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Experience at the Second IP and Innovation Researchers of Asia (IPIRA) Conference, 2020


We’re pleased to bring to you a guest post by Debmita Mondal, Assistant Professor, Hidayatullah National Law University (Raipur), on her experience at the Second IP & Innovation Researchers of Asia Conference, recently held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Experience at the Second IP and Innovation Researchers of Asia (IPIRA) Conference, 2020

Debmita Mondal

The IP and Innovation Researchers of Asia (IPIRA) 2020 Conference took place last week on the 27th and 28th February at Faculty of Law Universitas, Indonesia. This is the 2nd edition of the annual conference organized by the IPIRA Network for Asian research scholars and academicians to present their research or work-in-progress and discuss the same with colleagues from different parts of the world. IPIRA Conference was co-organized this year by Faculty of Law Universitas, Indonesia, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Trade Organization (WTO), Texas A&M University School of Law, and the School of Law, University of Geneva.

The IPIRA Conference witnessed participation from over 150 research scholars and academicians from various countries in Asia, like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal as well as countries like the United States, various European countries, Australia, Ethiopia, Russia, etc.  A record number of participants came from India, me being one of such presenters. The Conference ran into 5 or 6 parallel sessions over two days. According to the information and graph prepared and presented by Prof. Henny Marlyna, Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia (FHUI), ‘Pharmaceutical patents and access to medicines’ was one of the issues most presented, discussed and debated on in the Conference closely followed by the topic of Geographical Indications, Plant Variety Protection, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions, and Overlapping IP Rights.  Due to vast number of presentations that I attended; it is difficult to give an overview of each session individually. For those interested, the full Conference program is available here and the abstracts here.

The sessions held over two days were a treat for a young academician like me. Several interesting issues and their intricacies regarding regulation and control from IP perspective were discussed and debated between scholars from different jurisdictions. The IPIRA Conference acted like a platform to globally connect the academic community and offer to academicians a forum to discuss their works and, in general, current relevant issues both through doctrinal analysis and empirical data. With renowned Chairpersons moderating the panels and by adopting the method of compulsory Q & A sessions after each session, the IPIRA Conference provided an excellent opportunity for each researcher to get a valuable feedback on their research as well as the audience a chance to quest their curiosity for more information.

The IPIRA Conference 2020 was followed by a Workshop for IP Teachers and Researchers on 29th February, 2020. The Workshop had two sessions, the first on “What are Current, Relevant, and Impactful Research Topics?”  chaired by Prof. Jacques De Werra along with panelists Prof. Owais Shaikh, Prof. Sean O’Connor, Prof. Ha Le Thi Thu and Prof. Henry Marlyna and the second one on “Research Methodologies: What and How to Choose?” chaired by Prof. Irene Calboli with panelists like Prof. Gregory N. Mandel, Prof. Agus Sardjono, and Prof. Miranda Risang Ayu Palar.

The Workshop was a commendable addition by IPIRA Organizers as the panelists enlightened us on various relevant challenges a researcher faces while choosing a research topic. While Prof. O’Connor highlighted issues like research agenda v. research topic, topic v. perpetual topic, academic research v. policy papers, Prof. Shaikh gave a developing country perspective there. He talked about how a challenge of choosing  a “sexy topic” comes primarily to a researcher from developing country when he faces a hard battle to stay “relevant” domestically v. globally. In the other session, several research methodologies were revisited and debated on their shortcomings.  Prof. Mandel highlighted how “cross-cultural attitudes” have an impact on methodology adopted, while Prof. Sardjonos and Prof. Ayu Palar told us about the participatory legal research they have conducted in Indonesia to understand the needs of diverse indigenous people from Indonesia.

The organization of the two days Conference along with the Workshop was an impressive task achieved by Prof. Irene Calboli, the founder of the IPIRA Network, and the IPIRA Conference’s organizers, considering the recent travel restrictions put by several governments due to spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. Though several participants and resource persons had to reconsider their travel in highlight of the same, Prof. Calboli and her team meticulously managed the last-minute changes and pacified some nerves (including mine). The efforts of the staff and students of the Faculty of Law Universitas Indonesia are highly commendable as they made us feel welcome and even organized for us a cultural night to showcase the traditional Indonesian dance forms. I am grateful to the WIPO Academy for selecting me for sponsorship this year along with several other scholars from different countries.

The IPIRA Conference 2020 was a magnanimous platform for exchange of ideas and feedback for research and work-in-progress for IP enthusiasts as well as mating place for cultural diversity across the globe. IP enthusiasts interested in participation in this happening annual Conference next year, please join IPIRA Network here to stay updated.

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