World Intellectual Property Organization

Profiling IP – WIPO launches new IP Advantage database

September 2010

“Innovate or die” – such is the commercial wisdom of today’s knowledge-based economy. Today, business success hinges on the delivery of innovative, attractive, high-value products and services that respond to a rapidly evolving consumer market. We hear a lot about how intellectual property (IP) in the form of patents, designs, marks and copyright and related rights can support business development, but for many, the question of how this works in practice remains a mystery. In an endeavor to shed light on this process, WIPO has recently launched a new database, called IP Advantage, which regroups the IP experiences of inventors, creators, entrepreneurs, and researchers.

This new database offers a kaleidoscopic view of the many different ways in which IP rights can be used to promote innovation in both developed and developing countries. The case studies featured in the database demonstrate IP in practice and offer many useful insights about how IP works in the real world.

The IP Advantage database is a gateway to a fully searchable and expanding range of case study materials. Based on a proposal from the Japanese government, the database showcases and streamlines the wealth of online case study material available on WIPO’s website.


Photo: Litracon Kft.

The case studies are presented in a standard format reflecting the various steps of the innovation cycle: innovation – IP protection – exploitation – further innovation. They feature a variety of actors from across the globe and cover a range of topics, including branding, financing, partnerships and research and development (R&D). Various case studies also highlight the different ways in which the IP system can support the development of solutions to the challenges of climate change, food security and public health.

The free-of-charge IP Advantage database makes searching easy. It offers an intuitive interface that allows for searches to be made according to type of IP (patents, trademarks, copyright, etc.) and/or the focus of the case study (branding, IP management, R&D, etc.). An advanced search interface allows users to fine-tune results using more specific search terms relating to, for example, the object of protection (inventions, commercial names, artistic works), global challenges, organization type, industry and/or country.

IP Advantage opens the door on a world of innovation and creativity. Users can discover:

  • how Uruguayan college student Roni Lieberman successfully commercialized his software and came to dominate the market for management and accountancy applications;
  • why Ethiopian coffee growers fought to register the Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe names as trademarks;
  • how design protection helped Philippine Nature’s Legacy, Inc. combat infringement and become a market leader in high-end environmentally-friendly home furnishings;
  • how focused R&D and patent protection are contributing to expanding international use of an attractive and innovative building material developed by Hungary’s Litracon.

The database is a work in progress. While the search interface and case studies are currently available in English only, French and Spanish versions are in the planning. WIPO’s Communications Division and the WIPO Japan Office, with the financial support of the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Industrial Property, will continue to regularly update the database with new case studies.

The database currently features over 100 case studies from across the globe. By continuing to update and expand the collection, the database will evolve into a fully comprehensive reference for IP in action.

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Acknowledgements: Maria-Antonella de Icaza and Fabio Weissert

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