Agency 13: Intellectual Property

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The Intellectual Property (IP) Agency is the thirteenth agency in the community. It is the first agency in the Regulatory Bureau. Other agencies in the bureau are Agency 14 (Legal) and Agency 15 (Audit). The IP Agency’s core aim is to help participants develop, process, and commercialize their innovations while ensuring that intellectual property utilization is optimized. The community considers IP as a form of capital that businesses need to either develop or access to achieve superior productivity. The agency strives to make this the case.

How the agency works

Presidencies and boards

The IP Agency is served by an executive presidency. The presidency consists of four presidents serving and representing the four main demographics – married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). The executive presidency sets and implements the agency’s strategy. It also monitors how different aspects of its operations work, including the automated system, operational presidencies, and contractors. It makes the necessary adjustments as needed.

The four executive presidents, together with their counterparts in the Legal and Audit Agencies, form a bureau board. The bureau board helps to monitor individual agencies on a level beyond the executive presidencies. The board also provides a platform through which individual agencies can collaborate on common goals.

Within the board, three presidents from the same demographic form a demographic presidency. There are four such presidencies, representing each of the four demographic groups. The demographic presidencies engage each other on matters that cut across the three agencies and need a demographic-centered approach. The specific arrangement of the different presidencies, and the board, can be tabulated as follows:

 Demographic presidency ADemographic presidency BDemographic presidency CDemographic presidency D
Executive presidency, IP (13)13A13B13C13D
Executive presidency, Legal (14)14A14B14C14D
Executive presidency, Audit (15)15A15B15C15D

Operational presidencies

As part of the Regulatory Bureau, the IP Agency is served by a team of 12 operational presidencies. Each operational presidency serves 2 district buildings, where they interact with executive presidencies of the agencies that have their offices in those buildings, and district and village presidencies. Since each presidency consists of four presidents, there are 48 operational presidents. Each president also belongs to a demographic presidency and a board. The exact organization of the presidencies, boards, and the district buildings/ agencies they serve are illustrated here.

Operational presidents carry out the operational duties of the IP Agency. This means that while the executive presidency is concerned with getting the system up and running, making necessary adjustments, and shaping policy, the operational presidencies interact with contractors, community public servants, and the system, to gauge how well it responds to users’ needs. It then recommends any adjustments necessary to the executive presidency.

Automated system

The IP Agency works through an automated system. Participants use this system to get the help they need, and interact with operational presidents. It is mainly through this system that operational presidents also interact with contractors. The automated system collects data that can be accessed by those wishing to use already patented IP, and other agencies. The agency constantly monitors the system to ensure it is serving users’ needs. The system is connected with other agencies’ systems as needed, to improve the completeness of information and solutions provided.


The IP Agency works through contractors to help participants process and file their innovations. Contractors’ services are paid for by the clients they serve. In other instances, the agency may hire and pay contractors to perform operational duties. Contractors work closely with operational presidencies by providing feedback on what needs to be done to spur innovation and improving the automated system to facilitate this.

Contractors also play a vital role in the IP development process. Besides guiding inventors from the origination stage to filing their IP, contractors also collaborate with the agency and innovators to commercialize IP in the best way possible, ensuring optimal utilization, and fair reward to innovators, the community, and third parties.

Interagency collaboration

The IP Agency cooperates extensively with other agencies in the community, especially those within its column. The agency closely interacts with the Commercial Bank (agency 7) as participants seek funds for research. The Commercial Bank issues loans to limited partners against the partnership interest they have invested in the community. The loan is based on the limited partner’s business plan, which is approved after input by both the IP and Business Planning agencies.

The Commercial Bank charges a lower interest rate than what the limited partner receives as earnings on their investment in the community. This is another measure to relieve the cost of capital. In the process, it encourage inventors to invest more in research and development.

  The IP Agency also cooperates with the Health and Nutrition Agency (agency 4) as the community endeavors to provide better ways to produce, process, and consume food. Participants are encouraged to innovate new ways through which food production and consumption are healthier. During the recruitment process, the Human Relations Agency (agency 1) may specifically look for participants who are likely to focus on innovation. The IP Agency provides the technical aspects that help the Human Relations Agency recruit effectively.

