211. The United States of America is pleased to co-sponsor this agenda item as part of a three-part series this year on intellectual property and financing. This agenda item hopes to foster discussion amongst TRIPS Council Members on the variety of opportunities that organizations have in licensing their IP.
212. Because IP licensing opportunities include a vast array of experiences across both the public and private sector, I will only touch on a few initiatives here and look forward to discussion from other Members about their initiatives. Starting with "Patents 4 Partnerships" is an initiative of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that brings together those who have technologies and want to make them available for licensing and those who have an interest in and the ability to commercialize the technologies.
213. For those who want to make their inventions available for licensing, the IP Marketplace Platform provides a centralized and easily accessible place to list US patents and patent application publications. It offers to potential licensees a database of available technologies that permits searches using a variety of parameters.
214. The IP Marketplace Platform provides a voluntary listing of patents and patent application publications indicated as "available for licensing" on external public websites or in the USPTO Official Gazette Notices. It also offers a link to sources that include the licensing information. The initial release of the IP Marketplace Platform focuses on listing technologies related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
215. Another USPTO initiative is the annual Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium. Sponsored by the Office of Innovation Outreach (OIO) and held each year during Women's History Month, the symposium raises awareness of a variety of pathways to advance the role of women in IP, including best practices and successful habits for today's fast-moving business climate. The most recent instalment included a discussion featuring innovative women executives who turned ideas into commercial success stories. The OIO supports the mission of the USPTO by providing relevant IP, innovation and invention resources to independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and underrepresented or underserved populations by creating annual programming to help everyone better understand, secure, and utilize IP.
216. Each year, hundreds of new inventions are made at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) laboratories. NIH Institutes or Centres (ICs) transfer NIH and CDC inventions through licenses to the private sector for further research and development and eventual commercialization. To achieve the goals under the Federal Technology Transfer Act and related legislation, the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, seeks commercial partners interested in developing and marketing technologies that FDA scientists have created. Collaborative research and development work with commercial entities generally occurs under cooperative research and development agreements.
217. In the field of trademarks, brand licensing activities can enhance the reach of the brand without the expenses of advertising and promotion. Benefits of these partnerships include increased brand awareness, increased goodwill and long-term value of the brand, broadened retail presence/cross- promotional opportunities, and increased touch points with existing customers and potential new consumers.
218. Licensing can also be used to support a variety of existing programs for an organization. For example, at the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Trademark Licensing Office registers trademarks related to the military branch – logos, slogans, designs, etc., and licenses the use of those trademarks to commercial companies who produce USMC branded merchandise. The Trademark Licensing Office polices for unauthorized use of its marks and provides educational information worldwide to protect and enhance the USMC brand in the commercial marketplace.
219. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) retains control over its logos and marks, thus ensuring the quality and consistency of all licensed merchandise. The trademark licensing program creates a cooperative and positive working relationship with the manufacturers and retailers who work with the USMC. Copyright licensing can help artists and musicians reach a broader audience and fan base with their work. A variety of private entities enable artists to license their images for use on commercial products. Companies that sell housewares, clothing, decor, and other items to retailers need beautiful art to put on their merchandise, and many source their art from freelance artists.
220. Likewise, musicians rely on licensing to broaden their fan base through services like Spotify and Apple music, and also rely on royalties generated by such licensing as a form of payment. Some forms of licensing, such as sync licensing, which pairs recordings and musical works with audio-visual works, can help reach a broader audience. Because copyright is a bundle of rights, copyright- based MSMEs are becoming very innovative in how they leverage their bundles of rights as collateral.
221. In one example, a company provides a digital marketplace for artists and songwriters to share a percentage of a song's royalties to fans and brands for royalty-based financing through what the company calls an "Initial Song Offering® (ISO™)".
222. The Initial Song Offering includes a particular date and time when royalty rights will be made available to the public. The ISO is intended to create a focal point for awareness, demand, and opportunity. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from Members about their national experiences with licensing of IP.