Technology and Knowledge Diffusion

Trade secrets and the Internet of Things (IOT)

Innovation Council’s Phil Wadsworth has produced an overview of trade secrets and the Internet of Things (IOT). Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property (IP). In order to understand the relevance of trade secret protection to IOT devices, it is helpful to explore the underlying technologies associated with those devices. This will help the reader to appreciate both the benefits and limitations of trade secret protection.

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UN: Covid-19 Summit: Sharing Knowledge, Technology Critical to Curb Virus

Leaders at a virtual Covid-19 summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2021, pledged to mobilize millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines and billions of dollars to “build back better”. Following the summit, the US and European Commission made public a statement to launch a “taskforce” on Covid-19 manufacturing and supply chains, which includes a commitment to coordinate initiatives to boost global production of vaccines and therapeutics.

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South Korea launches task force on vaccine and lays out new approach to trade

With the launch of a task force on vaccine production South Korea aims to become the world’s fifth-largest vaccine-producing nation in the next four years. President Moon Jae-in said South Korea aims to become the world’s fifth-largest vaccine-producing nation in the next four years. Moon has pledged to designate vaccine development as one of the nation’s three strategic technology areas, along with those of semiconductors and batteries, and invest 2.2 trillion won (US$1.92 billion) in the next five years (read the full story here).

Furthermore, according to Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo, South Korea will present a new concept for trade in five important sectors, including pharmaceuticals. Korea will provide the necessary support to companies producing vaccines to enter the global vaccine supply and establish bases in countries where major vaccine producers are located. The country will seek to reduce tariffs on vaccines through partnership with World Trade Organisation member countries (read the full story here).

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Trade secrecy and COVID-19

In this working paper, Innovation Council’s Mark Schultz and his colleagues analyse how trade secrets and other IPRs underpin innovation and manufacturing of Covid-19 Vaccines. They document that innovators already are sharing secrets and know-how widely with dozens of partners across the world to produce vaccine and therapeutic doses as quickly as possible. In several instances, they are working closely with their biggest competitors, thanks to the security provided by trade secrecy and other IP laws.

The authors conclude that forcing the disclosure of trade secrets would get in the way of manufacturing badly needed doses of Covid-19 vaccines by undermining voluntary arrangements and diverting resources from where they are needed most.

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Why trade secrets matter: Covid vaccine manufacturing scale-up and the WTO’s proposed IP waiver

Geneva Network is organising a discussion on the role of trade secrets in Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing. A panel of global experts, including Innovation Council’s own Mark Schultz, will shed light on how this important intellectual property right works, how it relates to vaccine manufacturing, and the implications of the IP waiver currently under discussion at the WTO.

The webinar will take place on September 14, 2021: 13.00 – 14.00 GMT.

Read the full story and register here.

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Biotechnology applications poised for multi-sector growth across APAC

Biotechnology has fundamental applications across multiple sectors that are critical to the growth of economies around the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The key factors driving this growth include favourable government initiatives, plummeting sequencing prices, growing market demand for synthetic biology, and increasing R&D investments by the public and private sectors. Asia Pacific’s biotech market is expected to expand even faster in the future, with a CAGR of 16.8% from now until 2028. This speed can be attributed to improvements in healthcare infrastructure, supportive government policies, clinical trial services, and epidemiological factors.

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Trade Secrets: A Primer

 Trade secrets are an important component of the intellectual property (IP) system. In addition to their important role protecting business’ confidential information, they are an effective complement to patent protection. They can be used in areas where patents are not appropriate tools for protecting knowledge. Depending on the context, they can also be more cost-effective and practical to use than registered IP rights, especially patents. As such, trade secrets are a particularly useful tool for businesses with limited resources, such as small companies and firms in developing countries. In its latest paper, the Innovation Council answers the most important questions about trade secrets in a nutshell.

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‘Landmark initiative’: Ramaphosa, Macron announce new SA-based Covid-19 vaccine hub

President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France would invest in boosting the production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, in order to help close the gap in vaccine availability between African and Western nations. South African Innovation Council member Biovac, which has a partnership with France, has partnered with African Biologics and Vaccines (a network of universities) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to establish Africa’s first Covid messenger RNA vaccine technology transfer hub.

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Ten Ways IP Has Enabled Innovations That Have Helped Sustain the World Through the Pandemic

Jaci McDole and Stephen Ezell explain how intellectual property has played an indispensable role in facilitating the development of a range of inventive products, including some that have helped address the healthcare, work, and social challenges brought on by the pandemic. IP is just as important for start-ups as it is for established R&D-intensive industries, because it generates capital and revenue, enabling companies large and small to invest in researching, developing, manufacturing, and marketing their products. Voluntary licensing agreements enabled by IP have allowed the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to be scaled up globally.

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