KIPO: Developing The Future, Advancing Appropriate Technology Awareness For Sustainable Development

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From KIPO: Ongoing discussions for sustainable development remain prevalent among developing countries. Many of these economies are on the brink of becoming innovated, with plenty of room for growth and development within their borders. In today’s world of widespread information sharing, a solid understanding of the strategic processes for sustaining developing economies can serve as a launching point for far greater growth.

In Seoul, on July 2-3, Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) will host an APEC-KIPO Conference on Appropriate Technology Strategic IP Utilization for Sustainable Development, which will include two days of discussions and keynote presentations on various strategies for fostering economic growth among today’s developing nations.

Ever since its proposition, the aim of the conference has been to enhance APEC’s capacity for utilizing intellectual property (IP) strategies tailored towards developing economies, as well as to raise awareness on the importance of appropriate technology (AT) in APEC economies. The conference is rooted in the “IP-based knowledge sharing for sustainable development” initiative, which was endorsed at the36th IPEG meeting in January 2013 and proposed by KIPO.

AT Awareness

Appropriate technology makes the best use of locally available resources to ensure an adequate supply of the basic necessities of life: clean water, food, energy, etc. Through the use of patent-related information (especially information that pertains to published or expired patents) emerging economies can develop whatever affordable technology best aligns with their social, economic, and environmental circumstances, leading to an increase in overall living standards.

Specifically geared toward the developing world, appropriate technology improves quality of life without resorting to exorbitant costs, extensive labor, or environmental disruptions. These inventions are tailored to the unique aspects of the community/country for which they are intended.

In much of the world—and developing nations, in particular—awareness of AT is incredibly limited, even though its impact on the “unseen” world has been unprecedented in terms of positive outcomes. Examples of AT “success stories” include:

  • Q-Drum – a water container that can be easily transported by rolling
  • Lifestraw – a personal, low-cost water purification tool

Since 2012, KIPO has continued to act as a large contributor in spreading greater awareness for appropriate technology. Taking on a multitude of various projects, it has continued to expand their repertoire of achievements. Among these, a few notable contributions have been the development of an oil extractor in the Philippines, a bicycle powered water pump installed in Papua New Guinea, insulated materials of bamboo houses in Nepal, cooking stove in Guatemala, and the water purifier in Cambodia.

Strategic IP Utilization for Sustainable Development

Time and time again, one of the most highly emphasized talking points in past APEC meetings has been the need for sustainable and balanced economic growth. The project to be held in July corresponds with the priorities of APEC in that it aims to enhance economic growth in developing economies by utilizing IP information and raising greater awareness of IP strategies.

APEC economies—and developing member economies, in particular—will have the opportunity to learn useful strategies for producing appropriate technology through the utilization of IP information. Moreover, the conference hopes to foster an interest in sustainable development for member economies, as well as strengthen the technical capacity of developing communities.

Through discussion and shared experiences, the conference will help to disseminate information gained from case studies, thereby determining the best possible AT strategies. The primary objective is to increase global understanding and awareness of the importance of appropriate technology in developing communities, while also providing a forum for discussing methods for their implementation through the use of IP.

The Who & Where

The conference will be held at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on July 2-3, 2014, and invitations to all APEC member economies have already been sent. Attendees will include representatives from governmental organizations within the fields of trade, IP, and community development, along with NGOs, enterprises, and experts in AT commercialization and development.

Participants will include: Richard Kuhlmann, CEO of Q-Drum; Kifle Shenkoru, Director of WIPO; and Lyndon Frearson, general manager of the Center for Appropriate Technology. Wednesday and Thursday will be two information-packed days of talks on such topics as “IP Knowledge Sharing” and “International Trends in AT Development.” There will also be group and panel discussions on IP strategies for the promotion of appropriate technology, as well as for determining what kind of AT should be implemented in particular regions.

About the Organizers

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 “member economies,” which account for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, 55 percent of the world GDP, and 44 percent of world trade. Together, these APEC members aim to facilitate economic growth, cooperation, trade, and investment within the Asia-Pacific region. Unrestricted by treaty obligations, this intergovernmental organization holds discussions and achieves democratic solutions to economic problems.

Since its establishment in 1989, APEC has aimed to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community by promoting economic growth and prosperity. It has also worked to maintain a global environment conducive to efficient international exchanges of goods and services. Improved economic and technical cooperation among Asia-Pacific economies is seen to benefit the alliance as a whole.

APEC’s 21 member economies include: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) serves as the governmental authority over intellectual property in Korea. Its mission is to advance Korea as a fully developed country through the systematic legal administration of IP creation and utilization. By protecting domestic and international IP rights, as well as striving to commercialize patented technologies and disseminate patent-related information, KIPO has continued to enhance technological innovation since its establishment in 1948.


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