IP Federation Review

The fourth industrial revolution has been heralded for the past decade but, at least for me, 2023 was the year it materialised, and intellectual property was at the heart of it.

The most striking indication of a revolution was the rapid democratisation of generative AI tools that produce impressive (although not perfect) results. Within the blink of an eye, these tools have become everyday collaborators to many. As a result, much interest and debate has been stirred in the media and around the kitchen table, a good deal of it focussed on IP: People in my social and family life who have never shown an interest in IP before have recently been asking me about copyright – I like the attention!

In addition to the interaction of copyright and AI, the apparent step change in availability of effective AI tools has raised questions for other areas of IP. For several years the main issue around AI and IP seemed to be the rather academic question of whether AI could be an inventor within the framework of the patent system. Suddenly, the ability to generate a plethora of disclosures at the push of a button raises more existential questions for a range IP rights.

These recent developments have only served to bolster my appreciation of the tremendous worth of being a member of the IP Federation. The reader will appreciate from the range of insightful articles in this review, the depth and diversity of expertise of the Federation’s many members and advisors. Having access to this resource is invaluable when facing the challenges and opportunities for IP that lay ahead.

The IP Federation has a track record of spotting issues at an early stage and providing policy makers and other stakeholders with balanced and sound advice. A shining example of this is the vital role of the IP Federation in ensuring that the UK acceded to the CPTPP on terms that maintain the UK’s membership of the EPC. An outcome that was so important for many innovative companies.

So, it is with great pleasure and a sense of humility that I have had the opportunity to pen the introduction for this, the IP Federation’s annual review. The reader will find within its pages a reflection of only a fraction vast amount of work conducted by the Federation in seeking to improve the global IP system.

Many people have contributed to this review and many more to the work of the Federation. I thank them all for their valued (and often unsung) work. I would particularly like to thank my two vice-presidents – Matthew Hitching and Adrian Howes – for their help in driving the Federation forward and our secretariat – David England and Helen Georghiou – who keep the Federation running.