This particular Kat spent a very interesting morning yesterday at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar – “Intellectual property, innovation and the UK economy”. The event, held in central London, gathered a number of individuals involved with, and/or interested in, the IP system in the UK to discuss two main issues: Research, knowledge transfer and realising the social value of intellectual property; and Intellectual property rights and the economy.
However, rather than celebrating what an entertaining morning he had, this Kat wishes to raise an issue in the hope that some further debate might be forthcoming. Therefore:
During the course of the event, the Kat provided a very brief (10 minute) overview of the IP system, so as to set the scene for the remainder of the speakers. He set out his stall by detailing the main rights falling under IP’s umbrella (another IP Umbrella (left)), and then quickly discarded those that, in his mind at least, were not directly linked with the subject under discussion: innovation. Patents, designs and copyright therefore received most of his attention, and trade marks were left to one side; explained away rather rapidly on the basis that they did not really concern innovation, being more involved with facilitating consumer choice within a market economy.
However, mulling this over when walking back from the event, the Kat began to wonder whether his initial, knee-jerk, dismissal of the trade mark, discarding it as substantially irrelevant to innovation, was in fact correct. Whilst he maintains that trade marks are (obviously) fundamentally different in ideology than patents and copyright (at least to a far greater extent than the latter pair are ideologically different from each other), he is less sure that his initial reaction did not underplay the innovation|trade mark link.