At 5.30 pm EST on Sunday, IPBC Global – the annual conference that brings together the world’s IP value creation elite – gets underway in Ottawa with an opening reception at the Fairmont Hotel just across the road from the main event venue – the Shaw conference centre. The Canadian capital is looking in fine shape as it gears up for the big celebration of the country’s 150th anniversary, which takes place on 1st July, Canada Day. This year is also a special anniversary for IPBC Global: its 10th birthday.
The first IPBC took place in Amsterdam back in 2008 and featured a full-scale Ocean Tomo patent auction on the afternoon of the second day which generated $12 million in sales. Another auction played a huge, though unseen, role at our 2011 get together in San Francisco, when delegates kept half an eye on events unwinding over on the East Coast as the seemingly endless rounds of bidding in the Nortel patent sale took place in New York. Just a few days after we finished (having also remotely rung the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange), it was announced - to general astonishment – that the rights had been bought by the Rockstar consortium for $4.5 billion.
Although the first IPBC took place in Europe, the IP market was almost exclusively focused on the US back in 2008. As everyone knows, that is definitely not so anymore. Developments in the US – legislative and judicial – have combined to significantly reduce the value of patents there; while elsewhere the opposite has happened. Globalisation, too, has had a big role to play, with IP owners building new markets and seeking to ensure freedom to operate within them.
When we talked about countries like China at the IPBC 10 years ago, the conversation was all about piracy and counterfeiting - that is no longer the case; and across Asia companies and governments are now embracing the power of IP value creation. Some things don’t change, though: in 2008 Europe was discussing the creation of a unitary patent system and today it continues to do so. Recent news out of Germany, combined with the UK’s increasingly chaotic Brexit, means that next year when we go to San Francisco for IPBC Global 11, the UPC is likely still to be a theory rather than a reality.
Throughout the years, what has stayed the same at IPBC Global is the buzz on that first morning as you see the big names assemble in the plenary room for the opening session; and the constant hum of activity as contacts get together to talk business in the breaks and at the receptions. It’s the seniority and quality of the delegates that make IPBC Global what it is.
From now to the close of the event, the IAM team will be bringing you all the news and gossip from proceedings. It will be Tweeting using the hashtag #IPBCGlobal and there will be full reports on this blog at the end of the sessions on Monday and Tuesday. With well over 500 delegates from more than 30 countries – including corporate IP heads working at many of the world’s most forward-thinking and innovative businesses - now assembling in Ottawa, you can be sure that there is going to be a lot for you to read about.