IP protection

Cato Institute: Why Big Tech Likes Weak IP, by Jonathan Barnett

In his new book, Innovators, Firms, and Markets: The Organizational Logic of Intellectual Property, John Barnett draws on an intellectual toolbox consisting of economic theory, economic and legal history, and political economy, to show that significant reductions in the strength of patent protection are likely to have unwelcome consequences for innovation and competition policy. Counterintuitively, weakening patents can raise entry barriers and shelter incumbents by disadvantaging firms that are rich in ideas but poor in the capital and expertise required to convert ideas into commercially viable products and services. The result is an innovation ecosystem in which research and development and its commercialization tend to take place within integrated financing, production, and distribution environments that can only be feasibly maintained by a small handful of large firms. By contrast, robust IP protections enable innovation ecosystems that support a variety of more‐ and less‐​integrated structures for funding and extracting value from R&D investments.

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Enhancing Intellectual Property Management and Appropriation by Innovative SMEs

This one-pager by the Innovation Council explains the importance of sound IP management for SMEs, including complementary and hybrid strategies and recommendations for governments. To read more about innovative SMEs, click through the Innovation Council gallery for World IP Day 2021 here.

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Launch of New “Horizon IP Scan” Support Service for SMEs

The European Commission recently launched a service called the “Horizon Intellectual Property Scan.”  This tailored, first-line, free-of-charge IP support service is specifically designed to help European start-ups and other SMEs to efficiently manage—and derive value from—IP that they create in collaborative research and innovation efforts, especially those that are connected with EU-funded Horizon 2020/Europe projects.  Building on a vast network of experienced, local IP experts, covering all EU Member States and Horizon 2020/Europe associated countries, the Horizon IP Scan team provides individual, professional, jargon-free assessments of SMEs’ intangible assets.

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How to Safeguard AI Technology: Patents versus Trade Secrets

The article above describes a common difficulty of intellectual property (IP) claims for artificial intelligence (AI): patent claims for AI are often deemed to be no more than abstract ideas.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has established a number of specific categories of AI in order to distil its definition, but the overarching theme amongst these categories is that, if a human mind can accomplish a particular task, it is likely an abstract idea. Of course, AI is, by its nature, an attempt to replicate the human mind, albeit in perhaps a stylized or exaggerated fashion; thus, the difficulty of patenting this technology is readily apparent.

In addition to with patents, legal battles also remain with regard to trade secrets. Rather than engage in litigation to prove infringement, a company seeking to protect a trade secret must instead demonstrate that the secret was misappropriated and that it took reasonable measures to maintain confidentiality. The distinction between patents and trade secrets remains very important for companies: trade secret law undoubtedly offers protection where patents do not, and vice versa.

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Indonesia adopts blockchain to grow music industry IP

Irfan Aulia, who runs Massive Music Entertainment, wants to launch the Portamento project to help Indonesian musicians who have uploaded their works to the database to track and monitor downloads and usage of their music online, in order to calculate royalties due.

“By matching and commercializing the database, the metadata, we believe the Indonesian market for copyrights will increase over five to ten years,” says Irfan.  “Basically, we are creating our own big data which will be accessible to all users. This is actually the goldmine.”

Indonesia has around two million music works, of which only 300,000 are recorded. This missing intellectual property could play a key role in the development of the creative economy, says Hasan Kleib, Indonesia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

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Girl Scouts Intellectual Property Patch Program

The Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will host the second annual Intellectual Property (IP) Patch Program, in collaboration with the Girl Scouts of Colorado.  Junior Girl Scouts are invited to come learn about inventions and patents, and to receive their IP Patch.

The program includes support for the girls’ normal school curriculum, as well as structured activities for girls of all ages.  These activities are designed to increase awareness of, and interest in, the creation and protection of intellectual property (IP) across disciplines, and particularly as it relates to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Ideas Powered initiative: Believe in the power of ideas

Ideas Powered is an initiative by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to raise awareness of the value of IP and the importance of respecting it. Trademarks, designs, patents, and copyright, as well as geographical indications and other IP rights, help individuals and businesses develop and grow, and to share their ideas, creations, and products.

Part of Ideas Powered’s mission consists of explaining to young Europeans how to protect their creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, a practice which should be deeply rooted in any education fit for the 21st century.

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IP Matters in Europe

The key findings from the joint study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office are presented in this Innovation Council infographic. The six figures show at a glance why IP matters, underlining the important contribution of IPR-intensive industries to the prosperity and competitiveness of Europe. The full study is definitely worth a read: it provides a detailed and wide-ranging analysis of how industries that make intensive use of intellectual property rights (IPR) contribute to EU economies. It updates and extends the findings of a previous study released in 2016. The original study can be found here.

 

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Why intellectual property rights are a key, not a curse, for COVID-19 vaccines

The whole world is waiting for the distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 and should be distributed to all adults globally over the next 18 months. Calls are getting louder that intellectual property rights (IPR) should be suspended to allow unfettered vaccine manufacture will mean faster access for developing countries. The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave tacit support this week, warning of a “catastrophic moral failure” caused by unequal access to COVID vaccines. However, IP has played a vital role in every step of vaccine research, manufacturing and distribution. The Pfizer/BioNtech partnership behind the first vaccine to be authorised in the US would not have taken place without strong IP rights.

In a competitive market, no single company will monopolise COVID vaccines or succeed in “profiteering”. A zero IP world would be a backward step and discourage companies from making urgently needed refinements to existing vaccines to combat new COVID-19 variants.

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