Oh come, all ye faithful, for the late summer conference season is in full swing. This Kat has two conferences down, and one to go, for a total of nine conference days in two weeks. To start is the annual European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) conference; this year held at Oxford. In the conference's early years, there was a clear focus on patents, recent years have widened its scope to all IPR. I'll pick up here on a few talks of interest.
|Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss|
Image via NYU
Image via USPTO
Professor Kimberlee Weatherall presented the Australian debate in copyright. Australia is an outlier in the English-speaking world's approach to copyright, and, in this Kat's opinion, taking a much more balanced view (see Australian Productivity Commission's infographic linked below). She called for all copyright policies to be tested against five principles:
- Copyright should be designed in the public interest (collective interest)
- Copyright should do a better job of recognising the interests of human creators
- We need to build more differentiated protection into copyright. Not all creativity requires the same protection. [Merpel is sceptical of the one-size-fits-all approach, but a useful provocation.]
- The rules need to allow from innovation from the outside
- Copyright is not a system where the benefits are for owners and burdens for everyone else
|"Copyright protection is|
cast too widely."
A closing panel session on innovation, by three economists, reflected the fact that most IP economists start as innovation economists. Professor Dietmar Harhoff kicked off with a discussion on policy making and economics, and the risk of abuse of economic evidence. Professor Manuel Trajtenberg expressed concern that GDP spoils of innovation are going to the top one tenth of the top one percent, and that we need to think more about people and income equality. He call for innovation policy to support "human-enhancement," rather than "human replacement." Professor Adam Jaffe looked at empirical challenges of innovation policy evaluation (some of his previous work on the topic here and here.) It was a nice conclusion to the conference, reminding the academic and policy audience of the challenges, responsibilities and ethics of policy and research - innovation should benefit social as a whole, and research and policy in innovation needs to be robust.
Two Kats were also on the scene, with Eleonora on online trade mark infringment jurisdictions, and me on business models. On a final note, having recently done a US-UK trip herself, the Katonomist would like to complement the many US and Australian-based conference participants who managed to stay coherent in the face of significant jet lag. There was no cat-napping.