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WIPO Director General Daren Tang Visits U.K.

March 22, 2024

WIPO Director General Daren Tang visited the United Kingdom (UK) from March 18 to 20, 2024, engaging with the country’s Minister for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and (IP), a range of business leaders and other stakeholders in UK’s innovation ecosystem. Witnessing firsthand the dynamism of the UK economy, he delivered a keynote address at the “Investing in Innovation” and “Get Paid Guide” launch event, both held on March 19, 2024.

Bilateral Meeting

Mr. Tang held discussions with the UK’s Minister for AI and IP, Viscount Camrose, exploring the connection between intellectual property and the UK innovation landscape. The discussion highlighted the transformative potential of generative AI, emphasizing the importance of viewing it not just as a challenge, but also as an opportunity to enhance, augment and stimulate new forms of expression and creativity.

Additionally, they discussed UK´s close engagement with WIPO, its work and activities as well as the multilateral landscape and the perception of IP globally.

Mr. Tang (right) met with Viscount Camrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property (IP), of the United Kingdom (Image: UK Intellectual Property Office).

Investing in Innovation, IP Finance event

In a keynote speech at the “Investing in Innovation” event, Mr. Tang highlighted the joint collaboration between WIPO and the Intellectual Property Office of the UK (UK IPO).

The DG acknowledged the work of the UK IPO, which has long shone the spotlight on IP finance. London is the world’s second largest financial center and Mr. Tang noted that the UK meets the essential preconditions for IP-backed finance to work at scale: a strong IP regime, a pool of innovative firms, and a vibrant financial sector. 

“Intangible assets are the dark matter of our financial universe. With an estimated value of over US$60 trillion – more than the world's top five economies put together – intangible assets exert a significant and growing pull on firms, markets and value across the globe,” said Mr. Tang.

“But despite this, intangibles remain mysterious and elusive. Their gravitational pull may be getting stronger but for many companies, financial institutions and advisers, intangible assets, are still largely invisible. The result is untapped potential in several ways. At the enterprise end, companies of all sizes – startups, scale ups and mature companies – are unable to use their most valuable asset to unlock capital and unleash growth. And at the other end, there are missed opportunities for new services and service offerings from financial service suppliers,” Mr. Tang said.

“In time, just like the scientists seeking out the source of dark matter, we hope to bring IP finance into the light, unleashing new possibilities for innovative and creative firms around the world,” Mr. Tang said.

The DG also referred to the WIPO’s second IP Finance Dialogue and to the WIPO’s Hands-on IP Finance Guide. These initiatives will help IP finance achieve its own big bang, unleashing new possibilities for innovative, creative and intangible-rich firms around the world.

WIPO is pushing to bring IP finance from the margins into the mainstream, and as Director General said: “The UK has been at the forefront of financial innovation for centuries.” Allowing companies – particularly growth or scaleup firms – to borrow against the collateral value of their IP will help fill the annual scaleup funding gap, which is currently billions in the UK alone, according to the Scaleup Institute research.

Tour of the AI UK Conference exhibition hall

Mr. Tang visited the AI UK 2024 Conference exhibition hall, hosted by the Alan Turing Institute, displaying the latest developments in AI with visual hands-on demonstrations. The AI UK 2024 is the national showcase of data science and artificial intelligence offering an in-depth exploration of how data science and AI can be used to solve real-world challenges.

UK Presidents Group lunch (AIPPI, Alliance for IP, CITMA, CIPA, FICPI, IP Federation)

Mr. Tang met with the UK Presidents Group, a senior IP stakeholder group, representing patent attorneys, trademark attorneys, and the creative industries. The discussion focused on the strategic landscape of IP and collaborative efforts.

Mr. Tang (center) met with members of the UK Presidents Group representing a series of intellectual property (IP) associations including AIPPI, the Alliance for IP, CITMA, CIPA, FICPI, and the IP Federation (Image: UK Intellectual Property Office).

AI in Life Sciences

In touring the Crick Institute, the Mr. Tang recognized the lead role of the UK in AI and the life sciences. With its focus on AI, the tour captured how innovation and creativity is changing. New tech (AI, biotech) is reshaping the life sciences landscape, presenting exciting opportunities and new challenges.

The roundtable with key IP associations, professionals and the life sciences industry covered issues like the critical role that IP plays incentivizing innovations, the coming together of AI and health, and how collaboration can make IP more relatable and visible.

Get Paid Guide launch for the music industry

Mr. Tang (left on stage) delivered opening remarks at the launch event for the "Get Paid" guide, an online resource to help music creators navigate their music data and music royalties effectively (Image: WIPO/Gobechia).

The UK’s creative industries sector employs over two million people and the UK is the second-ranked economy for creative outputs, globally.

In a keynote speech at the “Get Paid Guide” launch, Mr. Tang shone a spotlight on the critical role artist recognition plays within the creative industries. Speaking to an audience of 120 musicians and creative industries representatives, he emphasized the essential connection between fair compensation and a thriving creative ecosystem. With a solid grasp of IP rights, musician can more-effectively monetize their work through licensing, sales, and other revenue streams, he said.

Mr. Tang also mentioned the synergies between Get Paid Guide and the platform CLIP, launched recently by WIPO and the Music Rights Awareness Foundation, which empowers creators by explaining their IP rights and enabling them to take informed decisions.

Discussing generative AI in his speech, Mr. Tang said that the act of human creativity must be kept at the center of the copyright system and that any development, even if inadvertent, that undermines the act of human creativity would be detrimental to all everyone. The copyright system needs to have the creator at its heart, he said.

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