World IP Forum 2021 – Accelerating Innovation Through Collaboration

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Intellectual Property in all its forms is a key asset to compete, locally, or globally. Industries that rely on IP play an essential role in the global economy, and IP represent an increasingly important role to maintain organisational competitiveness.

As we face the current crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic we can note that during the last crisis, the global financial crisis of 2008, investments in intangibles were affected significantly less than those investments in tangible assets. However, our current IP systems and tools may not be a perfect fit for tomorrow’s business which increasingly utilise soft forms of IP such as know-how, trade secrets and data.

In the recent IP Action plan published by the European Commission in November 2020 we recognised five challenges ahead that impact Europe’s recovery and resilience. While all five of the challenges will be recognised by SMEs, one of these five challenges explicitly mentions the needs of SMEs. We recognise that not all SMEs take full advantage of their IP, and that even where IP rights are protected, SMEs report the IP systems are too costly, complex and difficult to navigate.

In 2021’s World IP Day, WIPO also notes the importance of IP & SMEs.

SMEs that only operate with data, a common approach for Industry 4.0 and IoT, may have no formally registered IP rights. Even those that hold registered IP, typically do so for long term corporate valuation, or investment, rather than supporting revenue generation.

The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated our dependence on critical innovations and technologies, and reminded us all of the importance of effective IP rules and tools to secure a fast deployment of critical IP.

Post-COVID recovery is likely to be driven the SMEs. SMEs are the core of the global economy, typically accounting for around 90 percent of all businesses worldwide.

More generally the development of sustainable industry ecosystems will be greatly enhanced by collaborative innovation and we must ensure that the IP systems in place facilitate that collaboration rather than hinder it.

We believe that IP is essential for collaboration between organisations – IP is an enabler of collaboration. As with all aspects of management it is important to recognize what you have (IP audits) before you can begin to manage what a third party may wants access to, and how to control that.

Sharing soft-IP, forms that are not formally protected, such as data and know-how introduces further problems that need to be addressed.

Cubicibuc will be discussing these issues at the World IP Forum, from 26th April to 5 May. For details and more information visit: