Before considering the future, Francis began by describing the present. The massive backlogs in examining patent applications were not a sign of failure but a tribute to the success of the system in attracting such an extraordinarily high level of investment in knowledge creation; a bigger concern than dealing with patent informations was that of dealing with information itself: some 30% of global R&D spend comes from China, Japan and Korea -- and this is reflected in literature published in the languages of those nations. R&D is now massively international; 22% of peer-reviewed scientific work is co-authored by writers from different countries, and 15% of patent applications from OECD nations stem from inventions made outside those countries. We are also witnessing a change in the mode of innovation. No longer do companies try to satisfy all their innovation needs themselves. Open innovation and open source are means by which external innovation may be grafted on. However, the current system of IP still provides the framework for all this.
In the field of copyright there have also been momentous changes, said Francis. Digital technology and the internet have caused radical difficulties for those seeking to utilise traditional business models. New solutions are needed and these will have to emerge from dialogue between creative industries and consumers, not through litigation against teenage file-sharers. The big issue is how we are to finance creative works. Patronage and market-based solutions have both been tried, but fail.