Another agency that the IP Agency interacts with closely is the Business Planning Agency, which, as it helps participants draw up their business plans, encourages innovation as a key element in business planning where applicable. The agency collaborates with the Communication Agency (agency 10) to communicate to community public servants and participants on new innovations, inform ongoing efforts to originate similar IPs and draw the attention of potential users.

The 24 agencies are organized in rows and columns. Beyond working in their bureau (row), agencies also interact extensively within their column. An overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Human and Financial Capital Department is here, and an overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Process and Property Department is here.

How IP licensing and royalties work

All intellectual property is owned by the community, and held by the IP Agency. The IP Agency helps participants originate and process IP by creating the right conditions to encourage innovation, and providing consultancy services through contractors so that IP is commercially viable. Once a participant has successfully processed their IP, the agency issues them a license. The agency also assesses intellectual property to establish a fair value for the innovation.

By holding a license, the inventor is credited with the IP, which has their name on it. The license holder reserves the first right to use the IP in the field that the IP was conceived. To apply it, the inventor pays a royalty fee of 1%. This is calculated as a percentage of the gross sales directly connected to the IP.

The IP Agency actively seeks out participants who can apply the IP in other fields. A participant who wishes to utilize the IP pays the agency a royalty of 4%. The agency retains half (2%), with the license holder receiving the remainder. This encourages people to innovate more and also ensures that IP is used optimally, instead of locking out potentially productive uses as is the case with most IPs today.

In many cases, inventors collaborate to produce an innovation. When this is the case, the team nominates a lead inventor, for the purpose of sharing royalties. This agreement is akin to agreements that limited partners enter into when transacting business, where they clearly define who handles the entity’s financial obligations.

Types of IP

There are various types of IP. Each has unique characteristics and the term during which it is protected, as shown in the table below.

Type of IPDescriptionTerm
CopyrightProtection of material issued to originators of literary, artistic, or musical materialduration of an author’s life, plus 70 years
TrademarkA symbol or phrase that identifies a business or its products and servicesDoes not expire
Trade secretRights to protect a unique practice, process, or device that is generally not known outside the businessDoes not expire/ unless it is divulged outside the business
Utility patentIssued to protect a new or improved product, process, or device20 years after filing
Design patentIssued to protect the unique aesthetic qualities of a product15 years after filing
Plant patentIssued to developers of asexually propagated plants20 years after filing

Roles of the agency

  • Facilitate innovation
  • Processing IP
  • Regulate access to IP

Facilitating innovation

The IP Agency is tasked by the community to provide the necessary conditions that boost innovation among participants. The agency achieves this through a set of measures. The first is by offering consultation services during IP’s origination and processing. This consultation is typically offered by contractors hired by the agency, but is paid by their clients – participants. The consultation is meant to ensure that the IP follows the right processes, and is economically viable. Participants are motivated by the royalties they will receive once their IP has been filed, whether or not they will use it for their businesses.

 The IP Agency engages stakeholders to come up with regulations and practices that foster innovation and reward those who innovate. The agency, besides making it easier to access support for research and development, also makes it easier for people to collaborate and supports learning institutions to have programs that are strongly aligned with innovation.

Processing IP

The processing of IP starts at the research stage, where an aspiring innovator informs the agency through its automated system of their aims, and the help they may need. The agency assesses the proposal with the help of contractors who assess requests and recommend if and how a project can be supported. This step can be skipped if the innovator can comfortably fund their endeavors, and therefore, does not need the community’s intervention.

Thereafter, the innovator works on their innovation. During the process, the innovator is helped by the agency on technical issues that revolve around optimal utilization of resources, commercial viability, and uniqueness. Both the innovator and the agency are keen to ensure that the intellectual property will be worth the effort. Once complete, the innovator files a notice with the agency through the system. The notice invites the agency to assess the claimed intellectual property. The assessment determines whether the IP is novel enough, has commercial viability, and other relevant issues.

Being satisfied that the IP measures up to the criteria, the agency files it and issues a license to the innovator. The agency also files the IP with relevant patent authorities and holds the rights outside the community as well. The innovator then embarks on applying their IP, having paid a royalty to the agency. The agency also avails the IP to others in the community to use at a royalty fee.

