Last week (April 24 & 25) I was in Moscow participating in the Russia’s Innovative Potential Forum organized by the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent), Federal Institute for Industrial Property (FIPS) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in celebration of World IP Day. There were more than 200 people present in Moscow for the forum and live, two-way videoconferencing was established for IP practitioners in St. Petersburg and three other regional centers around Russia. In all, more than 300 people participated in the forum that focused on the steps the government of Russia was taking to increase the importance and economic impact of intellectual property to the innovators and builders of the knowledge economy within the country.
The forum was kicked off by Mr. Boris Simonov, Director General of Rospatent, followed by introduction and welcome remarks by the Federal Council for Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Ministries of Economic Development and Education and Science for the Russia Federation, the Head of the Section for Innovation and Technical Promotion from WIPO and the Director, Division for Technical Cooperation of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The Russia and Korean patent offices have been cooperating with one another for several years now and the Korean representatives were invited to provide an update to some of the Russia languages searching and educational tools that are being developed by KIPO. The language of the forum was Russian with simultaneous translation into English provided by two interpreters.
Presentations were made during the morning by the Minister of Economic Affairs for the Republic of Tatarstan who spoke on IP Efficient Management as a Factor of Improvement of the Regional Competitive Position and by the Director, Institute of International Business and Law in St, Petersburg who spoke about Regional Strategies in the Field of Intellectual Property.
In many ways, the forum felt like the first Patent Information Annual Conference (PIAC) I attended in Beijing in 2010 where the overall goal was to promote the establishment of a knowledge based economy in China as a whole by finding ways to incentivize the individual regional centers and get them to begin understanding and valuing the importance of intellectual property, especially patents and how by doing so become a greater force still in the emerging global economy.
The government of Russia is working along the same lines and is looking to establish stronger university and industry partnerships and in particular the establishment of new companies spun-out from university research programs to commercialize the innovations coming from their well-established university system. They recognize that their economy is currently driven by oil exports and they want to ensure that they are investing some of this capital into a transformation into a knowledge economy. They recognize that in order to accomplish this goal they need to begin now to encourage and strengthen IP protection in Russia.
Korea is held up as a shining, recent example of the transformative effectives of a powerful intellectual property system since they are now the 11th largest economy in the world. In the 1950’s the majority of their exports were centered on agricultural and mineral exports but today the economy is powered by strong, global companies in the electronics, automotive and appliance industries. KIPO credits a portion of their success to the educational and outreach programs they established early in the development of their governments program to promote the importance of Intellectual Property to their students and businesses.
The Russian Patent Office believes that it is not only important to provide training and facilities for patent searching but that they also need to develop competency in generating business critical insights from patent and other forms of technical data. For this reason they are interested in learning best practices and developing the skills necessary to generate patent landscaping reports and performing other forms of patent analytics. They believe that by analyzing patent data they can reach their goal of making patents an integral part of corporate strategy and operations.
In cooperation with WIPO, Rospatent and FIPS I was brought to Moscow to provide the first stage of training to help develop the skills and capabilities of the first generation of patent analysts within Russia. In conjunction with WIPO, Rospatent has established more than 80 Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs) throughout Russia. Staff members from each TISC were invited to participate in the training session held in half-day increments on April 24th and 25th. The TISC program is a worldwide initiative and one of its leaders from WIPO is Andrew Czajkowski. Andrew invited me to produce and provide the training materials on behalf of WIPO. This very first patent landscaping fundamental session was held in Russia due to the depth and breadth of their TISC network and their stated desire to derive business critical insight from patent data.
Andrew is also in charge of organizing patent searching workshops in many WIPO member state countries around the world and one of my colleagues, who provided one of these training courses, cautioned me that the audience would be attentive but that they might not ask many questions. I was pleasantly surprised that even with the difficulties of live translation and the fact that my materials were in English as opposed to Russian, that after the first coffee break, as the attendees grew comfortable they began to ask questions. Some of the questions were on details of patent analytics, especially the cost of some of the available commercial tools but a number of the questions had to do with whether a stronger patents system truly led to a more robust economy. I shared that I truly believed this to be the case and once again pointed to the example of Korea, the earlier example of Japan and my experience with China to establish a pattern for success.
After a first, half-day of lecture style training we began the second day with hands-on, practical examples of how to perform some of the tasks associated with patent landscaping include patent assignee clean-up and list generation, the production of co-occurrence matrices and some simple forward citation analysis. There were more than 30 people sharing ten computers in the training room made available for this session and even with the difficulties of translation, working with a copy of Microsoft Excel from the early 2000’s (including trying to navigate the software with Russian menus), and the availability of only two people to help each group with the steps, we were able to make excellent progress in providing hands-on skills for these emerging patent analysts. We finished our session by speaking briefly about some of the commercial tools available for when their skills developed to the point that they were able to take on additional capabilities.
The session was ending too soon in the eyes of most of the participants since I was nearly mobbed at the end by people who wanted to ask additional questions and find out if I would be returning to Russia in the future to continue the lessons we started. It was very encouraging to see so much enthusiasm and interest in the topic of patent analytics and that so many of the TISC staff are hungry for additional opportunities to develop skills in this area.