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AIPPI report recommends overhaul

A frank report commissioned by the industry association says AIPPI has “stalled” and needs urgent reform if it is to remain relevant

The report by Robin Rolfe Resources (RRR) tells AIPPI its organisation is too “large and bulky”, that it needs to hire more permanent staff, and that it will only maintain its status if it becomes more of a lobbying body – pushing for the IP harmonisation its resolutions recommend.

AIPPI commissioned the report last year and it was released on the association’s website on Monday. It is not easy to find, however, illustrating some of the criticism of the site contained in the report.

The report, which was based on several surveys by RRR as well as telephone interviews and comparative studies, is described by incoming AIPPI President John Bochnovic as “direct and dramatic, given what we are used to in this organisation”.

John Bochnovic AIPPI
John Bochnovic

But he said it reflects a “real appetite for change”. “It gives us a great platform to make decisions at the Congress in Seoul next month. Given the report and its emphasis on urgency and boldness, we will have failed if we can’t agree something there,” said Bochnovic, who is due to be elected president during the Seoul Congress.

Some of the changes can be implemented “almost immediately”, such as changes to the presentation of information. Others, such as reforming management, may take amendment to the statutes. That could theoretically waiting until the next Congress, in Toronto in 2014.

“There are ways to work around that, though they’re not easy,” said Bochnovic. “I want to get this going much faster than that though – and some things could be voted on remotely even before the Forum at Helsinki in 2013.”

Among the Report’s recommendations are that:

- AIPPI must become more influential and exhibit leadership. It must try to make its ideas on harmonisation a reality

- The national groups have too much control. AIPPI must become centralised

- The management structure is “unnecessarily complicated” with two “essentially identical decision-making bodies”. The executive committee, council of presidents and bureau must be given separate roles

- The association needs more permanent staff

- Joint ventures with academia and industry-specific committees should be established to help fill holes with those two groups

- Advertising and other sources of revenue should be considered

- Communications need to be more editorial and reports edited by a native English speaker

- More than four questions must be addressed at every Congress

- The Congress meetings should be annual and planning for them should be taken away from the group in the host country

Bochnovic says that Rio de Janeiro, which is scheduled to hold a Forum and Executive Committee meeting in 2015, could be transformed into a Congress. He also recognises that destinations such as Cancun – planned for 2018 – can be hard for attendees to justify.

Said Bochnovic: “This is definitely something we needed. We may be ‘too old, too white and too male’, as Robin quotes a respondent saying in her Report, but we are not too old to change.”

The Report will be discussed in detail at the AIPPI Congress in Seoul next month.

Managing IP will be publishing the AIPPI Congress News during the meeting in print and online , with news and reports from Seoul, including an extended interview with Bochnovic.

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