Knowledge about IP management is becoming more and more important for the success of SMEs during the fourth industrial revolution, but many SMEs and startups still do not utilize it to its full extent. This is not only caused by a lack of resources, but in many cases by a lack of awareness about the opportunities that lie in IP or also the risks, which negligence of IP poses. At the same time, more and more topics are becoming important to the knowledge economy, which companies have to deal with in order to gain sustainable competitive advantages. In addition to digital technologies and their special features in relation to IP, this includes above all the issues of sustainability.

In order to meet these topics as up-to-date as possible and with high professional standards and at the same time with practical implementation relevance EPO and CEIPI collaborate in a co-labelled University Diploma tailored to the needs of SMEs to train students from SMEs along the job. The topics of all courses are chosen based on the relevance, which they have for SMEs to become and stay successful with IP.

The Diploma is a one-year course, where 8 modules have to be taken from 4 compulsory and 7 elective modules by each student. The modules are also available standalone as University Certificates. Here is the list of compulsory and elective modules:

Compulsory courses:

  • IP Strategy Development
  • IP Valuation (I)
  • Integrated IP and Innovation Management
  • IP in the Industry 4.0

Courses to choose from (4 among the 7 offered including at least 1 EPO module):

  • IP Valuation (II)
  • Quality in Operational IP Management
  • IP Portfolio Management and Controlling
  • Leadership in IP management
  • IP for SME and Startups (EPO)
  • IP in digital Technologies (EPO)
  • IP in corporate sustainability (EPO)

The content of the first eight modules can be seen here with lecture material examples: Diplôme Universitaire IP Business Administration (DU IPBA) – IP Business Academy

The content of the new modules will comprise:

IP for SME and Startups

This University Certificate is designed to teach a basic understanding of all types of IP and their use to make businesses more successful. Also, it discusses the unique perspectives of startups, technology transfer and SMEs regarding the utilization of IP, e.g. the role of IP in funding and investment. The content covers important SME-relevant topics such as the role of IP in financing, the acquisition of investments, and the use of IP in the commercialization and monetization of innovation. In addition:

Protecting their innovations: SMEs often rely on their innovative products, services or processes to differentiate themselves from competitors and stay ahead of the game. Protecting their intellectual property through patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets can help prevent others from copying or stealing their innovations.

Avoiding legal disputes: SMEs can face legal disputes, if they unknowingly infringe on someone else’s IP rights. Knowledge about IP can help SMEs understand their rights and obligations and avoid potential legal issues.

Enhancing business value: A well-protected IP portfolio can enhance the value of an SME, making it more attractive to investors or potential buyers.

Expanding into new markets: When SMEs expand into new markets, they may encounter different IP laws and regulations. Knowledge about IP can help SMEs navigate these laws and avoid costly mistakes.

Collaborating with others: SMEs may collaborate with other companies, universities, or research institutions to develop new products or technologies. Understanding IP can help SMEs negotiate favorable terms for licensing or sharing IP rights.

These are the ten parts of the University Certificate IP for SME and Startups:

  • Part 1:   IP Framework
  • Part 2:   IP Basics
  • Part 3:   IP Strategy
  • Part 4:   IP Based Exclusivity
  • Part 5:   IP in Funding and Investment
  • Part 6:   IP in Commercialization and monetization
  • Part 7:   IP as an Asset
  • Part 8:   IP Rights acquisition and enforcement
  • Part 9:   IP Risk Management
  • Part 10: The Startup Perspective

IP in digital technologies

This University Certificate explains the specific use of IP in digital use cases and business models. Therefore, it also shows concrete applications of IP in the various key enabling digital technologies, among others, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber physical systems and blockchain. Finally, also the working methods of digital product development are shown and ways how IP management can be integrated into the existing processes.

