Alan Lewis, 2011 President of LESI explains the importance of Intellectual property to world economy




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Video title: Alan Lewis, 2011 President of LESI explains the importance of Intellectual property to world economy
Released on: August 03, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Alan Lewis, 2011 President of LESI
LESI: Role and purpose
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the LESI Conference in London, in 2011. On this show I have Alan Lewis, who is the President of Licensing Executives Society International and also a Partner at Adams & Adams, based in Johannesburg in South Africa, welcome to the show.
Alan Lewis:
Good morning, lovely to be here with you, thank you for the invitation.
Fintan Walton:
Pleasure, the Licensing Executives Society International is a body that was formed out of the local LESI members, member states and plays an important role I suppose in ensuring that there is an international representation of the interests of the members at the national level, would that be correct sequence?
Alan Lewis:
That's absolutely correct, there are 32 national and regional societies within the LES family and LES International is an umbrella organization and the members of which are the national societies which tends to organize and coordinate and look after cross broader events and other things associated with intellectual property.
Fintan Walton:
In the end what is the purpose of LES?
Alan Lewis:
The primary function or the primary purpose of LES is to educate, provide education material, networking opportunities and to assist in setting a professional standard so we have ethics rules and we have guidelines as to behaviour we try we involve continue to involve in education and in the networking functions and that is very effectively done by conferences annual international conferences such as we are having in London at the moment, but please also bear in mind that each of the national and regional societies also have their own national and regional meetings and conferences, so for example the 26th of April is International Intellectual Property Day which was co-arranged by the World Intellectual Property Organization a United Nations Organ which is based in Geneva and as part of our relationship with WIPO we have implemented a program called Around the World with IP which we trying to coincide with the 26th of April. So between the 6th of April this year there were about 60 events taking place around the world under the auspices of the LES national societies and groupings.
Importance of Intellectual property to world economy
Fintan Walton:
Sure, how important is intellectual property to the world economy?
Alan Lewis:
Of extreme importance, for two reasons first of all there is the value of the trading intellectual property and then secondly which I think is the more important is the importance of intellectual property in fostering and maintaining innovation, without innovation society would be stagnant. We wouldn't have all the improvements that we have at the moment the thing is like iPads, the pharmaceutical drugs, the new materials none of this would come about would not come about as effectively and efficiently as we have at the moment if it wasn't for the protection provided by the intellectual property regimes around the world which fosters at as far as the value of trade is concerned most countries, well the important countries at least have in their national accounting they have a line item which is referred to as the balance of payments on royalty account and this gives a some indication or some weighing to value and to measure, and at the moment the value of international trade is about US $500 billion a year which is quite a significant amount.
Alan Lewis's perspective: Intellectual property rights at international level
Fintan Walton:
Right, now the LESI is in a sense then represents the professionals on a global scale and directly through the national and regional LES organizations or memberships and we are talking about a world that is changing and as you've already indicated you already interact with WIPO and other organizations that including WTO the World Trade Organization which are all instruments to ensuring that intellectual property rights are properly subscribed to on an international level, where do you see from as a President of the Licensing Executives Society International where do you see the key issues going forward?
Alan Lewis:
Coming back to the basic mission of the main objective is education, because all though the value of intellectual property is acknowledged and recognized in many country all the developed countries there is still a what our review is in this misunderstanding amongst in the developing world as to the what intellectual property is all about, there are people and important people in government and in business in the emerging economies that view intellectual property as a barrier rather than as supporting innovation and the tremendous amount of education is still required in order to correct that misunderstanding, as an example China, China has been viewed by many people as being a society or a country that doesn't not recognize intellectual property and there is always so there has been a view amongst many people that China has no respect for intellectual property now as China becomes more and more innovative and creative they are becoming, they are understanding the value and the purpose of intellectual property more and more and it will be in a year or two very, very soon China will be the largest filer of patents in the world that was for a long time that was the United States and it is now changing that Korea for example which has a very, very much smaller population than United States is approaching the United States in the number of patent applications being filed which is mind-boggling.
Innovation in emerging markets
Fintan Walton:
Incredible, yes. So then the world as you indicating there the world is changing, but importantly you know for an example we are on PharmaTelevision here we are interested in were research and development can take place in other words where can innovation take place, so do the emerging markets which now are recognized as key manufacturing states can they become successful research and development sites where innovation can take place?
Alan Lewis:
That is definitely happening, the amount of money being allocated to research and development in the BRICS for example Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa, the amount of money that is being provided by the governments to support innovation particularly in the life science area is maybe that's great we coming from South Africa where which is one of the biggest country this is really wonderful for the economies from these countries. And so there is a tremendous amount or this is one year where the governments are attempting to elevate their countries from resource based economies to knowledge economies.
