13 November 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

US prosperity damaged by weakened IP, says IPAS keynote speaker

Intellectual property has always been a key element in supporting US prosperity, but recent court decisions and the introduction of the America Invents Act have led to a weakened IP system in comparison to foreign rivals, according to David Teece, director of the Tusher Center for Intellectual Capital Management, UC Berkeley-Haas.

In his keynote speech at the Intellectual Property Awareness Summit (IPAS) in Chicago on 6 November, Teece said that the environment for licensing, essential to the future of US prosperity, is slipping away.

He explained: “Large vertically integrated companies are not always the ideal business model for technology development today. If the licensing model breaks down, independent inventors and startups will be relatively disadvantaged.”

Comparing the US to other emerging innovation economies, Teece said that China is embracing stronger IP and transforming into an innovation economy, while the US weakens itself.

He concluded: “We have been sleeping while Rome burns. Today, one has a better chance of getting an injunction in China or Germany or Brazil then in the US.”

“An injunction anywhere helps an inventor everywhere, particularly if they have enabling technology. It’s a global economy, and the players are global.”

The Centre for Intellectual Property Understanding held IPAS in an attempt to dissect what it calls “widespread confusion over the purpose and use of IP rights, like patents and copyrights”.

CIPU was launched in February this year, focusing on promoting the importance and value of IP.

It’s leadership includes Bruce Berman of Brody Berman Associates, Marshall Phelps, former vice president of IP business and strategy at Microsoft and IBM, Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network and Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel at IBM.

The first CIPU conference, IPAS welcomed panelists such as chief judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Randall Rader and Todd Dickinson, former director of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Phelps commented: “IPAS was a unique and significant gathering of people and organizations concerned about the barriers to full IP acceptance.”

He added: “It brought together a diversity of IP holders, professionals, and creators, with various points of view, and laid the groundwork for identifying specific activities on which to build.”

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