From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"IP in Transition: Desperately Seeking the Big Picture"

IP in Transition: a Kat speaks*
IPKat blogmeister Jeremy has now just finished delivering, in the Brisbane offices of Fisher Adams Kelly, the fourth and final version of "IP in Transition: Desperately Seeking the Big Picture", this year's Francis Gurry Lecture.  This event has been organised under the auspices of the University of Melbourne's Law School and the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia. The lecture tour, taking in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, has been an exhausting but exhilarating experience, giving Jeremy the chance to interact and learn from a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties: IP creators and consumers, all the IP professions, 
public and private sector IP administrators, academics, economists, accountants and people who are involved either in seeking to shape government IP policy or in telling governments what to think.

This whole operation was strongly supported by sponsors: IP Australia, the AIPPI, FICPI, LESANZ and IPSANZ. It was good to see how organisers brought the sponsors into the lecture series and kept them involved in it rather than -- as sadly happens a little too often these days -- just taking the money and saying bye-bye. This blogger's impression is that an involved sponsor is a happy sponsor: event fund-raisers take note.

Giving the same lecture every time round:
more a job for a groundhog than a Kat?
The idea was that the same lecture would be given in four different locations but a number of factors made this impossible. They included (i) Jeremy's difficulty in sticking to the script, (ii) the absence of a lectern in one venue meaning that he couldn't see the script properly anyway, (iii) the diverse nature of the audiences (eg almost all the Canberra audience worked for IP Australia; there were no conspicuous economists in Sydney) and (iv) the fact that each subsequent lecture tended to incorporate comments made or fresh thoughts generated in the one which preceded it.  Be that as it may, the Melbourne and Sydney lectures -- which are actually quite different -- have both apparently been recorded and this blog will direct readers to the relevant links on the assumption that they pass the censors. Incidentally, all four lectures used the same PowerPoint frames, which you can access here.

So what then is the Big Picture of intellectual property to which the title of these lectures alluded? The punchline is that IP most closely resembles My Bed, by Tracey Emin. How is this so?  Jeremy gave the following reasons:
1. the bed is functional and thus available for use; 
2. it receives a high volume of criticism and abuse, despite its value [earlier this year it sold for £2.54 million]; 
3. it's definitely a mess; 
4. its appearance is quite different, depending on the position from which you view it;
5. if you're in the middle of it, you don't see most of the mess at all;
6. it's a facility that can be enjoyed by most people, whether alone or in combination with others; 
7. with a little tidying up it'll be just fine ... 
8. ... but it can generally benefit from being changed now and again.
On a concluding note, Jeremy would like to offer his deepest gratitude to Andrew Christie and Julia Truong for making him feel so welcome and for enabling him to travel from each venue to the next in a painlessly efficient manner. Thanks are also due to the various venue hosts for their warmth and kindness.

* Photo by fellow blogger Mark Summerfield (Patentology)

1 comment:

P Jeetun said...

I was fortunate enough to attend the Sydney lecture and as a Queen Mary alumni who has found myself the other side of the world it was comforting to hear a familiar opinion.

If we follow Locke's proposition that words 'stand as outward marks of our internal ideas' copyright represents a multitude of ideas so when we speak of copyright it has different meanings to different people. Just ask anyone what copyright means for them and you get many different versions. For me copyright is vital in a society based on money in allowing each of us to present our identity through the efforts of our mind.

Whilst there might be issues with the current form of copyright in many jurisdictions, this does not negate the idea of copyright as a worthy idea. We just need to realign the balance and make copyright clearer and relevant.

Jeremy's seminar expressed this very well. My thoughts were that perhaps we should revisit the English formulation of copyright which is specific to one culture and try to re-imagine copyright as inclusive of other cultures e.g. the intellectual works of the first peoples of Australia. The world is much more connected than in 1709 and thus the idea of copyright should be more worldly?

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