Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Recession good for IP?

Perhaps recruiters have a vested interest in talking it up: but AE Feldman, the US executive search firm, tells us in its blog that IP asset management teams are being expanded and becoming more sophisitcated.  "As a result," we learn, "demand for IP talent is growing".

It's predictable that in difficult times businesses will be more protective about their patents and other rights.  (It does seem to be patents that the piece mostly talks about.)  They will want to get patents, though they won't necessarily spend more on doing so - they'll be selective about the countries in which they seek protection, and they will make full use of mechanisms like the EPC (Norway's adherence to which has caused domestic patent business to decline, though how shoarly seems to be a matter of debate).  And they will be buying and selling patents more than ever: it's a good time to be a troll.

Ownership of patents is also a good defence against claims of infringement, so with enforcement also likely to boom in the recession there's another reason to build an armoury of rights.  But I can't help feeling that this is all taking place against the backdrop of a bloated "intellectual property" system in which "owners" try to minimise the inconvenience of limited monopolies, and make their rights go further than they should: another aspect, I'm sure, of the economic situation in which business finds itself.

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