Researchers from Taiwan in Helsinki

(IPRinfo 4/2004)
Miia Pasuri
IPR University Center

IPR University Center organised on 17-18 August a research seminar together with Taiwanese Institute of Law for Science and Technology (National Tsing Hua University) at Hanken School of Economics and Business Administration in Helsinki. The seminar was about the evolution of the IP-system, especially in biotechnology from the European and Asian perspectives.

The excellent idea for the seminar and further bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and Finland was proposed by the Taiwanese participants. The purpose of the seminar was to allow the researchers of both countries to introduce their research work by presentations, and to enable the exchange of information and comparison of research results. The national academies of both countries found the project very useful as well, and demonstrated their positive attitude by funding partly the arrangements.
In the seminar in Helsinki Taiwan was represented by a significant delegation of thirteen professors, associate professors, assistant professors and assistants from several Taiwanese universities and institutes. In addition to the representatives from Taiwanese universities and IPR University Center there were also invited speakers from Max Planck Institute, Finnish universities and Kolster Oy Ab, a Finnish patent and trademark agency, to obtain a more extensive and large-scale perspective concerning the subjects in question.
The opening address of the seminar was given by the spokesmen of the two institutes responsible for organising the seminar; professor Chien-Te Fan from the Institute of Law for Science and Technology and professor Niklas Bruun from IPR University Center. Professor Christopher Heath from Max Planck Institute outlined the seminar by lecturing about the evolution of the IP-system from European perspective.
On the first day the presentations concentrated on current trends of the IP-system. Biotechnology and patenting were the dominating subjects, including for example an interesting analysis about the moral requirement for biotechnology patents. An immoral invention is unpatentable, but who is to decide where the line goes between moral and immoral?
On the second day two main themes were “The IP-system, copyright and traditional knowledge” and “Biotechnology perspectives”. Within these themes the presentations examined for instance the commercialisation of research and development and the relationship between universities and industries.

Taiwan is rich traditional knowledge

The nature of traditional knowledge and its IP protection was introduced purposely from the viewpoint of Taiwan since the country is rich in traditional knowledge, and there the need for protection is quite urgent due to the disappearing of that knowledge. Especially the questions concerning bio banks and property rights as well as gene technology seemed to inspire the audience, and topics like patentability of genes and the content and use of genetic information provoked active discussions.
At the end of the seminar there was a panel discussion of the possibilities for long term cooperation especially in establishing an Euro/Asia Bio-related IP Forum. Altogether, the outcome of the seminar was very satisfying ,and both the Taiwanese and the Finnish participants considered the event as a productive start for broader future cooperation.