As part of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Development Agenda project “Developing Tools for Access to Patent Information” (DA_19_30_31_02) a second regional workshop on patent analytics was held on December 4-6th in Manila, The Philippines. As with the first event, held in Rio de Janeiro in August, the workshop was held in conjunction with the Guidelines for the Preparation of Patent Landscape Reports (PLRs) project that WIPO initiated at the beginning of the year. The event was jointly organized this time by The Intellectual Property Office of The Philippines (IPOPHL). On this occasion more than 80 people participated in the three-day workshop, which again featured representatives from Latin America, as well as new participants from other Southeast Asian countries.
Gerhard Fischer, from Syngenta, Lutz Mailänder and Irene Kitsara, both from WIPO, were once again in attendance but we were joined this time by Cynthia Barcelon-Yang, Director Scientific Information & Patent Analysis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Tiam-Lin Sze Director, IP Intermediary (IPI) from Singapore. Collectively this distinguished collection of practitioners shared their many years of experience performing patent analytics and providing patent landscape reports. For the people just beginning to learn the process of generating PLRs hearing from several industry experts was one of the highlights of the event.
The slides of almost all of the presentations given during the workshop can be found at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=31543 and while the guidelines themselves have not been published yet, the slides from the workshop provide much of the content that will be available in the document. The team working on the guidelines are working on the final version, after receiving feedback during both workshops, and another announcement will be made when the first edition is published
The primary purpose of the workshop was to provide patent analysis training for the participants, who are mostly from developing countries that are just starting to leverage the use of patent information to provide economic benefit, and help inform public policy decisions. A nice secondary benefit is the development of a worldwide network of practitioners who have had the opportunity to work together and are reaching out to help one another based on these workshops. This principle was most evident when hearing about the progress that has been made in the Latin American patent offices since the last workshop was held in August. Most of the same representatives from Columbia, Mexico and Cuba provided updated presentations on the work they are accomplishing, and it was very clear that the training provided in Brazil has already made a profound impact on the work that is being done in these countries. It was also very gratifying to see that several of the offices have started working with data scientists from Universities within their countries ,and have explored the use of advanced analysis techniques to inform their decision-making. In particular, network analysis seemed to be a very popular technique, and while there are a limited number of commercial tools that provide this functionality two of the Latin American offices showed the participants how they were using open source tools to create these visualizations.
Since the workshop was in Southeast Asia this time representatives from Singapore, Vietnam, Mongolia, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were also invited. Singapore has a well developed collection of IP related services providers in their country with 14 organizations providing patent valuation services and 26 offering searching and landscaping, but it was clear that the development of these capabilities was just beginning in the other areas. The opportunity to see the rapid progress made by the Latin American countries, and the obvious benefit these services are providing in those countries were inspiring to them as they started building their skill sets.
Which brings me to our hosts, The Intellectual Property Office of The Philippines who I can’t speak highly enough of for their wonderful hospitality during the workshop. Virginia Aumentado joined us in Brazil and she brought everyone up to date on the excellent work that IPOPHL has accomplished since we last met in August. It was also very gratifying to see a number of high-ranking IPOPHL, and Philippines Government officials who joined us during the course of the three-days. In particular the Director General of the Office, Ricardo Blancaflor opened the workshop and was present at the social event held after the first day. The two Deputy Director Generals of the Office, Nelson Laluces and Allan Gepty also joined us for the networking events held after the first two days. Most of the hard work of organizing the event fell to Director Carmen Peralta who heads the Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Division and whose staff, including Virginia made all of the arrangements. Director Peralta, and her co-workers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for ensuring the event was so well received, and successful.
The participants of the workshop spent three long days together learning about patent analytics and landscaping, but we also had a great deal of fun in the evenings thanks to our generous hosts. All of us were treated to performances from a collection of dancers, and an impressive vocalist, all of whom work at IPOPHL, and shared their talents with us during the festivities after the first day. The highlight of the evening though was the children’s choir and dance troupe, who attend one of the local schools, and were invited to entertain us with some holiday classics. As you can see from the pictures below the young people insisted that some of the guests get actively involved in the performance.
A slight departure from the topic of patent landscape reports took place during the conclusion of the workshop when Lutz Mailänder introduced the participants to the new Legal Status Portal that WIPO has made available from the PatentScope page. The portal can be accessed under the Browse menu in PatentScope or directly from the following URL http://www.wipo.int/branddb/portal/portal.jsp. As can be seen in the image below the portal covers most of the world, and provides direct access to online national registers and additional information on legal status information available around the planet.
While there was a lot of fun and camaraderie shared between the participants it was tempered by the knowledge that in the southern portions of the Philippines the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines) was still being felt. For those of you who haven’t already done so, and are so inclined, donations to the Red Cross are encouraged to help the people affected by this disaster. I was told that IPOPHL is taking the entire budget that they would have devoted to their annual Christmas party and have donated those funds to typhoon relief efforts.
Patent analysis, and in particular the generation of patent landscape reports, continues to gain in popularity as a tool for strategic decision-making, both in the public, and private sectors. This second regional workshop once again demonstrated how important this work is to developing countries who are looking to these techniques to help them take advantage of the technological advancements that are taking place around the world. In addition to providing a unique training opportunity, the workshop also provided a forum for creating a network of interested individuals who can now rely on one another to share best practices and techniques as they continue to apply the items they learned during the session. The development of these relationships was one of the critical outcomes from the organization of these events.