You may have already received notification about this but, just in case, this year’s Francis Gurry lecture will involve a “conversation” with Dr Gurry himself.
Following his recent retirement as Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation – or WIPO to you and me, Dr Gurry “will reflect on his 35 years of work within the United Nation’s multilateral system – and what the future holds for IP.”
The talk will be streamed online on 25 November 2020 – 6:00pm AEST. Times in other jurisdictions and registration here. Registration is free.
The Global Innovation Index attempts to assess the innovation performance of some 127 countries across a wide range of factors, made up of some 81 “pillars”.
Australia comes in at #23, down 4 places from last year. While it scored quite strongly on innovation inputs, coming in at #12, its ranking for innovation outputs – what innovations it produces – came in at only #30. And, in terms of innovation efficiency – the ratio of the innovation output score over the innovation input score, coming in at #76.
Much of the narrative of the report is directed to exploring and promoting innovation in agriculture given the growing global population and the threat to food security posed by climate change.
The introductory overview chapter reports that there are indications of a pick-up of global economic activity. However, investment and productivity increases are still at historic lows. It also reports concerns around faltering economic integration; trade growth being around 2.5% in 2013 – 2014, but falling to 1.5% in 2016.
R & D growth is still lower than before 2011. In addition to reduced public R & D, growth in business R & D has been decreasing from 6% in 2013 to about 4.5% in 2015. The authors of the report call therefore for:
policy actions that foster human capital, research and development (R&D), and other innovation inputs and outputs, as captured by the GII, are now required. Indeed, avail-able economic evidence shows that an increase in R&D can effectively translate into an increase of GDP in the medium and longer term.
The question for Australia may be whether the Productivity Commission’s proposals meet those prescriptions?
The rankings are not strictly comparable as there have been adjustments and refinements to the framework and “technical factors” over the years and 4 countries included in 2016 dropped out while 3 new countries were introduced. ?
Each document seeks to present in summary form factual information about how various Member States deal with these issues under their respective patent laws, identifying where possible common themes and approaches and differences.
Last week, 8 May, WIPO’s General Assembly re-elected Dr Francis Gurry to a second 6 year term, beginning 1 October 2014 as Director-General of WIPO.
Congratulations, Dr Gurry!
In his acceptance speech, Dr Gurry highlighted the challenge facing WIPO:
I believe that the fundamental challenge that we face as an Organization is to achieve a shared understanding of the contribution and value of intellectual property to economic, social and cultural development. This is by no means an easy task. Many obstacles lie in the path – different competitive interests in an economy in which knowledge- and technology-intensive industries account for an increasing 30% share of global economic output; asymmetries of wealth, opportunity and knowledge; historical and contemporary trust deficits; and the reality of a multi-speed and multi-tiered world in which multilateralism, while being the highest expression of inclusiveness and legitimacy, is nevertheless the slowest solution.
It would appear this means continued development of the international agenda on specific issues.
Last week, the 5th Francis Gurry Lecture at the University of Melbourne was given by Dr Francis Gurry, the Director-General of WIPO (and so the highest ranking Australian official in UN organisations), himself. The topic “Re-thinking the Role of IP’.
Dr Gurry’s central theme was that the context in which intellectual property operates has changed so much that the way in which we think about IP and its role in society needs to be reconsidered.
One of the key changes Dr Gurry identified was the economic shift from wealth derived from tangibles to wealth generation deriving from intangibles. As one indicator of this, Dr Gurry pointed out that US industries in the IP field accounted for some 35% of its GDP. Another indicator showed that in 1978 95% of the value of the Standard & Poors 500 came from tangible assets, down to 20% in 2010.
The second key change Dr Gurry identified was the economic shift from the West to the East. China is now the second largest investor in R & D in absolute terms in the world. Japan the third.
The third key change identified was the empowerment of non-state actors. One illustration of this was the Day the Internet went Dark. More than 115,000 websites closed or limited access. More than 2.4 million anti-SOPA tweets were generated. One of my favourite images (lid dip Marty Schwimmer was the impact on the US Congress:
Among the many consequences arising from these changes:
much greater focus on IP and much greater intensity – Smartphone wars anyone, industrial espionage
much greater attention to what IP rights are granted for and focus mediating what is acceptable to the general public
Although not an example used by Dr Gurry, we have seen that here too. Dr Gurry did point out, however, an apparent paradox:
No one minds, it seems, someone making billions out of new social networking or media technology, but there is widespread social unease at someone making billions out of a new life-saving drug. Which outcome do we want to achieve in the innovation system?
Dr Gurry went on to explain that this changes in turn raised many questions for entitlement, appropriability and policy-making. Dr Gurry’s presentation in written form can be found here (pdf). Definitely repays reading. Lid dip @MsSamMcHugh
Update: A video of the lecture and the paper itself can now be found here.
On a quick skim, the main recommendation to introduce a Patents Tribunal to determine “IP” disputes has been found non-viable due to the limitations on the Commonwealth’s repository of judicial powers. With WIPO’s arbitration and mediation service in mind, however, IP Australia is to work with alternative dispute resolution providers to provide a new ADR resource. In the PBR context, the Government states that it does not consider it appropriate for IP Australia, as a regulatory agency, to provide post-grant mediation services itself.
The review on PBR has received rather mixed results.
The Government has not accepted the proposal to introduce a “purchase” right.
The PBR Act will be amended to clarify that harvested material which can also be used as propagating material qualifies as propagating material for the purposes of the Act’s prohibitions.
The Government accepts that no changes to the operation of ss 14 and 15 are required.
At this stage, the Government considers that the making of “mendacious” declarations of PBR is adequately covered by the prohibitions on misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce.
Lots of recommendations for more education.
No doubt, you will have your own favourite recommendation(s), but (as I am not a Kat, ip or otherwise) that is all there is time for today!