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Trade in Ideas Program Presentation and Discussion at WTO

On Feb 26, 20+ developing and developed countries joined a presentation and discussion of the new Trade in Ideas Program. The program aims at facilitating trade in ideas – based on markets in patent – between “North” and “South” as a new development policy.

Understanding the forces that are at play in such trade is the purpose, in order to inform economic policy, in particular for developing countries. Such policy will then leverage the human capital formation taking place at a breathtaking speed in many developing countries, through markets in patents.

After a presentation of the concept, a discussion was held with the countries present to get a sense of what key issues are today. These issues will be put into the program, by theme. A first follow-on project was announced: Trade in Ideas Statistics Framework planned for 2018.

The event was held at WTO with invitation by Sweden, who also is funding the pilot-study and plan to fund the first follow-on study to the pilot-study reported in another blog entry.

Presentation from event can be found here: WTO Lunch Presentation of Program.

A link to SwedenGeneva and Twitter @SwedenGeneva (March 1).

Please feel free to follow Twitter @EskilUllberg, for updates and news on this program!

Trade in Ideas as New Development Policy: Multi-country Pilot-study funded by Sweden on Economic Potential for Developing Nations Licensing Own Patents

How do can you leverage the recent human capital formation that has taken place in many developing countries in the last two decades?

This pilot-study will investigate the economic potential of markets in patent as instrument of development, leveraging national inventors, licensing to the world markets.

16 countries with high human capital formation, some patenting, royalty licensing and “open access economy”, have been invited to join this pilot. Chile, Azerbaijan and Kenya have now joined and several others are discussing with their governments to join.

A video-workshop will be held with 10+ companies and 2-3 policy making agencies following a survey of the actual terms-of-trade achieved for technology from “the south”. This will be a first indication of the economic potential of such trade between developed and developing nations alike. A level playing field is the goal allowing a third leg of development activity; product, services and ideas, protected by the patent system, creating trade in ideas as new development policy.

The study is funded by Sweden.

Please find enclosed some background information on the study and links to the patent offices in the nations participating in the study. The study began in 2017 and is planned to end by June 2018.

If you are interested in participating in this study please contact at: eskil@ullberg.biz


Presentation of study by Chile’s IP Office


Azerbaijan Patent Office

Kenya IP Office




Background Document: Presentation of Pilot Study & Invitation

How can Patent Markets Enable Growth? – a Trans-Atlantic Workshop with the European Commission and Vinnova

A transatlantic workshop has been organised together with the European Commission with global corporate practitioners, policymakers from EC/SME & GROWTH and the US Trade Commission, European and other Patent Offices, and selected experts in the field of patenting, licensing among others, to identify and prioritize issues towards a market in patents. Special focus will also be given to SME/individual firms and new markets, especially North-South and emerging markets. The results of the workshop will be considered as input for further studies and policy proposals in this area. The workshop will be held in Brussels on March 3, 2016.

If you are interested in the follow-up information from this event, please contact by email or sign up for the ullberg report. There may also be the opportunity to listen in on a webcast for select interested parties.

Eskil Ullberg, PhD


What are the issues?

The international trade flows have changed direction in the last few years, where the South is now the net buyer of the products and services from the North[1]. This has happened thanks to opening of markets, trade negotiations, better economic policies, etc. However, when it comes to technology exchange with patents, the markets are not that developed. An intense focus on enforcement has dominated the discussions, in a one-sided protection agenda, more than trade, creating a litigation market with courts clearing prices. This appears to be similar at national levels between firms, especially large versus SME/individual or rent seeking firms abusing the patent system, hindering efficient trade in ideas between firms. To remedy this deficiency we are organizing a workshop focusing on transactions, in particular the mechanisms for exchange in patented technology. This is not only beneficial for today’s larger firms already engaged in this market but SME/individuals and the new markets, especially the mentioned North-South exchange and emerging markets.

Experimental research on markets in patents indicate that a more impersonal, or open, market in patents with demand side bidding and trading intermediaries may double the use of patented technology in the economy compared to today, i.e. a development in economic efficiency.

The workshop may therefore bring forth valuable input on issues – and priorities – from practitioners, patent offices and EU and US policy makers, on how to facilitate such an open market in patents, aiming at creating a strategic transatlantic initiative to inform policy.

[1] Ref. to Michael Spence in 2010/2011. In GDP terms emerging markets and the developing world are slightly more than 50% of world GDP. GDP growth rate Q3 2015 of emerging markets 4.2% (with China at 6.2%) and developing world 1.6%, indicating that this trend will continue for years if not decades or a century given a population of 6b today compared to 1b of the North. Source: JP Morgan.

[2] See  Ullberg, Trade in Ideas (2012) : Chapter 3 (performance and behavioral properties of patent market institutions), 4 (coordination between specialized firms through markets with prices as signaling of technology investments) and 6 (policy conclusions and proposals).


Themes and topics discussed at DC workshop
Themes and topics discussed at DC workshop

Workshop in DC. For program please follow link to dedicated SSRN web page.

SSRN Link to workshop program and articles

The workshop was funded, and initiated, by NSF. NSF Grant from Science of Science Policy.