Understanding the role of IP in digital technologies can help innovators protect their innovations, avoid legal disputes, and collaborate effectively with others, ultimately driving innovation and growth in the digital economy. It is becoming increasingly important to know about the role of IP in digital technologies:

Rapid pace of technological change: Digital technologies are evolving at an unprecedented pace, creating new opportunities and challenges. IP can help protect the innovations that arise from this technological change and ensure that innovators are rewarded for their efforts.

Importance of data: Digital technologies rely on data, and the ownership and control of data can be a source of competitive advantage. IP can help protect data-related innovations, such as algorithms, databases, and software.

Cross-border nature of digital technologies: Digital technologies are not bound by physical borders and can be easily disseminated across the globe. IP can help protect digital innovations in different jurisdictions, ensuring that innovators can benefit from their creations regardless of where they are used.

Potential for infringement: Digital technologies can make it easy for others to copy or infringe on IP rights, leading to potential legal disputes. Understanding IP can help innovators identify and respond to infringement, ensuring that their rights are protected.

Opportunities for collaboration: Digital technologies also create opportunities for collaboration, such as open-source software development or joint research projects. Understanding IP can help innovators navigate these collaborations and ensure that their IP rights are respected.

These are the ten parts of the University Certificate IP in digital technologies:

  • Part 1:   Intellectual Property Rights in Europe
  • Part 2:   Data and Media
  • Part 3:   Robotics
  • Part 4:   Virtual, augmented and expanded reality
  • Part 5:   3D printing and additive manufacturing
  • Part 6:   Artificial intelligence
  • Part 7:   Cyber physical systems
  • Part 8:   Blockchain
  • Part 9:   Application Areas and Case Studies
  • Part 10: Digitalization Projects

IP in corporate sustainability

This University Certificate deals with aspects of IP management, which can be summarized under the abbreviation ESG. This stands for environmental, social and governance. Environmental factors consider the impact of the investment or business on the environment, such as energy use, carbon emissions, waste management, and natural resource depletion. Social factors consider the impact of the investment or business on people, including employee relations, human rights, community relations, and product safety. Governance factors consider the structure and management of the investment or business, including executive pay, shareholder rights, board composition, and transparency.

ESG criteria are increasingly being used by investors, companies, and other stakeholders to evaluate the long-term sustainability and social impact of investments and business decisions. This framework helps promote responsible investing and sustainable business practices that balance social, environmental, and economic considerations.

In this Certificate the key concepts of ESG standards are shown and ways how to create an IP management system compliant with them are discussed. The interaction of IP management with ESG requirements is multifaceted, here are some examples:

Environmental: An IP management system can help a company protect its environmentally-friendly innovations by obtaining patents, trademarks, or other IP rights for inventions that reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, or promote sustainability. This can help the company reduce its environmental impact and enhance its environmental reputation.

Social: An IP management system can help a company protect its socially responsible innovations, such as those that improve access to healthcare or education. By protecting these innovations through IP rights, a company can ensure that its innovations are not misappropriated or used for unintended purposes.

Governance: An IP management system can help a company manage its IP portfolio in a responsible and transparent manner. This can include ensuring that IP rights are properly assigned, monitored, and enforced, and that any disputes are resolved fairly and equitably. A strong IP management system can also help a company demonstrate its commitment to governance by ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

These are the ten parts of the University Certificate IP in corporate sustainability:

  • Part 1:   Introduction to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)
  • Part 2:   The Advantages of Sustainable Development for Businesses
  • Part 3:   Environmental Standards
  • Part 4:   Environmental Standards, Innovation and IP
  • Part 5:   Social Standards
  • Part 6:   Social Standards and IP
  • Part 7:   Governance Standards
  • Part 8:   Governance Standards, IP Compliance and Quality Standards for IP Management
  • Part 9:   ESG Principles in Investment and Conflict Resolution
  • Part 10: Implementation of ESG Standards


For more details and to register for the Diploma course, please use the registration platform on this page: University Diploma in IP Business Administration – CEIPI – Center for International Intellectual Property Studies – University of Strasbourg