|"IP offices cannot solve|
every problem ..."
ARE the IP system ..."
|Capacity-building is important|
once an IP right is granted
Global IP rules are necessary in order to establish a shared vision, Francis said [Merpel's a little surprised by this. She thought the best way to get global IP rules was to establish a shared vision ...]. Perhaps this is what is needed for the keenly-awaited Design Convention, which is only a little way short of conclusion, despite the differences that have prevented this happy outcome so far. Francis concluded by (i) identifying trade secrets as "the elephant that is not in the room": high mobility of skilled labour, the increased need for chains through which confidentiality passes and the capacity of modern technology to intercept and obtain secret information make the subject important and topical -- and it's certainly not a subject that should be discussed in secrecy, (ii) mentioning the importance of addressing the needs of developing countries and (iii) the need for capacity-building once an IP right has been granted.
Hugh Hansen wanted to know if WIPO -- ie multilateral reform -- was our best chance for achieving the next level of IP law. Said Francis, "yes" (well, he said a bit more than that), adding that the question was an academic one since it was already happening on an ongoing basis. We do however need a solution to the issue of technical knowledge if we are to retain the support of developing TK-rich countries in leading normal IP to the next level. "There's something in TK which we're not capturing in the IP system", he added [David Kappos added at this stage that "the economics of TK remain to be worked out"].
It was then the turn of the Designated Audience Members to have their say. Mihály Ficsor (President, Hungarian Copyright Council; International Legal Consultant, Budapest) and Shira Perlmutter joined the discussion. Said Shira: we have to be pragmatic and flexible when we approach our current problems, and not be dogmatic as to ends to achieve or means of achieving them. António Campinos agreed, adding that we have all taken the virtues of IP for granted. Now we have facts and figures to enable us to assess the performance of IP rights,. we can look at the cost of not enforcing it in terms of unemployment, loss of tax revenue and other downsides. Maria Martin-Prat (Head of Unit – Copyright, DG Internal Market & Services, European Commission, Brussels) then spoke about getting to the next level of IP protection: there's nothing wrong with intervening policywise, she said, but it's difficult to do so in a rational manner.