With less than two weeks to go before the Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai 2012, we thought it would be timely to provide an update on the activities of the Global Agenda Council on the Intellectual Property System.

This term, the Council grew to 18 Members, who come from government, business, academia, international organizations and civil society. The Council is chaired by Dave Kappos, Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The Vice-Chair is James Moody of Global Access in Action.

Through a series of virtual meetings held over the past several months, we have identified a set of three main focus areas for the current term. First, we will continue our work on Vision 2030, a project initiated in 2011 that creates a vision of the global IP system of the future. In our Vision 2030 work, we envision what the world would be like if we could capture and harness the full potential of human innovation and creativity. Then, we try to identify some concrete solutions that can help us get there.

Our second focus is IP in the creative economy. Here, we are looking at the megatrends that are shaping how people create and share intellectual property in the 21st century in domains as diverse as music, movies, design and architecture. In addition, we are examining ways to better manage IP rights, including smoother licensing systems and better registries for locating rights holders for audio, audiovisual and written media.

The third area is IP for the poor and marginalized. IP can play a vital role in helping to lift people out of poverty, but only if we provide the education, resources and mechanisms to enable people in poorer communities to more fully participate in the IP ecosystem, both as creators and beneficiaries. To that end, we are conducting a survey to review potential mechanisms that incentivize IP rights holders to address humanitarian problems, and will also be discussing a project to examine the unique features of the informal economy.

In sum, there is a lot on our plate, but we have a committed group of Council Members who firmly believe in the Council’s mission and in the central role that IP plays in the global economy. We will be doing our best over the coming months to develop ways to make that role even stronger.

Author: John Villasenor is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies and the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution.  He is also a Member of the Global Agenda Council on the Intellectual Property System

Image: An elderly man and his grandson look at pirated VCDs and DVDs at a market on the outskirts of Aksu REUTERS/Stringer China