World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009

  • A New IP-Based Strategy for Growth

    Friday 30th January 2009 - 12:30pm - 2:00pm

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  • A New IP-Based Strategy for Growth

    John Conroy

    James Moody

    Scott Ratzan

    Bright Simons

    Michael Träm

    Moderated by •

    Siobhan Walsh


    Friday 30 January

    Patent applications have grown at an average rate of 4.7% since 1995, with more than 1.6 million new patents generated every year. There is a consensus that intellectual property (IP) is integral to development. Participants discussed what needs to be done to protect innovators and their patents in emerging markets.

    • A one-size-fits-all approach is not the solution. Not all IP rights are equal, not all emerging countries are equal and developing countries have different capacities for deploying innovation.
    • Partnership arrangements with the developing world must take innovation into account, with a view to creating a critical mass of innovators.
    • Industrial design protection will facilitate growth in developing countries.
    • The idea of a Global Responsibility License was presented. This would be issued on existing patents and would allow the IP to be used and developed in either non-controlled jurisdictions or markets where users are unable to pay. It would follow the open-source model, but any improvements made to the IP would return to the originators as an incentive for firms to open up their IP.
    • International not-for-profit researchers are afraid of undertaking research in some domains because of crowded patent landscapes.
    • It is a human right to share in scientific advancement and its benefits (Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). This would help the most vulnerable population segment of 2 billion people.
    • IP has to be unlocked if medicines are to be developed to treat diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB.
    • Initiatives exist to encourage companies to invest in research that helps children or the developing world. In pharmaceuticals, the quid pro quo could be priority vouchers to speed up the FDA approval process for new drugs or six-month patent extensions. These incentives can spark other companies to act.
    • A strong IP system (encompassing patent registration, protection and enforcement) attracts foreign investment and encourages domestic innovation: no country has generated wealth or investment without such a system.
    • IP capacity can be developed by public-private partnerships and informal alliances between organizations representing different aspects of IP, such as trademark associations and copyright agencies. Trust is central to any of these partnerships.
    • Commercial companies want to grow revenues and reduce costs. Showing how IP supports this gets companies interested.
    • Many companies now share technologies and expertise (the automobile industry is an example), something that did not happen 20 years ago.
    • Patents should be reused and IP recycled. Innovation can be blocked by existing, moribund patents or where patents are held by old oligopolies. By bringing patent holders together, IP can be reinvigorated.
    • Sharing IP and patent rights can create a healthier, more educated population, with an increased appetite and ability to pay for consumer products.
    • Altruism is not a requirement for these changes to be made – companies can still ask the question, “What is in it for me?”
    • Emerging market populations need powerful education in IP to protect both innovators in the developed world and those in the developing world, who are more at risk.
    • Improving the quality of life in developing countries by bridging divides would fit everyone’s agenda.


  • James Moody James Moody
    Co-Chair, Global Access In Action, Australia

    Bachelor's in InfoTech and BEng in Electronics, Queensland University of Technology; PhD in Innovati...

  • Bright Simons Bright Simons
    President, MPedigree Network, Ghana

    2006-10, Director, Development Research, Centre for Policy and Education, Ghana; 2009, Consultant, W...

  • Michael R. Tr Michael R. Tr

    Studies in Law, PhD, University of Saarland. 1986, Junior Barrister. 1989-2004, various positions wi...

  • John Conroy Jr John Conroy Jr
    Head, Global Strategic Initiatives, Baker & McKenzie, USA

    AB, University of Notre Dame; graduate studies, Institut des Hautes Etudes Européenes, Université ...

  • Scott Ratzan Scott Ratzan
    Vice-President, Global Corporate Affairs, Anheuser-Busch InBev, USA

    MD, MPA. VP, Global Corporate Affairs, Anheuser-Busch InBev. Has made major contributions to improve...

Moderated by

  • Siobhan Walsh Siobhan Walsh
    Executive Director, Concern Worldwide US, USA

    Degree in Business; postgraduate diplomas in International Marketing and Economic and Social Policy....