Need for integrated approach – IPR – Express Pharma Pulse

Need for integrated approach

Minds to Market – III

A good idea is seldom enough to succeed in today’s competitive market. Delivering value in the market place and securing worldwide IPRs are the key differentials in competitiveness, says Dr Prabuddha Ganguly in the concluding part

Successful management of intellectual assets requires an integrated approach across the major domains of knowledge that include discoveries and innovations, people and organizational designs—and the linking of innovation management to the overall national strategy or sustained growth.

We need to critically examine the parameters, which would create, facilitate and activate the feedback in establishing a symbiotic relationship in the continual innovation stream that would aid potential reinvigoration of the innovation process in organizations and work for overall social good. National policies on R&D and technology, industry and commerce, human resource development, coupled with a strong and enforceable IPR regime would play a major role in such creations.

Steps ahead

The future competitive advantage of knowledge-based activities will primarily be determined by their ability to create, market and manage ‘value -added’ intellectual assets at speeds to derive ‘first in the market’ advantage in a framework of self-sustained innovation. Contract research, sponsored collaborations, cross-functional teams between competitors, industry-university joint projects etc are modes of operations that are on an exponential rise. Contract research has gained considerable ground in the last few years to reach a value of $3.9 billion growing at a rate of 20 to 30 per cent per annum, most of which is contributed by the pharmaceutical industry. Working with high-tech companies also involves developing complex licensing agreements.

For example, several small companies with niche technologies have partnered with very large companies to market their products internationally. The big company on behalf of the small company has managed IPR protection in various countries. Technology intelligence must become an integral part of the innovation process and organizations will be able to identify opportunities rather than be guided in strategy by threats.

It is imperative that through cooperative efforts between the government, the private sector, and academics institutions have to develop:

  • Organisational IPR Policies
  • Expertise to access the global knowledge base
  • Human skill base for enhancement of creativity, innovation and delivery
  • Working global collaborations
  • Niche areas for profitable business as part of the global innovation and business value chain
  • Skills in the use of IP information
  • Models for valuation of IP assets, structuring of transactions, licences
  • Ability to conduct IP and information security due diligence
  • Rich knowledge base in the educational institutions in developing and least developing countries with appropriate IPR ownerships to utilise them with mutual-benefit sharing arrangements

This is the only way in which the academic and R&D institutions especially in the developing and least developed nations would come up with ‘path-breaking technologies’ to make themselves worthwhile partners in international economic competitiveness, law enforcement, national security, and find a place in world S&T leadership.

Technology business incubators

A new paradigm that has emerged in the last decade is Technology Business Incubators in which researchers turned entrepreneurs in academic institutions are able to start spin-offs to commercialise their work. Globally such venture-backed companies have produced a disproportionate share of new jobs, particularly well-paid and highly skilled jobs, and are a key source of R&D spending. Governments are increasingly becoming aware and supportive of venture capital investment. Academic institutions and R&D organizations will have to change their working and administrative cultures to promote such set-ups.

A good idea is seldom enough to succeed in today’s competitive market. Delivering value in the market place and securing worldwide intellectual property rights (IPRs) are the key differentials in competitiveness. Leading companies are distinguished by their success in managing this innovation process. Meaningful national policies on intellectual property rights largely aid in the building up of a nation’s innovation tempo and spirit. However several contradictory issues need resolution in fostering academic-industry relationships.

Wealth generation and distribution in interdependent economies

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Industry-academic relationship

Industry-academic relationships especially those that have cross-border linkages suffer from the major hurdles on key issues of liabilities and jurisdictional aspects in case of legal disputes.

It is experienced that most industries in the developed world funding research projects in institutions in the developing or the least developed countries insist on strict liability clauses with legal jurisdiction in their own countries. National and institutional policies on such matters would be of significance in establishing the desired collaborations. The government should enact supportive legislations appropriate to our countries.

Industries funding research or taking licenses would generally demand exclusive ownership of the developed technologies. The academicians on the other hand as party of their role human resource building and peer group recognition would desire joint ownerships, options to publish early in the technology life cycle possibly post filing of patents, use the developed material for further research and teaching etc. The industry may not favour such options in view of their corporate strategy. Strategic trade-offs have to be arrived at. Newer ways of group working between academics and industry will have to evolve, which would take care of professional and developmental needs of the academicians and the competitive commercial interests of the industry.

This millennium will see significant progress in industry-university alliances, evolution of centres of specialized excellence, cross-border collaborations with globally networked teams performing in a value-added chain. The institutions, which are unable to adjust to the emerging realities will either get marginalized or cease to exist.

The writer is Advisor, Vision-IPR and adjunct professor, IIT Mumbai