A few months ago, I posted a three-part series entitled The Real McCoy: Should Intellectual Property Rights be the New Civil Rights in America? In that article, I explained that, in the last thirty years or so, there has been a shift from a labor economy to a knowledge economy. Consequently, intangible assets (with intellectual property rights (IPR) being chief among them) have emerged as the most powerful asset class, overtaking more traditional capital assets such as real estate, plant and equipment. I then went on to define and point out that there is an “Innovation Gap” – disparities between classes of people, caused by societal hindrances, which prevent them from securing the IP rights necessary to economically exploit the fruits of their creativity. I then argued that given the existence of an innovation gap, and the fact that we are in an information age with another industrial revolution on the way, IPR should be the focus of a renewed civil rights movement. After all, the world’s natural resources may be shrinking, but the opportunities for there to be new candidates for IPR ownership are ever expanding!
I ended my three-part article by recommending that members of the IP Bar should strive to volunteer more pro bono hours in order to help bridge the innovation gap. Encouragingly, I received some emails from IPWatchdog.com readers asking, “how can I help?” Well, after some research, here is a list of some organizations around the country seeking patent, trademark and copyright pro bono attorney volunteers.
Raymond Millien, BS, Columbia University, JD, George Washington University, was named one of the “World’s 300 Leading IP Strategists” by IAM Magazine in 2012. He is the co-founder of PCT® Law Group, PLLC. Established in 2008, PCT has offices in Virginia, Florida, and Washington, DC. He is the former General Counsel of Ocean Tomo and was VP and IP Counsel at The American Express Company. He can be reached at email@example.com.
PLEASE NOTE: This article reflects his current views and should not be necessarily attributed to his former, current or future employers, or their clients.
To occurs to me that, the design of the patent laws themselves may be the biggest factor in either empowering or hindering those with limited starting resources.
As one example, consider European “absolute novelty” (no public disclosure) versus U.S. grace period (harmonization).
Absolute novelty” unnecessarily creates a Catch-22 taking/preventing. The very things those with limited starting knowledge/resources use to advance their invention, are used against the inventors, to prevent they from patenting and benefiting from their invention.
There are many others, including those that unnecessarily increase the inventors costs.
There is a need for a series of articles about this, here and/or elsewhere.
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