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The 50 people shaping the future of IP

Over the past 11 years, Managing IP’s list of 50 influential people has reflected as well as predicted the evolution of IP rights. This year, the lack of anti-IP figures suggests how the industry's attitude to enforcement is changing

The Top 50 for 2013 includes academics, judges, policy makers, trade negotiators, in-house counsel, bloggers and a movie star. There's Dan Ravicher, who heads the Public Patent Foundation that brought the case against Myriad; Jamie Love, whose campaigns to keep the rights of IP in check have been many and varied; and Guy Fawkes, our byword for IP campaigners around the world.

Top 50 contents:

Jurgen Dressel, Novartis
Colleen Chien, Santa Clara University
Jamie Love, KEI
Liu Chuntian, People's University Law School
Denis Croze, WIPO

Top 50: Americas
Top 50: Asia
Top 50: Europe and Africa

This year, however, we struggled more than usual to justify including those who want to curtail IP rights. That isn't because there aren't IP activists around, or that their arguments are easily dismissed by policy makers. In fact it's quite the opposite. In recent years campaigners have managed to bring down the ill-fated anti-counterfeiting agreement ACTA and, along with a select group of companies (mainly based in Silicon Valley) helped throw out the anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA.

As a result, we think that IP owners may be toning down their IP demands and that politicians are becoming more cautious about offending consumer groups on IP issues. Although some copyright owners' groups lobbied hard against the recently concluded WIPO treaty on the blind, the governments negotiating the deal ultimately bridged their differences and IP owners were quick to accept the agreement, and to be seen to do so with good grace. After Novartis was dealt a blow by the Indian courts in its battle to secure patent protection for Glivec, pharmaceutical companies may be less willing to challenge laws quite so publicly given the public relations backlash they face. That's a lesson the music and film industry learnt some time ago.

Such self-restraint may be a good thing in the long run for IP owners. When IP owners spend more time explaining how IP rights benefit the economy as a whole (and produce the evidence to support their claims) rather than fighting for greater protection, anti-IP activists will have less to protest about. That could dramatically reshape our lists of influential people in years to come.

In the pages linked to below we profile each of the 50 people in this year's list, explain how they have influenced the way that IP is treated by the law and regarded by the public.

Readers might think of other worthy people who have been left out and some might object to those who have been included. Do let us know what you think in the comment fields on every article, or on Twitter @MIP50.

The interviews

Jurgen Dressel, Novartis
Colleen Chien, Santa Clara University
Jamie Love, KEI
Liu Chuntian, People's University Law School
Denis Croze, WIPO

The rest of the Top 50


Charles Bullock
Todd Dickinson
J Scott Evans
Bob Goodlatte
Hugh Hansen
Angelina Jolie
Chaitanya Kanojia
Mike Margáin
Randall Rader
Edith Ramirez
Dan Ravicher
Judge James Robart
Etienne Sanz de Acedo
James Smith
Erich Spangenberg
Teresa Stanek Rea
Tim Tebow


Aftab Alam
Annabelle Bennett
Jack Chang
Kim Dotcom
Kong Xiangjun
Jill McKeough
Song Jianhua
Song Liuping
Prabha Sridevan
Tian Lipu
Teo Ming Kian

Europe and Africa

Joaquín Almunia
Toe Su Aung
Benoît Battistelli
António Campinos
Fernando Dos Santos
Guy Fawkes
Klaus Grabinski
Francis Gurry
Anders Jessen
Kerstin Jorna
Christian Louboutin
Dids Macdonald
Paul Maier
Richard Mollet
Florian Müller
Jeremy Phillips
Pete Wishart

The Top 50 around the world

Not everyone in the Top 50 is based in Brussels, Beijing or Washington DC. Below are some of the more interesting locations of the most influential people in IP.


Article Comments

Thanks for your comment. Since we began compiling our annual list of the most influential people in IP a decade ago we have always included plenty of “anti-IP activists”. We use this as a journalistic (admittedly rather lazy) shorthand for a range of people; those who challenge the fundamental rationale for IP rights to those who simply don’t want to see them expanded further). So we have included people such as Richard Stallman, Ellen ‘t Hoen; Michael Geist; the Thai health minister who issued compulsory licences for pharmaceuticals; representatives of The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure; and so on (there are lots more in the archives). We also recognise that there is no clear divide between “pro” and “anti” approaches to IP (for example, as we saw with bills such as PIPA and SOPA, some very big and very important patent holders opposed the extension of copyright on the internet).

We never have a theoretical struggle to include people with anti-IP perspectives: they have a huge influence on the shape of IP laws and public attitudes to IP. Our point was really that this year, we feel that activists (with some notable exceptions – such as those included in our list) are playing a lower-profile role in the IP scene, which made it harder for us to decide who to include. We were simply speculating that this was a sign of their success rather than anything else. IP owners have had a number of legislative and judicial setbacks in the past few years (ACTA, PIPA, SOPA. WIPO’s development agenda, judicial decisions by SCOTUS and the Indian Supreme Court, to name just a few), partly because IP has gone mainstream and politicians don’t want to be accused of pandering to corporate interests.

That will influence what our list looks like in coming years. Will there be another attempt to introduce an ACTA-style deal in the present climate, for example? We think it’s unlikely, at least in the short term. If that’s true, then there will be less (but not nothing, of course) for “anti-IP activists” to campaign against.

Emma Barraclough Jul 17, 2013

Although enjoying the gist of the article, the truly surprising point about this article for me is the term 'anti-IP activist'.

I would like to ask- why did you struggle to justify including those who wanted to 'curtail IP rights'? This seems like an item for a different article, or at least worthy of further explanation.

Having a different perspective surely would not change how influential these people (who are presumably excluded from the list) are, and I feel that they should be included in a list that is titled 'The 50 People Shaping the Future of IP', whatever their stance/views.

I would have also appreciated more definition of the criteria for inclusion, and what exactly was meant by 'anti-IP activists' for clarification- is this article more of a shout out for 'freedom fighters' in IP than an objective list of the most influential? If so, perhaps it should be renamed?

IP_Lady Jul 17, 2013

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