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Are IP associations failing us?

There are too many of them, but too few that can represent the industry globally. Simon Crompton argues that IP associations need to become larger and more professional

There are a lot of IP associations around the world: at least four that purport to be global, six or more regional bodies, and scores of national ones. They represent a variety of constituencies, among lawyers, attorneys and IP owners, and various types of IP right. Yet there are big holes, too. There is no global body lobbying for patent rights, or copyright, and both are badly needed.

Some of the associations, such as INTA, are expanding rapidly across the industry and the world. In the coming years this could exacerbate the overlap between bodies that already exist in some regions – particularly Europe – and make some associations less relevant. Soul-searching reports, such as that recently commissioned by AIPPI, could lead to aggressive reform and further attempts at expansion. The recently announced merger of AIPPI-US with AIPLA, and the latter's global outreach, demonstrate similar ambition.

At the same time, the role...

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