3.1. 5th Shanghai Intellectual Property Forum “The Impact of the WTO TRIPS Agreement on Economic Development of Asian Countries”

The 5th Shanghai Intellectual Property Forum, October 26-27, 2007, was organized and carried out by the MIPLC, the Stanford Law School, the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), Tongji University and the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration (SIPA). Apart from the contributors to the project, about 100 participants were invited, half of them from China and the other half from renowned IP institutions the world over. Among the participants were Prof. Tian Lipu, President of the Chinese State IP Office, Mr. Jon Dudas, then President of the USPTO, and Dr. Jürgen Schade, then President of the German Patent and Trademark Office.

The subject of the Forum, which featured several well-known speakers and was visited by numerous scholars and IP professionals, was the significance of the TRIPS Agreement for the economic development of the developing countries of eastern, southeastern, and southern Asia. China, which has been a member of the WTO since 2001 and is currently working towards an effective implementation of its by and large TRIPS-compliant regulations, assumed a central role in this respect.

In the course of the Forum, the results of a study by the MIPLC and the Stanford Law School on “Intellectual Property Infrastructures in Asia’s Emerging Markets” were presented by the project leaders Prof. Paul Goldstein (Stanford) and Prof. Joseph Straus (MIPLC), as well as by authors of country reports for the project, who came from China, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The project examined the socio-economic, historical and cultural conditions of the respective countries, not only as expressed in the implementation of intellectual property law but also from the perspective of how they affect the function of intellectual property institutions in practice. The reports and the discussions also covered the question as to what extent the experiences of Japan and the developed “tiger states” of eastern and southeastern Asia with intellectual property, in the course of their economic development, are applicable to today’s developing and emerging market countries in Asia. The debate moreover focused on the possibility of strengthening the cooperation between the national patent and trademark offices of the region so as to meet the challenges of their rapidly increasing numbers of applications with improved efficiency.