Monthly Archives: June 2011

When might Chief IP Officer (CIPO) job be more commonplace?

A post on the Intellectual Asset Management blog talked about some predictions made by a group of professionals (including CIPOs and service providers) about the role of Chief IP Officer in the future.  See “Chief IP officers reveal their worst nightmares”

“…we asked both the CIPOs and the service providers to answer this question: “On what date will 70% of in-house heads of IP be CIPOs?” … it is pretty clear that few expect it to happen any time soon. The average answer was October 2030; the median November 2021. Eight respondents told us that it would never happen!

…we are still a long way from the day when the CIPO is as commonplace as the CTO, the CFO and the CEO…”

A possible remedy?  “..Education and a series of success stories are the key..” So, more awareness building which was highlighted time again at our NPI meetings as vital to the overall success of IP management.

N.B.  If you want to read past copies of IAM magazine you can sign up for a free trial on their website

Do-it-yourself civilisation kit; all open source

Great TED talk from Marcin Jakubowski about his Open Source Ecology project.  It’s just 4 minutes and well worth watching.

In the blog post “Open Source Ecology: Global Village Construction Set” the Climate Crocks blog said (of Jakubowski):

“In the course of solving his own dilemma as a startup sustainable grower with limited resources, he realized that his problems were the same as those faced by subsistence growers across the planet.  There was no bottom rung for getting a foothold in a modern society without huge economic resources. So of course, he decided to build just that.

Enter, the Global Village Construction Set & Open Source Ecology, transcending artificial scarcity with a do-it-yourself civilization kit – the fifty most important machines that it takes for modern life to exist.”

(Thanks to Peter Bloch for sending me the link)

IPRs in public research; strategies to address protection of the public good

Since 2007 as part of the DGIS funded National Partners Initiative, CAS-IP commissioned various case studies – results of which can be downloaded here. Currently in the pipeline to be finalised are another seven case studies from Thailand, Philippines, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia and Syria.

Recently our colleague in Nigeria, Ms C. H. Abo from the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) sent me some information about how she used her draft case study as a starting point for holding a national workshop on the subject of IP, which took place at the end of last year. Congratulations to Ms. Catherine Abo for this initiative and for the interest she leveraged!


The following was taken from the welcome address by the Executive Director of NCRI, Dr. A.A. Ochigbo.  He said (emphasis my own):

“Although, the extension of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to public research may seem to be in conflict with the traditional role of public good which the public research institutes traditionally stand for, it is increasingly perceived as a strategy to address the perceived needs of public research and the protection of the public good

Some photos from the conference:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Learning from Existing Evaluation Practices on the Impacts and Effects of Intellectual Property on Development

An e-newsletter yesterday first brought this call for papers to my attention (thanks PIIPA who sent it out). 

WIPO are organising a seminar in October at their HQ in Switzerland entitled: “Learning from Evaluations of the Impacts and Effects of Intellectual Property (IP) on Development

Deadline for submission is 24th June, 2011.

The WIPO communication states:

“The main focus of the 2011 Evaluation Seminar is sharing good practices in Evaluation of Intellectual Property.”

and they go on to list a number of possible topics:

  • Evaluation of the effects of intellectual property aimed to promote innovation and technology
  • Evaluation of the effects of intellectual property on traditional knowledge
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property capacity building
  • Evaluation of the effects of safeguarding creative heritage
  • Evaluation of the effects of global IP protection systems
  • Evaluation of the impact of programs aimed to modernized and improve infrastructure of IP offices
  • Evaluation of the effects of the implementation of IP international treaties
  • Evaluation of the impact of IP awareness raising programs
  • Evaluation of the effects of IP technical assistance including to SMEs
  • Evaluation of the effects of public and private partnerships to promote the use of the IP system
  • Evaluation of the results of existing cooperation among UN, bilateral and multilateral bodies in the area of intellectual property
  • Evaluation of the impact of the assistance provided by UN, bilateral and multilateral organizations to enable local innovators and research institutions to use IP as a means of owning, protecting and exploiting their research results.
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property -related policies and initiatives aimed to promote the transfer and dissemination of technology
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property -related policies and initiatives aimed to support entrepreneurs and in particular start up businesses in the information technology and web based areas
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property -related policies and measures aimed to promote transfer and dissemination of technology to developing countries
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property rights aimed at the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology
  • Evaluation of the impact of intellectual property activities on gender or human rights

The deadline for evaluation abstract submissions is June 24th, 2011. Visit the WIPO site for more details for application.  An honorarium and basic travel costs will be covered by the organisers.

