IP and the knowledge economy again

Having attended yesterday's little meeting on the new UK initiative to find out about how IP works before trying to legislate policy for it (see earlier post here), the IPKat can now tell his readers a little bit about what transpired.

In short, SABIP's chairman Joly Dixon, summarised the plot. We Brits are now going to deepen our knowledge of how IP works within the economy and make up for the fact that we have little hard evidence as to precisely how IP affects its owners, users and the various markets in which it is engaged or exploited. Since this is a very big task [says the IPKat, it's not much easier than creating a sort of industrial and economic Domesday Book for our current time], the responsible approach is for SABIP and the IPO to cooperate with other bodies in the funding, setting up and carrying out a research agenda that will establish at least a firm framework within which policy may be framed. NESTA and the ESRC were mentioned in this context, as well as the OECD. Joly emphasized that it was important to be multidisciplinary [Great, says Merpel, so long as we can keep the economists in a minority ...] and forward-looking [i.e. cut all the historical stuff and see where we are now. A good idea]. He called for a two-way dialogue [er, is there any other sort?] between stake-holders and policy-makers, though the IPKat wasn't sure whether this dialogue was to come (i) before the research, (ii) simultaneously with it, (iii) following its conclusion or (iv) any combination of the above.

Roger Burt (IP Federation) then gave an industry view. His vocabulary was to the Kat's liking: "fun", "safeguard" and "academic freedom" ... Supporting and complementing Joly's address Roger called for contributors to the dialogue not to use emotive language: "describe what you see; you are expert witnesses, not barristers". He also offered the appealing prospect of "informed scenario building", which the Kat takes to mean projecting real facts into plausible hypothetical situations in order to see what happens [Isn't this what game theory does? If so, the Kat will be well pleased, since game theory takes both self-interest and altruism into account in a manner in which economic predictions based on historical market analysis generally don't] .

Last to speak was the man we were all waiting for -- quite literally, since he was half an hour late [the Kat discovered that the official Civil Service terminology for describing half an hour is "5 minutes"] -- was the Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Tottenham Hotspurs, David Lammy. The Minister did quite a plausible imitation of a busy politician with a hectic schedule who was making his first tentative acquaintance with the text of a speech that had been carefully prepared for him by his staff, but he handled the ordeal well. It is difficult not to warm to the Minister. For one thing, his heart is in the right place: he places the emphasis on giving the various stakeholders what they need and/or want, and he strikes a genuinely positive note as a person who cares about the IP sector and wants to see it flourish in the right mix of market conditions and legal controls. The Minister pointed out how important IP is to the UK economy, and reminded us how good we are at generating and exploiting it. Four of last year's most successful albums -- including the top one -- were British, he told us. Then, obviously scenting danger, he swiftly left the room together with his aides before the IPKat could ask him the killer question: "Can you name that album ...?"

So was this little gathering a success? The IPKat thinks so. Sitting the invitees around tables rather than in formal rows helped generate much constructive discussion before the event and a good deal of card-swapping. The content of the presentations was interesting, relevant, well-delivered and left the audience with a sense of something constructive and valuable stirring. These are of course early days, but the Kat says, "so far, so good".
IP and the knowledge economy again IP and the knowledge economy again Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, November 27, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. Dialogue is Dia [preposition meaning across or though] + logue, not Di [two] + alogue. So there is another sort of dialogue, since there can be many parties.


  2. IP economy relaunched by Jolly-Roger! Hmmm. Next they will be running up standards.

  3. The Jolly-Roger standards observation is teriffic!!!


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