The Ecosystem of IPR Interest Groups

IPR, and especially patents, play an important role in the high-tech economy. While their original purpose is incentivizing investments into innovations, they are considered  by the companies more and more as important intangible assets. These assets are used  strategically, in example by blocking competitors to follow specific technological pathways. Besides that, IPR assets gain more momentum as literals in IP finance.  In parallel to the increasing economic importance of IPRs, a whole ecosystem of IPR interest groups (lobbyists) has been emerged. By analysing all the IPR interest groups we have already tracked in the IP Industry Base, we were surprised by the diversity of interests they serve and started to segment this field of lobbyists. The result is this (incomplete) tracke of IPR interest groups.

Within the tracker we have segmented the IPR interest groups into six different main groups:

  • Associations of IPR lawyers and practitioners, working in patent law or licensing,
  • Owners of IPR, mostly companies owning significant IPR portfolios,
  • Reformers, rising awareness for disfunctionalities in the IPR systems and influencing towards specific goals,
  • Anti-Counterfeiters, influencing towards less damages through infringements, piracy and counterfeiting,
  • Internet and Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) advocates, mainly working on freedom for Linux and other Open Source Software, and
  • Technology Transfer, intermediaries bringing IPR developed in public research organisations to the market

In general, IPR interest groups focus either on the one hand on problem-oriented awareness raising and changes in the existing intellectual property regulations,  or on the other hand on educating and enforcing the current rules.

Associations of IPR lawyers and practitioners

These are the associations of professionals which are usually the sign of a high professional level and maturity of an industry. By now, we have identified the following associations:

Owners of IPR

From an influential perspective, the owners of IPRs are a strong voice in the debate. These associations represent companies, often lead by big players from high technology markets, owning IPRs on  large-scale and willing to demonstrate the impact of their IPR portfolios to the overall innovation ecosystem.


There exist a bunch of interest groups which do actively push an agenda for reforming the IP and patent systems. The transformative goals of these groups are quite divers. This diversity is a proxy for the range of problems within the IPR systems which are recognized by different stakeholders.


Infringement, piracy and counterfeiting are significant threads for all stakeholders in the IPR domain. There exist a significant number of interest groups which are dedicated to related IP education and awareness, aw well actions towards better enforcement of IP law.

Internet and Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) advocates

There exist a bunch of interest groups which are mainly concerned with the freedom from patents and intellectual property rights, often combined with a stance about the internet, digital freedom and civil liberties. Often their work is connected to the Linux (and FOSS in general) community. With the rise of the data economy we foresee more interest groups in the field of open data.

Technology Transfer

By bridging IPR developed in public research organization towards commercial applications, technology transfer intermediaries do play a crucial role. There exists a bunch of interest groups which are dedicated to strengthen the awareness of the value and the professional level of technology transfer.

Please support our work on this tracker of IPR interest groups! If you are aware on an interest group which is not in the lists above, please drop us a note. We will add it to the IP Industry Base and this tracker!

Featured Image from Jannis Andrija Schnitzer under CC licence.