Another day, another organisation, another event? It sometimes feels like that in the world of intellectual property. Four decades ago, IP was no more than a recondite niche, apparently inhabited solely by nerds and specialists. Now things are very different: the former niche has become a major category of business activity and legal practice, within which patents, trade secrets, trade marks, designs, copyright, plant variety and utility model protection are themselves specialist subjects with global application.
This change is, sadly, visible mainly from the inside. To outsiders, even in the fields of investment advice and market analysis, nothing has changed: IP is all too often just an add-on, an optional extra when it comes to weighing up the criteria on which innovations are supported, markets entered, assets securitised or mergers and acquisitions contemplated. Many have failed to recognise that IP is the tail that wags the dog.
So let us welcome the International IP Commercialization Council (IIPCC), the latest in a succession of private-sector international bodies concerned with spreading the word about IP and with making better use of it. The IIPCC's Conference, "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Patenting in the US", opens tomorrow at HP's global HQ in Palo Alto. The conference programme itself may have little to mark it out as being different from others on the same topic -- some of the speakers have been around the block quite a few times already and are better known for repeating familiar themes than for springing surprises -- but the organisation itself has a refreshing dimension to it. Take a look at the IIPCC's website and you will see that all 13 of the organisation's constituent chapters are located in the Asia-Pacific.
It can be argued that, when it comes to topics like protectable subject-matter, infringement, invalidity and the like, as well as the mechanics of international cooperation in terms of examination and grant, there's not so much to discuss any more: are we not at the stage of fine-tuning? But when it comes to commercialisation, the debate has yet to run its course and the Asia-Pacific contribution, particularly from imaginative minds in Singapore and Hong Kong, is particularly welcome. The Aistemos blog team looks forward to hearing it.