Slideshow: Extending Bio-manufacturing Networks in Africa and IP and Covid
This slideshow presents key messages from the recent Innovation Council – Bobab online discussion about extending bio-manufacturing networks in emerging regions, notably Africa. The discussion on February 8th featured Prof. Mark Schultz of the University of Akron School of Law, Anissa Boumlic of Merck Life Science, and Simon Agwale of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative. Click here for the video of the event, and click here to review a transcript of the event.
What You Need to Know About Seeking Patent Protection Overseas
There was a time when inventors did not have to worry about protecting intellectual property outside their country, largely because products were typically conceived, manufactured and purchased within a circumscribed territory. However, the rise of globalization has changed this. Now, a product produced in one corner of the globe can easily be sold and manufactured all over the world. This new economy presents challenges for patent applicants and/or inventors, one of them being how to ensure that an invention is protected in countries that have easy access to your product or process. The solution lies in filing a patent application in any market-target country — expanding your rights there and making it difficult for competitors to use your products or technology without due authorization.
Key IP considerations for smaller enterprises
The Innovation Council team wrote an article that was published in the June issue of WIPO Magazine. The article, by Phil Wadsworth, with Jennifer Brant and Peter Brown, highlights key IP considerations for smaller companies. In particular, the article highlights the importance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of patents, trade secrets, copyright protections, and trademarks, as well as design rights, and discusses how these protections can facilitate collaboration, successful commercialization, and other beneficial outcomes for small businesses.
Gender Profiles in UK Patenting: An analysis of female inventorship
This analysis by the UKIPO shows that, in the 1980s, women represented less than 4% of inventors on GB patent applications, but that this has steadily risen to over 8% in recent years. Although absolute numbers remain relatively low, the last 10 years have seen a 16% increase in the proportion of female inventors. The overall proportion of patents involving a female inventor (either working alone or as part of a team) has more than tripled, from 4% in 1980 to over 12% in 2015; at the same time, the last 10 years have seen the proportion of individual female inventors’ plateau at around 3.75%. The number of all-female teams has increased fivefold since 1980, but the absolute numbers are still very low, with only 0.33% of patents coming from all-female teams in 2015. Although historical analysis reveals ever-increasing levels of female patenting, the growth rate is slow and the absolute numbers are still very low. The world of patenting remains male-dominated, and, even in 2015, there is a clear gender disparity: 88% of all GB patent applications come from male individuals or all-male teams, and almost 96% teams that submit applications include at least one man.
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.
Updated ICC innovation principles
The Innovation Chamber of Commerce has published the latest edition of the ICC Innovation Principles, a guide to the policy frameworks that create and nurture robust innovation ecosystems. The principles are separated into four sections, which provide an overview of the policy framework that businesses of all sizes need to be familiar with in order to innovate. The principles focus on Innovation Ecosystems, in recognition of the complex and interconnected nature of innovative activity. A call is made for multistakeholder conversations in all policy forums that affect these ecosystems, allowing businesses to show the inner workings of innovation.