I was recently watching a Robert Smith YouTube video, posted by The Colour of STEM. Robert Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners (a substantial US private equity firm), and a well-known philanthropist.
In the video Smith states: “For the first time in history, wealth can be created without having massive amounts of capital. For the first time in history, wealth can be created by the power of one’s mind. Thoughts and ideas. And it can be developed, monetised and distributed instantly across the globe. Intellectual Property has now become the new currency of business.”
Robert Smith has neatly and effectively summarised the seismic change that has taken place in the internet age. It is not simply about the physical becoming digital, it is about levelling the business landscape to reward the best ideas and imagination – not simply the ones backed by the most money, privilege or power.
As Tom Goodwin, Head of Innovation at Zenith Media so eloquently stated to TechCrunch: "Uber, the world's largest taxi company owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer has no inventory and Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate." The power no longer necessarily belongs to the owner of wealth or property, but to the industry platform that can disrupt pre-digital practices, establish itself and deliver most effectively.
And this is just the beginning. Never before has business experienced such rapid disruption, yet in the future this will only increase further. The industries first impacted by digital disruption were those that could simply replace the physical with the digital, for example books, photos, music and video. Retail soon followed with online services such as taxis, shopping, and flights. The next phase will focus on business to business services, including the IP industry. It is for this reason that CPA Global has invested in The IP Platform. If, as Robert Smith says, IP is the new currency of business, then managing and protecting IP becomes even more critical.
The IP Platform will serve the IP industry in the same way that Facebook became the platform for content sharing and Airbnb the platform for room lettings. We want to give IP innovators and managers access to a unified platform to research, file, maintain and protect their IP. It is a huge task. In 2016 alone, 3.1 million new patent applications were made. This is an increase of more than 8% from 2015 and the seventh straight annual increase. Only a digital solution will be able to support the scale the IP industry requires.
My vision for The IP Platform is to combine technology, processes and people in a way never previously possible, to deliver a unified and connected view of all global IP rights information, workflows and tasks on one single environment. It is a huge challenge, but, in the digital age, one that CPA Global is determined to deliver.