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FORESIGHT IN THE FIELD - Initiatives covering the Future of IPR

Author

Emma Coroler

Dec 4, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of intellectual property rights (IPR), the intersection with cutting-edge technologies and global challenges has become a focal point for policymakers, industry leaders, and scholars alike. This article provides a comprehensive exploration of past, current, and upcoming efforts to shape the future of Intellectual Property Rights

In the lead-up to the 2019 meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Assemblies, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry reflected in an article on the implications of big data for intellectual property rights (IPR) policy. His views highlight the convergence of big data and IPR, pointing to the need to reflect on the adaptations required in IPR within a landscape shaped by extensive data sources, questioning the effectiveness of the traditional IP system in addressing the numerous issues arising from prevalent data-driven technologies in the digital economy. Many discussions revolve around the limitations of data usage within AI-based algorithms, such as whether training AI for deep-learning purposes violates copyright law. Today, in a world of rapid technological advancements, these considerations become even more significant, calling for initiatives that effectively address the future of IPR. The following provides a comprehensive look at past, current, and upcoming efforts addressing the future of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

In 2007, the European Patent Office (EPO) developed "Scenarios for the Future,"investigating the following two inquiries: How could IP regimes transform by 2025? To what extent might these regimes gain global credibility? The aim was to ensure that the system continues to effectively support innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth for the benefit of European citizens. These future scenarios for intellectual property envisioned diverse landscapes:

· Market Rules, where business dominance prevails, empowering multinational corporations to wield substantial influence, shape patent landscapes, and navigate an increasingly litigious environment

· Whose Game? a realm influenced by geopolitics, witnessing shifts in power dynamics among established and emerging players, while many developing nations operate within a communal knowledge paradigm, intensifying global competition.

· Trees of Knowledge reflects a world shaped by societal influences where diminishing trust and mounting criticism gradually erode the IP system, prompting collaborative challenges to established norms by civil society movements and concerned stakeholders.

· Blue Skies envisions a future where technology takes precedence, leading to a split in the patent system due to systemic risks, with technocrats and policymakers emphasising the role of complex, innovative technologies in addressing global crises like climate change and the importance of technology diffusion.

 

More recent initiatives, such as the Swiss Federal Institute of IP's exploration of future scenarios, sheds light on current developments pertinent to intellectual property. Emerging trends and technologies continually pose challenges regarding IP. Today, areas like the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain command the attention of IP experts. Other areas such as Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Blockchain are also subjects highly relevant to IP discussions. These areas are integral to various reports, notably stemming from events like the Artificial Intelligence & Intellectual Property Workshop (AI&IP Workshop) and the report emerging from the AI&IP conference held in Zurich from June 9th to 11th, 2022. This report showcases insights into how the intellectual property (PI) system could evolve and respond to the challenges presented by AI and delves into various aspects such as the role of IP in the context of AI for businesses, Patent law, and Copyright law.

 

More recently, the WIPO is currently developing an area dedicated to the Future of Intellectual Property within the Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector. The tasks will include conducting forward-looking and anticipatory studies, brainstorming and ideating, as well as orchestrating in-house interdisciplinary dialogues on cutting-edge matters concerning the future development of Intellectual Property. Its aim will be to offer guidance, leadership, and policy alternatives on emerging global challenges, significant societal concerns, and cutting-edge IP developments. Further details about this department's launch are anticipated in 2024.

 

Image: World Intellectual Property Review - https://www.worldipreview.com/

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