The IP sector is heavily related with other sectors such as Technology and Economy, which are all sectors that are not static and fast paced. Probably as a result of these affiliations or due to the fact that IP itself is based on innovations, the world of IP constantly changing. So as an IP enthusiast, you need to keep abreast of what is going on in the sector. I am going to be telling you about 5 things I feel you should be aware of right now in this fast paced world.
1)E-commerce as a solution to counterfeits: Counterfeits are the worst! Just bad business to be honest. I feel like every established brand’s worst nightmare is a counterfeit product making use of their brand and flooding the market with these counterfeit goods. Not only does it destroy goodwill, it also drives down the price of the product. How? By flooding. This is a situation whereby the supply of goods is more than its demand and at lower costs too.
So what are we doing about counterfeits? I mean, they really are a menace. It seems now that e-commerce is proving to be a very good and feasible solution to counterfeiting problems. We now have brands and e-commerce platforms working together to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. Amazon, for instance, has created a way to remove counterfeits of a registered trademark globally in seconds! That’s just amazing!! It is hoped that this will be replicated in a physical market.
2) China is re-branding its image: We know what we all think when we see a product that reads ‘Made in China’: that it’s most probably something counterfeit or sub-standard. Certainly, over a long period of time, this has been the case. China is very well known for exporting products that violate the IPR’s of other parties. And up until recently they still faced heavy sanctions from the Trump-led Administration.
However, you should know that China has heavily invested in and is constantly developing its IP infrastructure, which is very laudable as it is one of the largest markets in the world. The country now has up to three specialist IP courts and has developed a customs system that prevents the exportation of counterfeit goods. So go ahead, don’t be scared to buy that ‘made in China’ product.
3) Commercial Licensing is the future in Tech: Early in the year, it was a scramble for wireless technology and why not? Wireless Tech is what we all want. Nobody wants to have to sit next to a socket for three hours just because they want to charge their phones. Companies were in a rat-race to develop and patent new wireless tech. There was talk of 5G wireless networks, and no doubt in better climes, people already use some of this tech.
We do however need to take a step back and re-focus. Of course patents are good and nice, but the goal is not to create a monopoly. What patents do are that they are meant to serve as a form of incentive to innovators. We still need to aim at providing a free market where all players can operate. Imagine an ocean where 70% of the ships are crewless and transporting cargo. It would be most unfair if all of these ships are produced by the same company just because that company is the only one with rights to make use of the technology.
Commercial licensing still provides revenue for the innovator. In fact, there are now companies that do not produce anything but just develop new innovations and license them out. Encourage licensing without any form of bias today!
4) Block chain: Everyone is talking about blockchain. It’s the perfect way to store digital information. Blockchain could store information about copyrights telling you when it was created, and who the creator is. And so you’re not hindered from using a work because you’re not sure if it still enjoys copyright protection or not. And also, moral rights of an author are forever protected.
A blockchain also helps performance rights agencies secure their clients royalties because the blockchain records every time the work of that client is played and they can easily get paid with a smart contract.
5) Pursue a risk-free approach: Particularly for IP counsels, do not heavily depend on litigation, make sure your IP is well protected and due diligence before any acquisition or registration of IP is very important. Try as much as possible to avoid litigation or any action that could bring about disputes. You sure don’t want to be a victim of global turbulence.
Written By: Joshua Solomon(Research Team)