Free Advanced International Certificate Course on IPRs & Business; last chance to register.

You may have seen information about this course via WIPO newsletters recently.  It’s a free online course run jointly by WIPO, the Korean IP Office (KIPO) and other Korean institutions (KAIST and KIPA).  Subsequent course offerings also include an offline course, and developing country participants can apply for a scholarship to cover travel expenses.

The 2nd Annual WIPO-KIPO-KAIST-KIPA Advanced International Certificate Course. Click on the link in the box on the right hand side for more info on the course itself.

Topics covered are outlined on the website as:

 Module 1 : Importance of IP for SMEs

 Module 2 : Trademarks and Industrial Designs

 Module 3 : Inventions and Patents

 Module 4 : Trade Secrets

 Module 5 : Copyright and Related Rights

 Module 6 : Patent Information

 Module 7 : Technology Licensing and Strategic Partnership

 Module 8 : IP in the Digital Economy

 Module 9 : IP and International Trade

 Module 10 : IP Audit

 Module 11 : IP Valuation

 Module 12 : Trademark Licensing

 Applications open 22nd June for the final session for 2011.

Plant breeder incentives; are Plant Patents a help or a hindrance?

A recent item I put together for the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog (thanks for the link Jeremy) has added to the arguments questioning the value of property rights over plants.  Challenging Plant Patents: the Rose

The original paper being discussed in the blog post linked above asked the question “Did Plant Patents Create the American Rose?[1]”, and they concluded that:

“Using plant patents as the sole indicator of innovation suggests that the answer is yes…A closer look, however, suggests patents played at best a secondary role, and that U.S. breeders mostly used patents strategically to protect themselves from litigation.”

The blog item (perhaps somewhat unfairly) draws the conclusion from the paper that:

“…there’s evidence that the Plant Patent Act may have served to suppress horticultural innovation rather than stimulate it”

Why is this debate of interest to us?  The research is about roses, but the Intellectual Property Rights discussion could apply equally to other plants/crops.  In our area this debate becomes even more heated when publicly funded research, and/or development issues are added into the mix.

It’s always useful that we a) take note and learn from these discussions, and b) that we remember the balance needs to be struck between protecting individual rights, and effects on the wider community.  The patent system was always supposed to tread this line.  There is more than one type of IPR available to plant breeders.  In the USA a Plant Patent is just one of three forms of formal protection available for plants from the USPTO, along with PVP and the Utility Patent.

Protection is certainly not a one way street.  Plant Patent Rights are time limited and the patented plant variety enters the public domain (with no rights attached) once the patent expires.  In addition US Plant Patents allow the protected materials to be used for breeding without the need for permission (or a license) from the patent holder, much like the breeder’s exemption for PVP rights. (See,;.  This is NOT true for utility patent rights over plant varieties.

I would like to question the blog item in its comparison to Europe.  It was noted that: “European breeders, without the benefit of patents, continued to lead rose innovation”  But what about UPOV? This isn’t mentioned… 

The tools are just one piece of the overall innovation puzzle, and the innovation puzzle is a complicated one!  By raising the awareness of the uses and characteristics of the tools we can help ensure that public sector research navigates this area better.  This could mean taking steps to ensure research falls into the public domain, or by using the protections to make outputs available on specific, strategic, development-orientated terms.

The blog post included a great archive photo of the Golden Delicious apple tree (1931) caged to “prevent competitors stealing shoots.”  It’s certainly one alternative to formal protection!

[1]Moser, Petra and Rhode, Paul W., Did Plant Patents Create the American Rose? (January 4, 2011). Available at SSRN: