EPO Completes First Part Of Its 2020 Scenario Project11/05/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.The European Patent Office (EPO) recently completed the first phase of a “scenario for the future” project that will analyse the future of the intellectual property system with a 2020 horizon and try to determine the implications for Europe in particular.While the scenario project itself was launched about a year ago, the EPO has now completed interviews with some 70 persons around the world with very different views on the IP system and its perspectives, says Konstantinos Karachalios, head of a key project subgroup. Karachalios said the exercise shows that the scenario project is not an internal EPO exercise.The EPO says that the interviews are part of the “exploration phase” and will soon be published. But certain issues appeared to be emerging, such as the challenge from China’s rapid development, “basic antagonisms” in policy arenas, such as efforts to harmonise the global patent system, negotiations over a World Intellectual Property Organization development agenda, and the push for protection of traditional knowledge and biodiversity.“It is not meant as a prediction. It may ultimately serve as a guide how to take decisions and act now, if you want to avoid something or to reach something else,” Karachalios told Intellectual Property Watch.He acknowledged the inherent difficulties of a patent organisation trying to step back and objectively assess the IP system and also being willing and able to change according to the findings. But Karachalios said that, “in our case, we may need to question in depth some basic assumptions and leading paradigms.”“Not every fish likes jumping out of the water,” he said. “But on the other hand, it was the amphibians that opened new space for life in earth’s early days. There is an interesting theory that they had to do so because they were losing the battle in the water, so they had to search for alternatives, So, sometimes it is the losers, not the winners, that kick off major change and evolution,” Karachalios said.There are some 40 “scenario builders” at the EPO who are involved in the project, divided into four groups that are exploring various “driving forces” within the IP system, he said.The first is focusing on society at large and its expectations, fears and attitudes towards the future IP system, Karachalios said, noting that civil society already is playing a leading role in forming the future IP system.The second group looks at technology and what Karachalios calls the “technology avalanche,” the rapid advance of new technologies, which he said puts a lot of stress on the patent system and will continue to do so.The third subject is the general economic environment, including the innovation process, Karachalios said. This subgroup examines questions such as: Whose interests is this system serving and where is the right balance? “There is an ongoing general discussion about knowledge as public good and knowledge as an exclusive private property right,” he says.And fourth, the geopolitics group, which Karachalios is heading. It looks at how geopolitics is playing into the agendas and “how a change within a major geopolitical player, let’s say the US, may influence the rest of the world,” he says. For each of these topics, the EPO is also planning on having workshops with external partners, he says.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"EPO Completes First Part Of Its 2020 Scenario Project" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.