Regulating access to IP

The IP Agency regulates access to IP in a way that, while amplifying the economic benefits to innovators, makes IP more accessible to anyone who can create value through the IP. By issuing licenses, the agency is simply recognizing the efforts of the innovator and giving them the first right of refusal in using the IP. It is also giving protecting the innovator from unfair competition from other businesses that may be interested in using the IP in the same field as the inventor intended. However, the license does not grant any right for the innovator to restrict access to other entrepreneurs intending to use the IP in different fields, through outright refusal, or by charging prohibitive royalty fees.

Offices, meetings, and quarterly conferences


The IP Agency’s executive presidency has its offices on the first floor of district building 13’s western side. The trustees and operational presidencies who serve the agency sit across them on the eastern side as shown below.

The Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies, who serve each agency, alternate their offices with trustees. In relation to other community public servants, their offices are illustrated below. This graphic illustrates district building 13, which has offices for the executive presidency of the IP Agency (agency 13), district presidencies for District 13, and the data and business planning presidencies that serve the district.

Working hours and meetings

The IP Agency’s executive presidency and the Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. This time is dedicated to meeting clients and normal operational duties as the office requires. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting . The meeting lasts from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.

On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole board meets. Presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.

Quarterly conference

Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together in the same row.

Quarterly conferences are held in District Buildings 5 and 17. Each building has a lower and higher assembly court. The different demographic groups use the assembly courts as follows;

BuildingAssembly courtDemographic
5Lower courtMarried men (A)
5Higher courtMarried Women (B)
17Lower courtSingle women (C)
17Higher courtSingle men (D)

The agency’s demographic presidencies sit as illustrated below.

Representations of hierarchical- and matrix-type organizations.
The structure of a hierarchical-type organization is shown on the left, and that of a matrix-type organization is shown on the right.

Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:

Intellectual property should by new, useful and non-obvious. With these qualities, an entity can gain a competitive advantage over other competing entities. The community will own all patents. It uses them to generate maximum value, economically or otherwise, for the originators and the community as a whole. (Singleton, A. Using Intellectual Property to Gain a Competitive Advantage in the Marketplace. Internal. Champaign: Singleton Law Firm, 2019. Electronic.) Patents and other forms of IP exist to encourage innovation and creativity. They are strictly appraised to establish whether they are really worth protection, and to protect an innovator’s hard work that undoubtedly goes into producing it. (Tidwell, J. and L Liotta. “Inventions and patents: a practical tutorial.” Methods in molecular biology 823.2012 (2012): 391-408.)

IP makes economies more competitive. Developed countries, as well as India, China, and emerging Asian economies have all prioritized research and development, which creates IP, and new knowledge that can be used for business and social advantage. (Braga, C., C. Fink and C. Sepulveda. Intellectual Property Rights and Economic Development. Washington: World Bank, 2000. Print.)

The IP development process in many cases involves collaboration between different people. As of 2016, 20% of patents filed in the US involved at least four participants. It is important to give due credit to all those involved, and the extent of their participation. This makes the process fair and transparent, inspires confidence in the inventors/innovators. (Rice, JPreparing for IP Diligence: Ensuring Proper Inventorship and Ownership of Patents. 15 March 2019. electronic. 12 May 2019)

Currently, countries such as the United States accept electronic filing of patents, which are then appraised electronically as well as by experts. The community will have such a model, though a greater degree of appraisal will be done through an automated system. By granting the applied for rights, the agency will make it illegal to use such rights, without the express permission of the agency. Beyond the community, the agency will secure such rights on behalf of the community and constantly liaise with relevant authorities to ensure the protection of its property. (USCO. U.S. Copyright Office. 22 July 2016. 12 May 2019)

Current figures show that for various reasons, private entities are unable to support R&D, without which innovation is extremely difficult. The government gives such support. The government has strong tools to encourage R&D, including offering tax breaks, financial muscle, and the ability to enforce IP. The IP Agency will approach R&D from such a perspective, whereby profit is not the sole motivation. It will also be able to encourage cooperation between participants working towards similar goals (Taylor, T. Principles of Economics. Houston: Rice University, 2017. Electronic).

It is important for the parties involved in IP preparation and prosecution – the IP agency and participants – to be well acquainted with legal aspects of IP rights. This will prevent infringements and better familiarity with the rights of claimants. (Harms, L. The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. WIPO, 2012. Print.)