March 1, 2023
Intellectual property (IP) systems have the capacity to help solve some of the world’s largest issues. To make the most of these systems and drive ongoing innovation, businesses must develop collaborative ecosystems.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) hosted experts to discuss this valuable growth opportunity. Along with an introduction by featured guest speaker Hossein Nowbar, General Counsel, Corporate Legal Affairs and Corporate Secretary at Microsoft, a panel of industry leaders discussed how IP collaboration can drive growth across sectors.
Microsoft Remains Committed to Collaborating for Widespread AI Integrations
Nowbar said Microsoft remains committed to working with developers and communities to address legitimate concerns in the marketplace. One such concern is the implications and implementations of AI.
“It'll take collaboration to make sure that we can enhance and enable the benefits of technology,” said Nowbar. “[Microsoft] announced that GPT-based AI models will power features in widely-available products like Bing.”
“[When we] think about the global problems which we're trying to solve," he continued, "it's clear we need an IP system to promote progress, not impede them.”
Nowbar explained that this new type of broad access and availability empowers creators and developers to go from concept to first draft, as well as work code, much faster. It also opens up innovation with AI to a new audience — which raises questions and concerns about the effect of these new technologies on existing segments, rights, and communities.
As an answer to these potential roadblocks, Nowbar said, “Collaboration and engagement across different shareholders and communities will be critical to understanding and addressing those concerns while preserving the opportunity for these innovations to unlock new solutions.”
Biopharmaceutical Innovation Benefits from Collaboration
Corey Salsberg, Vice President and Global Head of IP Affairs at Novartis, explained that biopharmaceutical innovation is still largely driven by private sector companies investing billions of dollars of their own money into research done within their own laboratories.
“However, this does not mean that we don't operate in a collaborative, innovation ecosystem,” he added. “It's a complimentary system with lots of different players that contribute at various stages.”
Salsberg emphasized the importance of this collaboration, as well as IP’s role within it.
“Broad-based global collaboration can accelerate innovation,” he explained. “Intellectual property should enable collaboration, not inhibit it.”
Multi-Industry Partnerships Foster Ecosystem Collaboration to Share IP
As Nowbar stated in his keynote address, information transparency is “essential to effective intellectual property systems,” especially for startups, small businesses, and individual inventors.
Olivia Tsai, head of intellectual property at Cruise, explained how sharing IP and multi-industry collaboration enables her young company to achieve great things. Cruise, an all-electric, self-driving car service in San Francisco, needs partners to enable charging stations, GPS tracking, and more for its 200-vehicle fleet.
“We rely on experts in lidar companies, radar companies, infrastructure companies … and Microsoft Azure Cloud,” she said. “We rely on all sorts of innovation aspects of this entire ecosystem to really make [Cruise] happen.”
While the collaboration of IP has shown great promise in fostering cross-industry innovation, the future of intellectual property raises questions as it relates to AI.
“I don’t know what the intersection [of intellectual property and AI] is going to look like in a few years,” said Tim Wilson, Director of Patents at SAS Institute. “I do know that AI has been very helpful in solving some of the bigger problems that we’ve faced over the years … [and] we are going to figure this out at some point.”