|It's not how you punch,|
but who you punch ...
|... and how strictly you can|
maintain IP discipline
The first plenary session addressed directly the theme of the conference, focusing on the evolving architecture of the global IP system and the influence of national IP systems and the tension between the territoriality of IP rights and the global scope of IP exploitation. First to speak was Dr Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Dr Gurry articulated the promise and challenge of an international system based on multilateral relationships. He also restated his vision for “a seamless global digital marketplace” based in the development of business models resting on legal principles. He also emphasized that, in his view, at least in the near term, IP harmonization was more likely to be limited to procedural subjects.
Dr Gurry's address was followed by comments from senior officials from the Japanese Patent Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of China. Speaking on the Japanese situation, Commissioner Hitoshi Ito reviewed the ongoing efforts of the Patent Office to continue to improve its patent services, including regarding the speed of the services, quality and extent of international cooperation. Mr He Zhimin, Deputy Commissioner of the Chinese Office recounted the four stages that China has undergone in developing its patent law system. He elaborated on the current aspirations to formulate a full-fledged IP strategy and forcefully articulated that, while China had succeeded in aligning itself with the international IP system, it would also seek to find its unique path when appropriate. With refreshing candour, he described in some detail in this regard China’s efforts to strengthen the enforcement environment. The final speaker of the session was Dr Stanley Lai, chairman of the board of IPOS and a leading IP practitioner in Singapore, serving as the head of the IP practice at Allen & Gledhill. Dr Lai traced the development of Singapore over its 50 years and the role played by IP. He speculated on how Singapore can seek to flourish by focusing on certain niche markets, for which IP protection will be central.