September 2015: CREATe hosts 10th conference of EPIP

In September 2015 CREATe hosted the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) Association’s 10th Annual Conference, with 200 delegates attending. This is the first time that this strategically important event has been held in the UK. CREATe investigators and postgraduate researchers contributed to the programme, providing an opportunity to communicate directly with policy making communities. The intellectual and practical arrangements of the conference were universally acclaimed by delegates and participants. Prof. Bernt Hugenholtz, Director at the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam and member of CREATe’s Programme Advisory Council said it was “by far the best and most rewarding IP conference I have attended for several years”. Prof. Pamela Samuelson, Director at the Centre for Law & Technology at Berkeley (University of California) congratulated the CREATe team “for a really outstanding conference. I think this is a marvellous event that you’ve put together. I go to a lot of conferences myself and I pretty rarely come away with this much content and things to think about and stimulating ideas”. Prof. Ian Hargreaves who led the UK Government’s Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (2011) said: “The choice of location, I think, reflects great credit upon CREATe, which in less than three years has established itself as a stronghold of evidence based thinking about IP issues.” A wide range of multimedia materials documenting the conference has been made available at http://www.epip2015.org

WELCOME TO EPIP BY MARTIN KRETSCHMER, DIRECTOR OF CREATe

The European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) Association was founded in 2005 with the aim “to promote research regarding economic, legal, social, politi – cal and historical aspects of intellectual property rights at national, European and international levels”. This interdisciplinary approach was visionary. It is not an overstatement to say that EPIP’s annual conferences opened a new field of enquiry . Intellectual Property Law left the back office. The difficult questions how to promote innovation, creativity, productivity were now exposed to empirical research. From the beginning, the EPIP Association intended to make a difference beyond academe, by contributing “ideas, concepts and discussions that will promote inno – vation” and “inform and encourage policy-oriented discussion”. As the 10th Annual Conference arrives in Glasgow (and for the first time in the UK), EPIP is well estab – lished as a forum where the best new research meets a wide range of policy makers, from international organisations and governments, to industry and trade bodies. We are very pleased that our now regular collaboration with the European Commis-sion is continuing, involving pre-discussion of topical issues that feed into our call for papers and panels. If you look through the list of delegates and speakers, you will also notice an extraordinarily diverse range of representation, from the W orld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), OECD, the European Trade Marks and Designs Office (OHIM), to think tanks, law firms, and stakeholders such as the British Film Institute, Society of Authors, UK Music and F undación Autor SGAE. The UK IP Office contributed as conference sponsor, as did Microsoft and NESTA for specific panels. There are not many conferences where academics mix that easily with Members of Parliament, government officials and firms. Will we make a difference? This year, we are focussing on the Creative Economy and copyright law. Here, evidence based policy continues to be a particular struggle. We have facilitated a cross-pollination with the SERCI Congress, the annual event of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues, including joint keynotes, panels and mutually free attendance. We are also pursuing our traditional topics, with some excellent plenaries and sessions, ranging from the role of disclosure in patent systems, to 3D printing, big data, and a panel on trade dress (the visual characteristics of a product that signal its origin – which will take a more central role at the conference in Oxford next year). We had to turn down many paper submissions, and are reaching the limits of what can be accommodated in a two-day conference. I believe it is important that, as an Association, we take our responsibility seriously for the next generation of researchers. If we want interdisciplinary academics who can shape policy in this important field (and we need them), we must offer development opportunities, even a job market for economists, social scientists and lawyers with a focus on innovation. During my tenure as president of EPIP, creating such opportunities through links between innovation centres will be a particular priority, building on our successful pre-conference PhD workshops. I wish you a fruitful conference.

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