Intellectual property - have you got a strategy?
With demonstrations being held across Europe against the Anti/Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), protecting intellectual property (IP) has never been a more divisive topic.
And, with IP forming the focus of discussions at the Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg conference on IP for Enterprise Competitiveness, there was clearly more to be said on the subject than what can daubed on banners in city squares.
Hosted by BGL BNP Paribas, three specialists in the field described the importance of IP to Luxembourg, as an economic growth driver as well as a tool for economic recovery. But, to battle IP challenges and maximise the opportunities created, the message was clear that businesses need an IP strategy to do all of the above.
During the event, Luxembourg IP office director Lex Kaufhold shed light on the country’s efforts to support innovation associated with IP. He explained how one aspect of IP, patenting, was generating opportunities for renewal and growth in Luxembourg.
According to government figures, patenting applications grew from 22,139 in 2010 to 22,568 in 2011. “We’ve ten times more [applications] than our Belgian neighbours and seven times more than our Dutch neighbours,” Mr Kaufhold said.
Mr Kaufhold cited positive trends in the Luxembourg tax legislation, providing incentives for Research and Development as well as the low effective tax rate on royalty income (5.72%) and 80% tax exemption on capital gains qualifying for IP rights.
But, he described how the government is also working on initiatives such as the creation of common scientific platforms, the implementation of concerted international projects and, at grass roots level, awareness raising about copyright in schools around Luxembourg.
“In a global world our only assets are creativity, knowledge and know-how. Certain measures have already been implemented and they’re already bearing fruit,” he said.
Conference special guest Narendra Sabharwal, former Deputy Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation, Geneva, underlined the importance of IP for growth and recovery.
“If you see IP statistics, there’s an interesting picture. In 2009 there was an economic downturn in IP activity but in 2010 they rebounded across the board. What does it show? Countries and enterprises which keep an investment in innovation have a better chance of recovery and they will have a softer landing as far as the effects of the economy are concerned. I think that this is now realised across the world.”
Mr Sabharwal stressed the need for companies to adopt an IP strategy, to protect their assets at home and abroad. “The internet and E-commerce have added new dimensions to the development of IP. On the one hand they’ve created new opportunities but they have also created new challenges,” he said.
The field expert praised the way that national policy has fused public policy issues with IP issues but acknowledged there was still work to do, particularly to maintain a balance between the rights of the IP rights holders and the rights of society. “This is a political dilemma”, he concluded.
Karin Schintgen, Director, BGL BNP Paribas, Luxembourg, also spoke at the conference, addressing the services offered to IP clients by the bank.
What is intellectual property?
IP is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. Source WIPO