The Business of IP Asia: Hong Kong's BIP Asia 2012

Uploaded by HKTDC on 26.12.2012

Signing up for a brighter IP future - as the world gets wise to the value of intellectual
property. In this December 2012 ceremony - the Hong
Kong Trade Development Council agreed to closer cooperation with IP organisations in the United
States and Denmark as well as IP exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai on the Chinese mainland.
The deal was reached on the eve of the second Business of IP Asia Forum… which also reflected
Asia’s growing awareness of IP opportunities – and Hong Kong’s role in making them
happen. The event drew more than 14-hundred IP professionals
and government officials from 21 countries and regions – as well as the United Nations
agency that runs an international design registry. The main driver in both trademark and design
registrations was mainland China. That has led to the situation that today Asia is the
number one place – area of registration for trademarks – which has superseded Europe.
This region is one where trade has really broken new frontiers, in particular with respect
to trade in intermediate products. Global production networks that are highly integrated
across the region are prevalent here, and the Asian economies are particularly good
at what we call vertical specialization. To concentrate on certain steps of production
or value added – to integrate to those global chains. Now, what I tried to highlight and
what we are seeing at the World Trade Organisation is that not only are these countries that
integrate into the global supply chains capturing more of the export share, but they’re also
using this as a way of capturing innovation from that, building a domestic innovation
base.” With nearly 40 prominent speakers – the
one-day forum covered a range of topics from trademarks and licensing to the latest trends
relating to copyrights on software, biotechnology and traditional Chinese medicine.
But a common theme was promoting IP awareness among small and medium sized companies.
The public sector has to assess the market a little bit in basically making the market
very transparent so buyers and sellers can find one another.
Now that is obviously not a key problem for the big players in the market - they know
where to go – but we are very keen to look at small and medium sized companies to see
how they can perform in the market. They have to learn the systems. To an unfortunate
degree, we still have regional or mostly national-based system. And learning those and getting the
legal service providers assistance and the expense of that – so one of the things we
talked about is can we do things more regionally, can we begin to harmonise globally.
I worry a little bit that the average SME will say, that’s too macro for me to deal
with – particularly at a policy level. And that’s not necessarily true. I think policy
makers are particularly sensitive to the needs of SMEs in particular – and the communication
from them to policy makers about what they need in this area is critical.
Companies are also being urged to explore IP trading – a promising prospect in Asia
as the economic balance and consumption shifts from West to East.
See that there’s been a huge transitional shift between when I started this business
in 2005 until today – it’s the large corporations around the world in 2005 and 2006 really felt
that ‘if it’s not invented here, it’s not important.’ Today they realise as they
go out to the marketplace and we’re a conduit to Europe, north America and Asia – for
inventions that are sitting in small to medium sized companies, large companies – that
are unused and also individual garage-type inventors.”
And as SMEs get wise to the need to protect as well as market their ideas, using IP channels
– Hong Kong is assuming a greater role in facilitating the process.
I think that culturally speaking and making relationships – I think Hong Kong plays
a very important role. Perhaps not only for mainland China but also the whole Asian region.”
Hong Kong is one of the founding members of the world trade organization – it is a trading
hub in its own right since ancient times, so tradition in creating the positive infrastructure
– both physically but also legally and conceptually for trade to flow seamlessly – has a long
tradition here. So I think the efforts to become a trading place in IP – which is
in part what this conference is about – really tries to build on that tradition
I generally don’t speak at events, because much of our business is very opaque. But I
see such a rise in interest in Chinese companies desiring to buy US patents and European patents
– because they have a fear of the inability to import the products and services to the
western markets. So I’m here to open our doors and our network of buyers and sellers
throughout the world to make it more cohesive. Hong Kong has a very historic role as a facilitator
of trade in general. And I think this – to the extent that IP now is a part of the trade
regime – I think gives them a super opportunity to participate. This conference is a good
example of how they can bring the players together.