The world is too complex for a single global IP strategy - Gurry

Can you have a single global IP strategy? Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation thinks not.  

Speaking at the opening of CIPA Congress 2016 in London today (Thurs, Sept 22), in a speech entitled Can You Have A Single Global IP Strategy?,  Mr Gurry spoke about the complexity of the global IP landscape and the difficulties this poses for formulating IP strategies.

Mr Gurry said: “The landscape for intellectual property is vastly different from the landscape of 20, 30 years ago. It is characterised by complexity.

“We see that in the nature of the subject matter itself because intellectual property occupies a very different position in the economy. It is central to the competitive advantage and economic strategy of all the advanced countries.

“We also see a complexity in the institutional arrangements. Because of its central position, countries are trying to advance or protect their IP interests and assets in whatever form they can. So we see very active agendas at the national level, bi-laterally, plurilaterally, regionally and multi-laterally.

“In an age of globalisation anything happening at any of those levels affects everyone else. National leglislation affects everyone in that market. This means it is difficult to move forward. Policy makers have to carefully consider the design stage and ensure the ‘must-haves’ we need to focus on. And there are very definitely some ‘must-haves’ for intellectual property in a globalised economy.”

Speaking to CIPA off-stage Mr Gurry added: “I don’t think you can have either a single global IP system or a single global IP strategy. I don’t think it’s possible.

“If you are a corporation you have to have a different strategy for the United States, for example, than you would have in Nigeria. You have to have a global strategy, but I don’t think it can be a single one.”

Other speakers included CIPA President Tony Rollins who spoke about the progress being made internationally towards patent law harmonisation and High Court Judge Sir Colin Birss, who spoke on an interactive panel looking at dealing with patent infringement on a limited budget.

In his opening address, Mr Rollins told delegates of the work that CIPA had been doing to promote the UK profession following the referendum vote for the UK to leave the European Union.

Mr Rollins said that CIPA had been in contact with patent attorney institutes around the world to explain the facts around Brexit, its impact on UK IP rights and attorney representation and progress towards the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court.

 “As well as contacting our sister organisations, we have also organised a number of meetings in the UK and overseas to explain CIPA’s position and work with others to obtain the best outcome,” he said.

"Last Thursday a CIPA delegation met with the German Patentanwaltskammer on the UPC issue to both explain our position and elucidate their views. Reassuringly, they indicated that the UPC with the UK as a member was still the preferred option for Germany.”