The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) influences the innovation and IP policies enacted by countries around the world, particularly emerging markets. WIPO wields influence through activities such as research, technical assistance, treaty administration, and hosting negotiations aimed at developing new IP policy guidelines and treaties. Innovators can have a voice in shaping innovation policy environments by engaging with WIPO, its Member States, and other Geneva-based international organizations, such as WTO and WHO, that influence the conditions for technological advancement.
A 12-month pilot project, launched in August 2020, will establish a new cross-sectoral group of innovators to engage with WIPO’s incoming administration and Member States on IP and innovation policy matters. The group will also provide thought leadership within the Geneva IP and trade communities.
The Urgent Need for the Innovators Group
Innovation delivers novel, cost-effective technology solutions and services and is an important driver
of sustainable growth, job creation, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. To foster innovation, governments must enact the right enabling policies. Policies must support investments in R&D, the commercialization of new solutions, collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and scientific and technical capacity-building over the medium- to long-term. Innovators, including private companies and university technology transfer offices, have critical experience and insights to share with policymakers about what works well and why.
Governments look to WIPO for guidance in developing enabling innovation policy frameworks. Recently, WIPO has taken a less active role in global IP policy discussions, ceding ground to other UN agencies that do not have IP as part of their mandates. On October 1, 2020, Mr Daren Tang, Chief
Executive of the IP Office of Singapore will begin a six-year term as the new Director-General of WIPO. This provides the opportunity for businesses and other stakeholders to renew engagement with the organization and have a stronger voice in shaping innovation and IP policies worldwide by contributing
to WIPO’s activities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven officials in certain countries to consider weakening their nations’ IP policies in order to increase access to products and services required for an effective COVID-19 response. Such initiatives may result in counterproductive policy choices that undermine future innovation and technology diffusion in sectors beyond healthcare.
Innovators’ voices are most effectively heard by WIPO when brought to the table through on-the-ground representation in Geneva. This is what the new cross-sectoral innovator’s group will do.
We will aim to be a resource for policymakers at the global, regional, and national levels. We will seek to contribute evidence-based insights in order to shape WIPO’s work program, publications, and technical assistance. We will do this by sharing our members’ practical experiences developing and managing technology, and their perspectives on the innovation process and optimal policies for encouraging invention. We will disseminate original position papers, case studies, and other materials to advance our group’s goals.
Initially, our group will consist of 12 to 15 innovative companies and research institutes that develop and commercialize new technology and other solutions that improve people’s lives. Our founding members will represent different sectors and geographies. We may also reach out to like-minded
industry groups to participate. We are currently working with a professional communications team to develop a website and compelling content and messaging that will resonate with stakeholders in Geneva and beyond, and with the media. In the fall of 2020, we will seek WIPO and WTO NGO accreditation so that we can engage formally with these organizations and their Member States as an official observer.
Our group will be represented by Jennifer Brant, who previously served as Director of Innovation Insights, a cross-sectoral industry group that advocated for enabling IP and innovation policies. Jennifer has more than 20 years of experience developing and executing policy and market access strategies as well as working with NGOs, innovative companies, industry groups, UN agencies, and sovereign clients to achieve their goals. Jennifer will manage a team of communications consultants and IP experts based in Singapore, the United States, and South Africa. Collectively, this team represents more than 60 years of expertise running successful communications and policy campaigns and has deep knowledge of innovation and IP policy issues.
This pilot project will run from August 2020 through September 2021. Participation in the pilot phase will be free or in exchange for a nominal fee. Should you choose to join, your time commitment will involve 1-hour group calls every other week, periodic one-on-one calls with Jennifer, and time spent reviewing public documentation and messaging (optional).
If your organization is interested in influencing innovation and IP policies globally through participation in this group, please contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or +41 798185266.
Written by Jen Brant, Director, Innovation Insights