Friday, 27 May 2011

New Russian IP agency announced

President Medvedev announced the creation of a federal intellectual property service last Tuesday, according to this report from RIA Novosti, the state news agency. It seems that it will bring together Rospatent (the Russian Agency for Patents and Trade Marks) and FAPRID (the Federal Agency on Intellectual Property Protection) and the report suggests that it is intended to help Russia qualify for membership of WTO.

The trouble is, benchmarks in international intellectual property protection tend to be set by the United States, whose policy seems to be dictated more by what Hargreaves called lobbynomics than an evidence-based approach. Russian membership of WTO, a cynic might think, is dependent on it enacting legislation and establishing institutions to the satisfaction of a small number of large US corporations. It adds to the impression that intellectual property is now an end in itself, not the means to an end - an impression reinforced by some of the Hargreaves proposals and by the European Commission's latest pronouncements. Russia's creation of a new agency reminds me of the empire that the government has built around our own Patent Office, which I don't believe is the right institution to be promoting ... what? The problem is, even if it characterises its activities as promoting innovation, it looks much more like promoting intellectual property. Means and ends again.

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