At WIPO, Global Experts Share Experiences On Open Collaboration 29/01/2014 by Julia Fraser for Intellectual Property Watch 1 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 recent World Intellectual Property Organization Conference on Open Innovation: Collaborative Projects and the Future of Knowledge showed the potential of open collaborative innovation in confronting some of today’s greatest challenges. This model of innovation is used in industries ranging from health research and solutions to climate change to film production and museum design. The conference took place at the WIPO headquarters from 22-23 January. It forms part of the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda, Recommendation 36, which states: “to exchange experiences on open collaborative projects such as the Human Genome Projects and intellectual property models.” It drew on the experiences of 15 global experts, from different industries including the film industry, to identify key best practices, issues and tools of implementation for launching open collaboration. Ali Jazairy, senior counsellor from the WIPO Innovation and Technology Sector, told Intellectual Property Watch: “This was a first in the history of WIPO” to have a conference with film and innovation. Jazairy helped organise the event. The conference was divided into six sessions which are listed in the agenda [pdf]. WIPO Deputy Director General James Pooley opened the conference by stressing that IP is both “consistent with and enabling” of open and collaborative innovation. Examples he gave included: open source software and open networks; such decisions as to how to grant rights on products arising from collaborative innovation; and the issues of trust and secrecy in open networks of innovation. “Trust, accountability and transparency are both benefits and a challenge of collaboration,” he said, and systems must be in place to enforce the promotion of innovation and dissemination of knowledge. In his opening remarks, Jazairy said, “the flow of technology and knowledge at a global scale” is “critical” in the context of “shifting technological landscapes”, “evolving consumer needs” and “shortening of the product life cycle.” A faster rate of innovation within such context can be achieved through “radical innovation springing from openness, connectivity, flexibility and adaptability.” Jazairy gave examples of traditional models of collaborative innovation such as through licensing, subcontracting, joint ventures and patent pools, as well as new methods such as internet-enabled models, crowd-sourcing, ideas competitions and open source software. He said he hopes that developing countries that have experienced “spectacular” information and communications technology development will be able to play an active role in these open collaborative projects. The conclusions of the conference will be put forward at the next session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property in November 2014. Jazairy said it was “gratifying to see expressed the virtually unanimous view that open innovation is not only consistent with intellectual property, but that most forms of open innovation depend on robust IP regimes.” The WIPO secretariat highlighted some suggestions made during the event for future work at WIPO. These included: – “To make maximum use of WIPO’s expertise on future projects of open innovation – To reflect on how to make open collaborative models accessible and affordable. – To reflect on new funding mechanisms for open innovation – To better account for the ‘people component’ of innovation in IPR systems, and – To develop a comparative study on licensing regimes such as in open data platforms.” Examples of Open and Collaborative Projects Richard Wilder, associate general counsel at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that collaborative innovation is “critical” to the work of the foundation. The Collaboration for Aids Vaccine Development project, for example, benefits from contributions from 103 institutions and 600 members across 16 countries. A collaborative model has helped overcome some previous barriers to innovation in this area such as rapid data sharing and cross licensing. The work is broken down into “smaller pieces of the puzzle,” with each actor working on a different aspect, said Wilder. “IP rights must be managed to allow information to be broadly and publically accessible,” such as through broad licensing without formalities or payment of royalties, he said. However, in other projects, IP plays a key role in ensuring “clarity” as to the rights over technology resulting from open innovation, he said. Samir Brachmachari, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in India, used his experience with the Open Source Drug Discovery project launched to “hasten the drug discovery process.” This project uses new communication channels such as Facebook and Google chat, in providing global open source platforms where “the best minds can collaborate and collectively contribute” to solve complex problems. The programme has contributions from over 7900 participants and 75 institutions communicating from 130 countries. In collaborative projects all contributions are recognised, and patents ensure quality, the availability of subsequent innovations in open source, and affordability through non-exclusive licenses. “IP is an instrument,” he said. “How you use that instrument is a question – and open innovation is one way of using the instrument.” Tim Hubbard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute also spoke about the impossibility of one organisation having a monopoly over some current day complex problems such as decoding of the human genome. Open collaboration in the Human Genome Project allows “many eyes” to look over the same data from different perspectives in parallel and as non-rivals. Hubbard discussed IP in the context of data sharing policy and data tracking, as well as ensuring contributions are accredited to the right people. Hubbard highlighted the privacy issues that arise from open collaborative projects that share openly personal information such as genetic information. A panel discussion summarised other recommendations for WIPO, including to convene and bring together econometric and policy insights into open innovation, and implement and test new models of innovation based on affordability and de-linkage of price from research and development. Other speakers included Jean Philbert Nsengimana from the Ministry of Youth and ICTs in Rwanda. He gave an example of the role of ICTs as an “accelerator” of innovation and “transformer” of societies and economies, and the ability of anyone to be part of a “global discussion and innovative drive.” Tom Bombelles, the head of Global Health at WIPO, also shared information on the WIPO project Re:Search. This provides “a searchable, public database of available intellectual property assets and resources” to help forge new partnerships between organisations that carry out research on treatments of neglected tropical diseases. Speakers from the film industry discussed examples of the use of online channels of communication to find specific experts needed in film-making, channels of distribution and use of crowd funding. “Every film is a collaboration from the day it begins” said British producer Chris Auty. Jazairy concluded that WIPO should reinforce the IP framework in filmmaking and “enforce net neutrality and the indiscriminate distribution of content for all” as well as play a potential mediating role in established the IP rights of multiple stakeholders in film. Julia Fraser is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch. She is currently training to be a solicitor and will start work at an international law firm in London in 2015. She has a BSc Honours in Biology from Edinburgh University where she developed an interest in public health related intellectual property issues. 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 Julia Fraser may be reached at email@example.com."At WIPO, Global Experts Share Experiences On Open Collaboration" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.