IP “Authorities” Meet To Discuss IP Infrastructure, Collaboration 19/09/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)The second global symposium of intellectual property authorities met last week at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva to discuss global IP infrastructure and collaboration between IP offices, particularly in ways that might bring greater benefit to small offices. The 16-17 September gathering was a technical meeting where members of intellectual property offices from around the world came to share experiences and learn from best practices. “We’re rapidly evolving towards a world in which infrastructure around that world will be developed by different offices and different countries but will be made available and shared by a central organisation” such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said at the close of the event. There is a “need to get used to a world where different offices have different specialties,” and in the end a global infrastructure that is “shared by all and owned by none,” Gurry said. WIPO’s role in this process is to shed some light on it in the hopes of making it more transparent. Gurry also emphasised the need for compatible and standardised common platforms. Among the many issues covered during the event were the opportunities and difficulties in digitising patent information, the launch of a new public-private partnership between WIPO and several IP databases, and different collaborative projects between IP offices around the world. Aspiring ASPI A new “access to specialised patent information,” or ASPI, project was launched on 17 September and intended to “facilitate national offices of developing countries, especially least developed countries, to have access to specialised databases,” Gurry said. The project is a portal that will allow users in target countries to access information from providers LexisNexis, Minesoft, ProQuest, Questel-Orbit, Thomson Reuters and Worldwide Intellectual Property Search (WIPS). Technological innovation has brought prosperity to some places but has “not been able to transform lives around the world equitably,” as there are over 1 billion facing the horror of deep poverty and hundreds of millions who are unemployed, said Dinesh Bhattarai, ambassador of Nepal in Geneva and the current speaker for the group of Least Developed Countries. The need to share technology is a critical part of the WIPO Development Agenda as well as the UN climate talks, he added, but still it “remains outside the frontiers of LDCs.” Only 1 percent of people in LDCs have access to the internet as compared to 11 percent in developing countries and 60 percent in developed ones, said Bhattarai. The immediate value of such a portal might be questionable in a context where so few people have access to the internet. The ASPI portal, available online here, will be shared for free in LDCs and for a modest price in developing countries. Digitisation, Other Issues There was much discussion about the provision of patent information around the world. “Patent information is fundamental to the system,” said Richard Flammer, principal director for patent information and European cooperation at the European Patent Office in Vienna. Disclosure is therefore a “basic feature” of the IP system, he said, adding, “You can only achieve good quality if you have good data.” Digitisation is one way to increase patent information accessibility. Andrew Michael, deputy director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, talked about “demystifying” the IP system through the creation of publicly searchable databases, allowing IP information to be used for research and development. He also said that digitisation had helped to reduce backlogs in processing patent and trademark applications. The IT system has democratised the IP system because it allowed for the engagement of all stakeholders in the process, said Michael. But, several speakers said, the transition can be expensive and risky and comes with a high up-front investment in equipment and resistance from those unused to using the new technology. Jane Collins, chief trademark counsel at Syngenta, said that from a business perspective what is needed is a “quicker, cheaper,” system to register new marks and “less red tape [with] more harmonisation of law and procedure.” Often the high cost of outside counsel needed to navigate the confusing system is more significant than official fees, she said. Other topics on the agenda included technical infrastructure to improve international collaboration on search and examination, ways collaboration might help small and medium-sized IP offices to efficiently and effectively search patent applications, language barriers in patent information search, and ways to facilitate local innovation by patent information. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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 Kaitlin Mara may be reached at email@example.com."IP “Authorities” Meet To Discuss IP Infrastructure, Collaboration" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.