests that if programs can be designed to effectively reach young people about IP basics, including children, those same educational resources can improve IP understanding among adults, including consumers and employees.

Other key findings in summarized in the report:

- 31% of those who purchased counterfeits said that it was acceptable to do so if no legal alternative was available
- Despite consumers' understanding of the importance of IP and that counterfeit purchases are unethical
and pose a threat to businesses, many felt it more convenient to purchase them
- Most people cannot accurately describe IP or IP crimes; they believed that if IP theft was a serious problem
“they would see more news stories on the subject.”
- A South Korean study found that while 96% of respondents believed that counterfeit branded trademarked goods
were a problem, 41% admitted to purchasing them
- There appears to be a greater understanding of copyright than patents, which may make it more effective to “bundle” the discussion of patents with content and counterfeits
- There is a common perception that IP rights only benefit large corporations. It reflects a very low awareness of the fact that IP protections are often most beneficial to small and medium sized enterprises and individuals
- 76% of the teaching staff surveyed in a UK study believed that IP should be taught; 69% of the students said they had received no IP education or did not know if they had

Go here to access the report, IP Awareness and Attitudes: A Summary of Research and Data.

About the Center for IP Understanding

The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of intellectual property and its impact on people’s lives. The Center holds events, provides outreach, partners with other organizations and businesses, and provides an education framework for IP to facilitate ideas, promote competition, create jobs and deter theft. For more information visit

Bruce Berman
Center for IP Understanding
+1 212-508-9664
email us here

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