The ninth edition of the Business of IP Asia Forum (BIP Asia) sought to build innovation and inclusiveness in business through intellectual property, with more than 2,200 people from 25 countries and regions attending last December’s two-day conference in Hong Kong.
In recent years, Asia has experienced the fastest growth of IP usage, while globally, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has reported a ninth consecutive year of growth in patent applications, with a year-on-year increase of 5.2 per cent in 2018 to 3.3 million, with 66.8 per cent of all applications coming from Asia. Hong Kong’s advantages as an innovation and IP trading hub were highlighted in a number of sessions, including in discussions about IP developments in Asia, as well as opportunities in the Greater Bay Area.
In her opening remarks Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Executive Director Margaret Fong said that Hong Kong would continue to build on its strengths, noting that the SAR “plays a vital role in supporting the incredible level of IP activity in Mainland China and Asia as a whole, providing a connection to the international market.”
Kenichi Nagasawa, Managing Executive Officer, Group Executive of Corporate Intellectual Property & Legal Headquarters, Canon Inc. agreed. With 70 percent of applications from Asia coming from China, Nagasawa commented on Hong Kong’s opportunity to serve as a bridge. “When foreign companies file the application in China, they are always afraid there may be some infringement. China also has many courts, many jurisdictions in China. So, how to choose the jurisdiction, how to choose the right person to understand the worldwide standard -- that is a very important issue. Hong Kong people -- there is a great number of talented people, they can help, maybe they can give some advice based on the world standard. This is very helpful for foreign companies.”
The opening day of BIP Asia also featured the second edition of IPHatch Hong Kong, an open-innovation competition for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses via the use of intellectual property and technology portfolios from leading multinational corporations. Winners from the inaugural edition shared their start-up journeys, while a second panel discussion focused on the integral connection between IP and the triple bottom line of profits, people and the planet.
The Global Tech Summit during the forum’s second day saw a number of discussions by industry leaders on emerging and disruptive technologies that are or have the possibility of having a profound economic impact. On artificial intelligence, Dr. Arno Hold, Executive Director, the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) remarked: “AI has the potential to disrupt the patent law, the IP system, I think it is important that we carefully consider whether the current system is still able to accommodate this new technology, or there is a need for new regulations, there is certainly a need for harmonisation in that field, with the quick development of this technology.”
The forum also featured breakout sessions on legal infrastructure and frameworks, dispute resolution, patent protection strategies and how IP innovation and market insight can further drive growth and profitability. An IP Manager Training Programme held concurrently with the forum, provided an opportunity for Hong Kong businesses, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to build capacity in IP management, including enhancing competitiveness and growth through the value of IP.
While Hong Kong continues to grow its own IP offerings, BIP Asia also emphasised the city’s role as a focal point for IP trading and as Asia’s IP marketplace for technology transfer, licensing, franchising and copyright trading.
With nine editions of the forum complete, the 10th anniversary edition of BIP Asia is scheduled to be hosted on December 3 and 4, 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Further details will be available on BIP Asia’s official website, www.bipasiaforum.com.