NPS Intellectual Property Report

What You’ll Find

This report exams the intellectual property (IP) practices used by the National Park Service (NPS), its partners, and other relevant parties and key recommendations to the agency for managing IP issues going forward.

Currently, the NPS does not have a comprehensive training program for topics relating to IP.  Most employees are expected to learn about the subject and associated practices “on the job”, which has increasingly become an issue due to the fact that tracking of IP is not consistent Servicewide. As a result, the NPS may not be aware of the full extent of its intellectual property holdings. This situation can lead to errors in its use, or alternatively, the misuse of NPS IP by others.

Additionally, it could potentially result in financial liabilities. In summary, the recommendations are to have a single point-of-contact for IP concerns, establish an IP policy, create appropriate Servicewide IP training, and establish an IP tracking system.

From the Introduction

For the purposes of this project, intellectual property follows the Cornell University Law School definition of the term. It is defined as: “any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by others. The ownership of intellectual property inherently creates a limited monopoly in the protected property.” IP can take many forms, including, but not limited to, photos, films, videos, processes, written works, and trade secrets.

The findings of this report indicate that the NPS needs to finalize internal policies and procedures regarding intellectual property before considering the details of a training program. Clearly defined policies and procedures must be in place first, since these will provide the framework for the development of new training and accountability.

Additional Resource Information

NPS Intellectual Property – A full report PDF attachment pertains to NPS Intellectual Property Learning Needs Assessment.

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