World Intellectual Property Day: report of the IPAN event and a proposal for a centralised recordal system

The Directors of IPAN with Francis Gurry
Readers of this blog who are on Twitter and other social media can probably not possibly have failed to know that, ever faithful, World Intellectual Property Day turned up again as usual this year on 26 April.  This being a Sunday, some events were held in the preceding days.  Equally faithful, IPAN held an event on Thursday 23 April which however was transferred, because of the upcoming General Election, from its usual venue at the Houses of Parliament to the BPI at County Hall.

This moggy was delighted to run into not one, but two IP Ministers -- the current incumbent (at least until the General Election...) Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and her illustrious predecessor Lord Younger. John Alty, the CEO of the Intellectual Property Office (also known by the statutory title of the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks), was also in attendance, together with many other luminaries of the IP firmament.

For the report of the event itself, this Kat can do no better than call upon IPAN's own summary, which he gratefully reproduces here:


In an introductory message to the 100 or so guests attending the IP Awareness Network’s (IPAN) annual London celebration of World IP Day, the Director General of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Mr Francis Gurry said: 

Intellectual capital is the basis of wealth creation today. This has elevated the importance of intellectual property as intellectual property captures the competitive advantage conferred by innovation and investment in intangible capital”.
Mr Gurry led a distinguished speaker panel which included Mike Weatherley, the former MP and IP adviser to the Prime Minister and the prominent designer Sebastian Conran, in discussing the theme of the IPAN celebration: “IP a 2020 Vision”.  Mr Gurry focused on the state of play of IP at an international level, ranging from the complexities and challenges of policy-making in the internet era to the continued growth in patent and related IP filings even in today’s difficult economic conditions.  He said, 
“We are living through a period in which innovation has become central to the economy and experiencing a profound revolution in the production, distribution and consumption of creative and cultural works. Intellectual property is key to responding to the magnitude of the challenges that are arising from the centrality of innovation and the digital revolution.”
Giorgio Sincovich, a senior IP Crime expert with Europol, speaking about the challenges of dealing with IP crime and enforcement, said:   
“Close cooperation between government and law enforcement agencies and the private sector is key to winning the fight against IP crime especially in day-to-day consumer goods. The profits generated from this type of crime are huge, rivalling those from better known forms of organised crime. Focusing on the financing of IP crime is essential to disrupt the criminal groups involved and so protect the health and safety of EU citizens.”
In her closing remarks, Professor Ruth Soetendorp, IPAN’s Chair, said, 
“Our vision for the future is to engage IP committed organisations and individuals in building on IPAN's 21 years of raising awareness of IP's value and importance within education, finance, business and parliamentary circles.”
During the Event, IPAN launched its newly revised Issue Briefs for parliamentarians and others seeking basic information about IP topics.  Also the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA - an IPAN member and Event sponsor), publicised its newly developed Manifesto for the IP System and supporting video aimed at influencing the new Government to ensure that all forms of IP actively promote entrepreneurship and enterprise.

There is more about the event on IPAN's website here and here.
It was a great pleasure to hear again from the erudite Dr Gurry, who also graced with his attendance the 10 year celebration event for this very blog.  An interesting idea arose in discussions with Dr Gurry over tea at CIPA before the event, which he mentioned in response to a question asked at the IPAN event, and which - you heard it here first - the IPKat will now reveal.

The speakers: Francis Gurry, Mike Weatherley,
Giorgio Sincovich and Sebastian Conran
Registration of assignments, licences and securities on registered rights internationally can be a very expensive process.  The formalities required differ considerably from country to country, and many jurisdictions still require translations, notarisation, legalisation, and other costly certifications.  How about an international treaty, administered by WIPO of course, to provide a centralised, and much cheaper, mechanism of recordal, with the minimum of extraneous formalities?  This would benefit the rights holders and licensees by reducing the cost of recordal, and would benefit third parties as then registers would be much more likely to be accurate and up-to-date.  The complexity of the current systems means that often registration never takes place at all, with the result that the real owners of rights, and other parties with an interest in them, can often be difficult or impossible to determine.  As it happens, in a case reported by the IPKat this very morning, apparently only 38 of a total of 60 licences were actually recorded on the Register.

What do our readers think?
World Intellectual Property Day: report of the IPAN event and a proposal for a centralised recordal system World Intellectual Property Day: report of the IPAN event and a proposal for a centralised recordal system Reviewed by Darren Smyth on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Given the huge amount of time and expense involved in recording the transfer of large portfolios, it would certainly be welcome to come up with a standardized set of requirements and a central registry. However, it would take a lot of thought to create a registry that did not simply add a layer on top of local filing requirements meaning that a third party looking for encumbrances on title to IP would now have a further place it was required to search (a topic of sensitivity to US lawyers who wrestle with filings of mortgages on IP on either or both of the State or Federal level). Assignments and their recordal have their complexities including (i) is the original assignment effective to transfer title under local law? (ii) what rights are actually transferred? (iii) what is the effect of recordal or failure to record on the parties to the assignment and on third parties? Could the treaty simply say that issues (i) and (ii) were decided by the law of the country of execution (so what would be filed is a "global assignment" under the law of the country of execution) and (iii) by the country of the IP right in question? And in countries with multiple filing offices, the international filing would be deemed equivalent to filing in the local patent office only?

  2. I agree, it could get complex.

    However still a good idea in principle to establish a register of works licensed.

    This report creative industries Licensing Opportunities & Risks gives some insight into a myriad of concerns

    What is absent at present is means for internet users to obtain a simple license for low-cost transactions when they wish to use an image (not from a stock library) for commercial use.

    The right click, save image function and lack of knowledge of the owner or usage rights, makes it difficult for anyone to know whether its free to use or not.

    That issue needs to be addressed.

    Automated licensing is something I'm looking into right now utilizing new technologies and trying to keep things simple. No mean feat.

    The cost estimate to achieve something robust, sustainable, fast and easy, mobile & desk top compatible - £1.5 to £2 million plus

    Wish me luck !


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