Hey, Scientists: We Named the New Element. You’re Welcome.

By Aaron Smethurst (Originally posted on IP Delivers)

There are some things that are always certain: taxes, death, and the periodic table of elements. But scientists proved today that even the most fundamental truths may be in flux, having unearthed a brand new element destined to throw high school chemistry teachers into a tizzy and underlying the reality that we have only just scraped the surface of scientific discovery.

While scientists are still working on the name – ununpentium doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue – the discovery is notable because the periodic table continues to expand. As we push the boundaries of science, the table, which was originally drawn in 1869, evolves as scientists seek to answer the ever-elusive question of “what’s next?” And just when we think we’ve reached the limits of science, it turns out there can be a new element or innovation just around the corner.

But here at IP Delivers we would like to propose our own addition to the periodic table: IP. Why you ask?  Because IP (short for intellectual property) is critical to ensuring that researchers can continue to innovate and work towards the next great scientific discovery, be it a new element, life-saving cancer medication, or a breakthrough green technology.

Sustaining research and development is far from easy, but ensuring a high-standard IP chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement could provide low-hanging fruit that doctors and medical researchers are seeking. In each of the 12 participating economies, researchers are continuing to push the limits of science. Take Chile, for example, where a consortium of Chilean and American companies have begun to develop technologies in Chile that are tackling emerging public health issues like treating Alzheimer’s, eliminating tumors, and utilizing stem cells. Halfway around the world, leading pharmaceutical companies have begun to manufacture both popular and life-saving medicines in Singapore, making the dream to turn the country into a hub of innovation nearly realized.

Intellectual property is an element in and of itself, serving as a building block for innovative economies and healthy ecosystems.

But in order to continue to support further discovery and developments which open a sea of possibilities for the human race, a proper innovation infrastructure must be in place. IP is vital to ensuring there is incentive to commit to resources and time-intensive research and development which oftentimes result in new elements or public health solutions. As government officials come to their own periodic table at the 19thround of negotiations in Brunei, we recommend the negotiators stick to the elements of a comprehensive and high-standard trade pact which facilitates further human advancement by including a strong IP chapter that protects and promotes IP.

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