Imagining the IP future


Three years ago the European Patent Office launched an innovative project to consider how the IP environment may evolve by 2025. What they discovered will have far-reaching consequences for IP users, owners and policy makers, says project leader Shirin Elahi

In 1159 John of Salisbury wrote in his Metalogicon a passage that uniquely conveys the sense of the importance of patents in the innovation process: "Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."

The scenarios project In 2004 the European Patent Office initiated a scenarios project to examine the environment in which it operates. The primary aim was to ensure that the organization and the system it serves remain fit for purpose. This investigation, which entailed simulating possible future worlds (or scenarios), developed from a small, internally focussed project to a wide-ranging exercise involving more than 150 experts from many disciplines...


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