Cost of medicines and Intellectual property policy
Fintan Walton:
Sure, now you are from South Africa one of the issues that came up in the last few years is one where there is a discomfort between where intellectual property can be recognized on one hand but also has a huge impact on government policy and the way that government sees intellectual property particularly when it comes to things like healthcare.
Alan Lewis:
And the cost of medicines, yes.
Fintan Walton:
And the cost of medicines which is one of the big issues and of course recently Andrew Witty from GSK just talked about some of those issues and their interest in reducing the price of drugs for certain territories, but from a Licensing Executives perspective where obviously intellectual property is important, can we avoid these situations are they going to come up time and time again?
Alan Lewis:
They will continue to raise and they will be dealt with this they have been in the past by understanding. One of the ethos proposed or taught by LES is we believe that all negotiations should result in a win, win situation the definition of a good contract, a good agreement is one in which both parties are happy. And as what has happened in South Africa a few years ago with the requirement of the government to have access for that the public to have access to antiretrovirals at a what was what for South Africa is a reasonable amount there were negotiations at the end of the day, there was initially conflict and litigation between the pharmaceutical manufacturers association on the one hand and the government, there was a mediation process and it was settled amicably and at the moment the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the government in South Africa have a very good relationship, because there is an understanding of the needs and the position of both groups.
LESI: Challenges over next five years
Fintan Walton:
Sure, so going back to your own organizations you are President of the Licensing Executives Society International , what do you see as key issues for you and your organization for the next three to five-years? What things do you really need to tackle and to overcome?
Alan Lewis:
One of the concerns that we have is the speed at which innovations is happening, it's the open innovation society which is developing where many of the large organizations are not developing or not don't have the internal research and development departments to the extent that they have and there are in effect outsourcing the innovation and this of course has implications along the entire chain both for the those but for their technologies which comes to market very, very quickly primarily in the electronics, computer for industry and on the other hand in the pharma industry where it can take six-years, seven-years, eight-years before you get a product to market, before you go through all the regulatory requirements. So this new development of open innovation and I am sure you will be talking to people in regard to this aspect this is presenting tremendous challenges and also tremendous opportunities which will continue to reinforce the need for a body such as ours to assist again in educating and improving the approach and the implementation, if I may mention as well before we come to the end of this interview that the tagline of the society I think indicates its importance and the tag line is advancing the business of intellectual property globally and that is really what it's all about.
Fintan Walton:
And you are guardian of that?
Alan Lewis:
And we are trying try to be the guardian and the patron centers of all.
Fintan Walton:
Alan Lewis, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Alan Lewis:
Yes thank you very much, it's been a pleasure talking to you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Alan Lewis
President
Alan Lewis is President of LESI and is a partner of the prestigious South African intellectual property law firm Adams & Adams, in its Johannesburg office. Adams & Adams celebrated its centenary in 2008 and is now the leading and largest intellectual property practice in South Africa. Alan Lewis is a member of the firm's patent department and concentrates on filing, prosecution, litigation and transactional aspects in regard to patents, registered designs and copyright, both nationally and internationally. He has a BSc with Physics and Maths as majors, a BSc (Electrical Engineering) (cum laude) and a BProc law degree. He is a patent attorney and has been a partner of Adams & Adamssince 1977. He is also a notary public. He has been a member and actively involved in the Licensing Executives Society, and is now President of the Licensing Executives Society International , having been president of LES South Africa in 1994/95 and again in 2005/6 and a vice president of LESI from 2005 to 2007. He is a Certified Licensing Professional and has acted as an adviser to various African countries in regard to commercialization of intellectual property. In addition he was included in the 2010 IAM listing of the World's Leading Patent and Technology Licensing Lawyers. In his practice Alan Lewis has successfully litigated many high profile IP cases and lectured and examined South African candidate patent attorneys for a number of years. He has been involved in several due diligence investigations, in particular for Net 1 UEPS when it listed in the US. He is also the contributor for Trade Secrets throughout the World (published by Thomson West) in regard to South Africa and was a member of an expert group assisting UNCITRAL in formulating guidelines on security interests relating to intellectual property. He has also presented numerous papers at conferences and seminars in South Africa and overseas on a variety of IP and licensing issues and has conducted training courses in regard to the management of intellectual assets.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
LESI
The Licensing Executives Society International LESI is an association of 32 national and regional societies, each composed of men and women who have an interest in the transfer of technology, or licensing of intellectual property rights - from technical knowhow and patented inventions to software, copyright and trademarks.