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    Trade in Ideas Program: Start-up Phase

    The 5th meeting of the informal team of the trade in ideas program took place today, October 30, at WTO.

    The purpose of the program is to leverage the human capital formation of especially developing nations through markets in patents. The goal is to reduce risk and uncertainty in such markets for inventors so they can thrive. This is an institutional issue.

    The purpose with the 5th meeting was to discuss the start-up phase following the successful completion the pilot-phase in January. This phase will establish the “infrastructure”: improving market efficiency, creating statistics on trade flows in ideas and performing field experiments to test out cross-border trade rules. Later stages will also include education programs of the next generation of managers.

    Peru invited to the meeting and in an opening communication expressed confidence in the economic soundness of the program and especially stressed the focus on the facts based applied research approach of the program to better understanding the actual markets in cross-border patent licensing and transfers, the actors, and other issues. Peru also commented on the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the broad team that had been created across ministries and agencies to carry out the pilot-study and is now ready to carry out a planned workshop with the Pacific Alliance countries to do a “field experiment”. Cameroon, who joined the informal group on Oct 23, proposed to write a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the countries interested in the program. The representative also pointed out that is was important to “be part of the solution”, not only wait for technology to come from abroad. Mexico, who was new to the team, will investigate how to involve the technical cooperation between the Pacific Alliance countries, and then consider possible further steps. The senior policy advisor from the ministry of trade in Kenya joined on-line and pointed at Kenya as a “hub for inventions” and continued dialogue with the program. The Dominican Republic stressed the cooperative nature of the program and how inventors could benefit from external partners, and much was to learn.

    A second part involved funding strategies for the start-up phase, after Sweden’s funding of the pilot-phase has ended. Two main strategies were discussed: A regional approach, thus regional cooperation funding for regional field studies, and an “outreach group” to approach interested countries.

    A follow-up meeting to move on particular projects and funding is planned for December 10, 2020.

    The PPT from the meeting can be found here.

    For further information on the program and interest to join the informal team please contact by mail at: eskil@ullberg.biz.

    Presentation at WTO of Trade in Ideas Pilot-study: Next Steps

    What is the economic potential of trade in ideas?

    Chile, El Salvador, Peru, Kenya, Azerbaijan, South Africa and Uganda are participating in a forward-looking study to inform a new economic development policy based on leveraging the human capital formation of developing nations through markets in patents (licensing). A first pilot-study consisting of surveys of inventors on cross-border licensing practices and prices and video-workshops with inventors and policy makers from these countries were reported on Nov 26. The event was organised by WTO with introduction by Deputy Director General Mr. Yi and moderated by Mr. Koopman, chief economist at WTO.


    The next steps to inform a national and international policy discussion were presented, including an already started statistics framework study – a key to measure the impact of such a policy.

    A key initiative is to create a LDC package with the least developed countries (47 in 2018), providing everything needed to being licensing of their patented technology to the world, leveraging their human capital formation. Some of these inventor-companies may have the potential to become “economic locomotives” for these countries, creating opportunities for their nations.

    The Foreign Office of the Kingdom of Sweden funded the pilot and the statistics study.

    A recording of the presentation and discussion as well at PPT and communications by four participating countries can be found here, introduction here and powerpoint here.


    Eskil Ullberg


    Documents from presentation and full program:
    – Introduction: text
    – Web-cast presentation: watch recording here. 
    – Powerpoint: Presentation

    WTO Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology

    On October 26, 10-12, a presentation of the Trade in Ideas Program took place at the WTO for the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology (WGTTT). El Salvador, a participant in the Trade in Ideas Pilot-study, had asked the EC, through Sweden, the funder of the pilot-study, to give an overview of the principle and program in eluding some early results.

    If any additional information about the program is desired, please email: eskil@ullberg.biz

    Enclosed is the powerpoint from the meeting. See: Powerpoint for WGTTT, 2018-06-27

    WGTTT: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/dev_wkgp_trade_transfer_technology_e.htm

    Speech at WTO: Trade in Ideas as New Development Policy

    Trade Dialogues Lecture Series

    As part of its Trade Dialogues Series, the WTO will be inviting leading technical experts to share their insights with WTO members and the broader trade community on important economic and policy developments.

    I will be discussing the role of organized markets in facilitating this global trade in ideas as well as the implications for policy making in the area of intellectual property, education, and taxation. The talk will be recorded an available at WTO.org here and on Youtube (2 min short version, full lecture).


    Stanford University Conference on US Patent System



    This conference is a part of  the Hoover IP2 Working Group, working to review the premises of the US patent system and to address questions of scope, specification, duration, and economic impact of that system.  The working group two very fundamental questions: Does the US patent system hold up or push forward the commercialization of technological innovations? and Does the US patent system frustrate or facilitate the inventive acivities and entrepreneurial processes central to economic growth?

    During the conference held Monday–Tuesday, January 11–12, 2016 as services working papers were presented and discussed. I had the great honor to present a paper on the fundamental issue of trust and patents markets entitled: “The Language of Trust and Reciprocity in Patent Markets: A Sociological Analysis of Property Rights on Messages Resolving Uncertainty in Exchange in Ideas”.

    The papers can be found at:

    Hoover paper logo

    IFN Brown Bag

    On Jan 19, 11:30-12:30, I have been invited to speak at brown-bag seminar at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, IFN, Grevgatan 34, in Stockholm.

    The topic will be Trade In Ideas – Performance and Behavioral Properties of Markets in Patents, covering research published in the book with the same name. The research explores the institutional behavior of organized markets in contacts on patents, based on two economic experiments done at ICES, George Mason University.

    A short discussion non institutional and taxation policy in relation to the digital economy will be part of the talk.


    All Welcome!

    Eskil Ullberg

    Speech at UN panel: Science, Technology and Innovation for Development about: Patent Markets and Innovation

    Communication at about 51min and initial comments at about 45min: Video from event.

    United Nations panel: Science, Technology and Innovation for Development: GMU Newsdesk


    UN Special Event

    Special Event on “Science, technology and innovation for development” in preparation for the ECOSOC annual ministerial report. The presentation starts at 51:34 into the video after initial comments on why demand for technology need to drive development of technology and science.

    Second Committee, Special Event on “Science, technology and innovation for development” – 67th General Assembly

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