Published on 26 Apr 2021

Addressing current developments on Intellectual Property and innovation at 3rd IPIRA Conference

The third edition of the Intellectual Property and Innovation Researchers of Asia (IPIRA) took place virtually from 24 to 27 March 2021.

Inaugurated in 2019, the event is an annual initiative of the IPIRA Network to provide a forum for intellectual exchanges between researchers interested in intellectual property (IP) and innovation law in Asia and beyond. The conference was co-organised by Nanyang Business School of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore), alongside the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Academy, World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws of the International Islamic University Malaysia, the Faculty of Law of the Universitas Indonesia, Texas A&M University School of Law, and the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang, from Singapore, delivered the keynote address on the first day of the conference. During his speech, Director General Tang stressed the role of academic researchers as active participants in the development of their countries. He also highlighted the importance of countries in the Asia region as global innovation leaders, and the timely opportunity the conference provided to hear the voices of IP academics and researchers from the region. 

man in suit

WIPO Director General Daren Tang

The conference featured several parallel sessions addressing all areas of IP in relation to innovation and two plenary sessions that focused on “Intellectual Property and Innovation During and After COVID-19” and “The Impact of IP Teaching and Researching on Public Policy”. Research papers presented at the conference included themes such as women entrepreneurs, knowledge spill overs, patent data, child creators and innovators, access to essential technologies, and music sampling.

Representing Nanyang Business School were Asst Prof Althaf Marsoof and Asst Prof Corinne Tan who presented on “A CSR/Fair Trade Inspired Policy for Fairer Geographical Indications” and "Copyright, interrupted: Building Trust in Blockchain-Based Content Platforms” respectively. 

300 participants attended the IPIRA Conference 

Asst Prof Tan shared insights into the use of blockchains on content platforms and how the use can support the enforcement of copyright laws on these platforms. Highlighting the challenges of blockchains on content platforms, she said, “blockchain and copyright laws have to complement one another, to foster the trust among copyright holders and licensees required for such platforms to flourish.”

Asst Prof Marsoof made use of Geographical Indications (GIs), such as Ceylon Tea and Hom Mali Rice, to highlight the sweeping contradiction between what GIs promise in terms of local or rural development and the economic and living conditions of workers and labourers in the geographic regions from where some of the world's most renowned GIs originate. “I drew inspiration from CSR and Fair Trade to suggest an approach to make the GIs system fairer,” he shared. 

Asst Prof Marsoof also sat in the Scientific Committee which assisted the Scientific Organisers of the Third IPIRA Conference. Asst Prof Marsoof shared, “My role in the Scientific Committee was to support the Chairpersons in some of the parallel sessions and coordinate with the NBS IT team to ensure that these sessions ran smoothly. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the NBS IT team who had been a great support.”

Scientific Organisers and Scientific Committee

 NBS Visiting Professor Prof Irene Calboli, the founder of the IPIRA Network, and one of the Scientific Organisers, played a prominent role in this Conference. The Professor of Intellectual Property at Texas A&M University School of Law, USA, and Distinguished Fellow at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Cambodia said, “It is wonderful to see the growth of the IPIRA Conference, and how it has become a leading academic and professional forum in Asia and beyond to discuss important issues related to innovation and intellectual property. This year we had a record number of submissions and scholars from across the globe participated in the event. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, this community is growing stronger every year.”