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Challenges Ahead for the IP System

Issued: September 18 2016

AIPPI World Congress, Milan, ItalySince the AIPPI started, we have been working together to improve and enhance IP said Francis Gurry, Director General of the WIPO, noting that next year marks 120 years since the collaboration started.


  Speaking during the opening ceremony of the AIPPI World Congress in Milan, Gurry highlighted five challenges ahead that lie at the heart of IP today.


  The first challenge, which he identified both as a challenge and an opportunity, was due to the success of intellectual property. Last year there were 5.2 million trademarks applied for, 2.7 million patents, and 900,000 design applications, an the first challenge was “managing this demand, and managing it is such a way as to have a simple, cost effective IP system that delivers quality outcomes”


  The second challenge comes from serving the creative industry, he said. The creative industry generates enormous value, explained Gurry, but “we have a real challenge trying to identify exactly where the value resides in the value chains that arise out of the new business models for the production and distribution of music, film, literature, games and other creative content.” Is the copyright system really working as well as it could, he asked.


  Thirdly, Gurry identified the tension between globalisation and diversity, what he called “an inevitable and in many ways irreconcilable” challenge. IP is a major element of globalisation, he went on to explain, and it takes a certain amount of functional standardisation and cooperation to make this happen. “How do we reconcile global rules with local rules designed to foster diversity and creativity” he asked.


  The forth challenge is maintaining coherence in a multi-layered and multi-speed world. Parties pursue their agendas in whichever forum best suits them, and it is through the work of organisations such as the AIPPI that we can maintain this coherence, he said.


  Finally he noted the challenges of communication. It can be difficult to explain the value of IP to the general public, and that maybe the best way to communicate is by focusing on why we have IP. We need to be better at explaining how IP helps innovation, encourages employment, how it helps overcome social challenges, and how it benefits cultural entertainment, he explained.