Press releases

6th GPCA IP Awareness workshop concludes in Bahrain

The 6th edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association’s Intellectual Property (IP) Awareness workshop concluded on 14 June 2022 in Bahrain.

The workshop saw great engagement from participants, who convened for the first time in the Kingdom of Bahrain to discuss the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls of protecting the intellectual property of chemical and petrochemical companies, research and innovation institutes, universities and technology developers in the region.

Held under the theme ‘Maximizing Value from your Technology & IP Assets’, the workshop was hosted by the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) from 13-14 June 2022 at the GPIC Club in Bahrain.

On day one, the workshop kicked off with a presentation by Zayd Alathari, Partner, Head of Intellectual Property – MENA, Norton Rose Fulbright, who discussed the role of technology and developing and successfully managing an IP strategy.

The chemical industry in the region has evolved tremendously since it was first established in the 1970s when industry players were focused on acquiring licensed technology through NDAs, licenses, technical service agreements, and specialized equipment.

The industry’s technological capabilities have grown in both complexity and sophistication over the last five decades. Today companies leverage technology and build extensive technical knowhow through collaboration, by registering patents and licenses, by ensuring they protect their trademark and create value for their brand.

In order to successfully protect their intellectual property, Alathari presented delegates with a practical guide to improve decision making at their firm. He told delegates to begin by establishing the vision, plan, strategy and priority for their organization.

Step two is to define what their key business is. Thirdly, Alathari said, companies must review the way in which different operating and organizational structures are set up and interact.

In the last piece of the puzzle, technology and R&I specialists across the petrochemical industry, academia and research organizations, need to move towards developing a technology plan which outlines how they would like to use their technology expertise.

A last and often overlooked element is to assess whether companies possess the right IP and legal policy, procedure, structure and model to maximize the protection of their IP as well as the value created, while minimizing the potential risk.

Trade secrets

Mohammed Albabtain, Counsel, MEA Intellectual Property, Legal Affairs, SABIC, addressed the importance of trade secrets and their role in today’s IP landscape.

He began with an interesting statistic, pointing to the fact that trade secret theft is estimated to have an annual cost of 1-3% of GDP in advanced industrial nations. In the US alone, this equates to between USD 180 billion and USD 540 billion.

According to Albabtain, trade secret misappropriation cases has been on the rise exponentially due to the rapid expansion of the digital economy which has generated more intangible assets such as algorithms, cloud-based solutions, data, and others. Another reason for the increase in trade secrets misappropriation is the ease of dissemination of information which in turn amplifies the risk of trade secret theft.

IP policy reforms in leading IP jurisdictions as well as growing employee mobility are two other important drivers to contend with when studying the issue of trade secrets.

The successful management of trade secrets involves four key stages: identification, classification, protection and valuation.

The higher the economic value from being secret, the more difficult it is to reverse engineer a given technology or invention.

Invaluable insights from regional experts

The workshop continued with five more insightful presentations by IP industry experts including, Michael Krawzsenek, Partner, Intellectual Property- US, Norton Rose Fulbright, Martijn Vogelzang, Senior Manager, Licensing Out, SABIC, Jakub Michna, Senior Manager, MEA, Intellectual Property, Legal Affairs, SABIC, Abdulaziz Alrabiah, Head of IP Respect Enablement Department, SAIP, and more.

Some of the topics discussed within the two-day event included insights on how to categorize, capture and protect one’s intellectual property successfully; the importance of IP agreements, when they are and how to manage the relates rights and obligations.

Delegates enjoyed the unique opportunity to gain first hand insight into SABIC’S journey from buying to selling and using its own technologies.

Lastly, attendees learned about the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), its laws and regulations, and the elements that form part of its strategic vision.

Now in its sixth edition, the GPCA IP Workshop attracted over 60 delegates from 19 companies in 7 countries.