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Utynam's Heirs

A monthly column devoted to IP curiosities and controversies, named in honour of John of Utynam – who received the world's first recorded patent in 1449

Go-go IP

Utynam was pleased to attend the European Patent Forum in Munich last month, where 400 IP owners, policy makers and campaigners grappled with the thorny questions of globalization, geopolitical shifts and the legitimacy of the patent system.

EPO officials and a team of consultants have been busy developing a series of scenarios for the year 2025 designed to challenge the conventional thinking of bureaucrats more used to redesigning rules of procedure and calculating whether the EPO pension fund will last until they retire than considering whether the patent system itself might collapse.

The challenging tone of the meeting was set when the audience was treated to a multimedia extravaganza. The show featured an opera singer, robot dancers and a pair of futuristic go-go girls who, it seemed, had little else on their minds than searching for answers to questions such as "How are the ethical...

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