Managing Intellectual Property in the Digital Age
Ian Johnson, Head of IP Legal, CPA Global Limited, UK
Every industry has experienced or is experiencing a significant impact from digitisation. From the decimation of the music industry at the turn of the century to arguments over the validity of Uber’s business model, every business, whether physical, digital or a mixture of both, is facing new challenges and opportunities from the internet age.
Despite this, much of the intellectual property process remains firmly ensconced in an era where paper ruled. It is certainly true that technology has changed how IP is executed: IP correspondence used to be in letter form, before being sent by fax message and more recently by email. However, this does not constitute a revolution in the way IP is managed – the core processes remain the same, as do the lengthy timescales required to file, protect and prosecute.
This is creating tension between the industry and those that it serves. This tension is based on increasing globalisation of business, the pace at which business disruption occurs and the demands on IP specialists driven by the need to generate more from intellectual property. Senior in-house counsel risk being drowned in the increased pace of change unless they can adapt practices and processes to suit the new realities of the digital business environment and deploy technology to their own advantage.
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