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Bio Technology : October 2009
Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 Australasian BioTechnology 19 In each of these scenarios, the companies involved would have had a significant advantage if they had managed their IP and its creation, acquisition, identification and recording more carefully. AusBioFEATURE --- AusBiotech 2009 Strengthen your intellectual property armoury by effective IP management Introducing the biotechnology intellectual property management manual and the Smart IP Management Training. As a technology-based industry, the biotechnology sector has long appreciated the value of intellectual property and used it as part of its commercial artillery. Intellectual property rights can be used as a sword to strike at competitors to prevent them from eroding your competitive advantage. A well managed intellectual property portfolio may also serve as a shield to block an attack by a competitor. In order to ensure your intellectual property armoury stays sharp and strong, your intellectual property needs to be properly managed. AusBiotech, together with leading Australian IP firm Spruson & Ferguson and the Victorian Government, have recognised this need and released a comprehensive but accessible IP Manual to assist participants at all levels of the industry with the management of IP. The Biotechnology Intellectual Property Manual authored by Spruson & Ferguson will be available in hard copy at the AusBiotech 2009 conference. Spruson & Ferguson, in collaboration with AusBiotech, have now also developed the Smart IP Management Workshop, which will assist users of the IP Manual to put the Manual into practice. The workshop will be held on Tuesday 27 October 2009 (the day prior to the 2009 AusBiotech Conference), at the Melbourne Convention Centre. IP Management Case Studies As outlined in the IP Manual, management of IP encom- passes far more than registering intellectual property with the local IP office. It involves an understanding of what intellectual property is, when it has been created and, how to protect it. It is an ongoing task which lasts through the 'life' or duration of the intellectual property. Consider the following hypothetical scenarios, in which sound IP knowledge and management practices play an important role. Scenario 1 AU Medical Devices Pty Ltd is collaborating with a Japanese company to design a new mechanical heart valve. A Collabo- ration Agreement governs the relationship. Before execution of the agreement, there was considerable negotiation dis- cussing, amongst other things, ownership of IP in the new heart valve. In the end, the companies decided to take an easy to negoti- ate option and the agreement simply provides that all IP in the new heart valve will be jointly owned. The heart valve turns out to be a huge success and there are plans to com- mercialise the device in multiple countries. As the IP legislation of different countries provides differing rights for each joint owner, management of the jointly IP has turned out to be very complex for AU Medical Devices. In particular, in some countries the joint owner can commercia- lise the IP without regard to the other owners. The Japanese company has therefore become a major competitor to AU Medical Devices in the marketing of the valves, which im- pacts directly on the value of the product offered. Scenario 2 Cellogicas Pty Ltd is a biotechnology company focusing on cell signalling pathways. Cellogicas has in place a laboratory notebook policy but no one was assigned the task to enforce or police it. One of the core patent applications of Cellogicas is now under a 'priority contest' in the United States, where patents are awarded on a 'first-to-invent' basis. Since the laboratory notebooks kept by research staff of Cellogicas do not comply with the requirements to be admitted as evidence in the priority contest, they cannot be used to establish the date of invention, greatly reducing the prospects of Cellogi- cas winning the priority contest.