The Future of Intellectual Property Lies with Children
The future of Intellectual Property is in education and children, as highlighted by the participants in the closing plenary of ABPI’s 43rd Congress on Tuesday, August 22. The panel included Kathi Vidal, Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); Etienne Sanz de Acedo, CEO of the International Trademark Association (INTA); Sheriff Saadallah, Executive Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); and Luiz Henrique O. do Amaral, former president of ABPI and AIPPI (International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property). ABPI President Gabriel Leonardos moderated the discussion.
In her presentation, Kathi Vidal, who also serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property in the US government, described several educational projects being promoted by the USPTO. These include entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property programs organized in high schools, universities, libraries, and children’s summer camps, as well as pro bono educational programs for new entrepreneurs and even in collaboration with the military. “Our goal is to reach every corner of the US, wherever people are, regardless of location or financial status,” stated the USPTO Director.
For Saadallah, the future will be marked by a technological revolution, making it essential to educate the new generations about IP. “Innovation waves are emerging in all economies, from supercomputing to biotechnology, from nanotechnology to quantum computing, and these trends shape the future trajectory of IP.”
Saadallah explained that WIPO has 14 training institutes around the world, a number that is expanding to African and Asian countries. He mentioned that there are already over 90 IP mentoring projects benefiting over 300,000 non-traditional entrepreneurs, including those from indigenous communities. “IP of the future is inclusive, bringing together traditionally underserved segments of society, such as women,” he affirmed.
Acedo, from INTA, brought forth challenges that Intellectual Property of the future will have to face. One of them is evaluating how Artificial Intelligence and its derivatives, like blockchain and ChatGPT, are impacting the IP value chain. Another threat, according to him, is online platforms that are replacing law firms and discouraging IP use. “Patent applications might become a commodity type, and machines could perform a significant portion of the law firms,” he cautioned. He concluded with optimism, “The landscape will be challenging, and despite the apprehension, we have the responsibility to shape this future and provide the right answers.”
Amaral, on the other hand, pointed out the lack of an IP education program in Brazilian schools but painted an optimistic picture of the future. “Everything that is happening will help us grow in Brazil. We have a large population, and children love technology, so they must be educated. I envision a more integrated society in the future, and IP can be the vehicle to aid this, monetize ideas, capture the value of creation, and create a positive cycle for society.” He saw the major challenge as learning to harness Artificial Intelligence. “My concern is that we might have a societal divide, leaving many excluded. Hence, we need more and more Brazilians acquiring, digesting, and knowing how to profit from AI.”