Smart Cities Challenge | ISTF 2018

Governance of intellectual property for future city systems

Future cities need to be designed and built smart (Video Smart Cities). Their authorities depend on private companies to build and run the city. Such cities should provide a liveable environment for more and more people since urbanisation is growing fast. Thus, there must be a strong incentive for private companies to invest time, effort and money for building and running such a future city as effectively as possible. Strong incentives for innovation and development are intellectual property (IP) protection rights. Protection rights (Video 2 IP Basics), such as patents and copyright, allow owners to benefit from their efforts at least for a limited time and invest more time and money for new inventions/creations (Video 3 Future Construction) Thus, protection rights drive the economy (Video 4 The role of patents). In Fact, intellectual property is the foundation of the modern information economy and fuels the software, life sciences, and computer industries and pervades most products we consume.

In the future, not people, but robots (Video 5 Interview Robot) might build and run a smart city. Private companies, not governments will build these robots. As we already experience today, large international corporations (Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung etc.) are not dependent anymore on national governmental rules, but create their own rules for controlling the market, finally yet importantly, with the rights to protect their IP. IP rights are issued today by national governments and thus have some geographical borders. The large corporations are no longer restricted by national borders but can move their work and money to anywhere in the world. IP rights give incentives to inventors/creators, but also allow the national governments to restrict these rights and the communities to benefit from the mandatory disclosure of these rights, but only within the borders of the specific country. Will this balance between exclusive right and benefit for the people still work in view of future developments in artificial intelligence and an even more cross-border interconnected world?

Open source or open innovation (Video 6 Innovation) is being articulated as an alternative to the intellectual property model to handle creativity. In open source, a community of individuals contributes to a body of knowledge, sets up peer-review systems for quality control and then nurtures and nourishes that body of knowledge. Open source hardly produces wealth for its creators. However, is open source an alternative to intellectual property rights? Can open source, without the prospect of becoming wealthy, provide enough incentives to motivate creators?



Challenger | Heinz Müller, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property

Professor of medical biochemistry at the University of Basel and Patent Expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern. He was educated as a biochemist at the ETH Zurich, where he also received his PhD. He then moved to the US to work for several years at different research institutions in San Diego (Veterans Administration Hospital San Diego and UCSD, Scripps Research Institute) and Chicago (Northwestern University). He returned to Switzerland to work as a principal investigator in breast cancer research at the University of Basel. From this university, he received his Venia docendi and the title of professor of medical biochemistry. More than ten years ago, he started working at the patent department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern while remaining a regular lecturer in biochemistry at the medical faculty of the University of Basel. At the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, he is responsible for training and continuous education at the patent department and the interaction with Swiss universities. He also teaches intellectual property law at different Swiss universities, including the Universities of Basel, Bern and ETH Zurich. This courses are aimed in particular for life science graduate students and students in medical technology. He also has written extensively on a number of pertinent articles for newspapers, magazines and other publications on the topic of intellectual property.