Study unveils concerns over the high cost of resolving technology disputes

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Francis Gurry

Although technology-related disputes globally are few, they are generally costly and time-consuming to resolve, according to a study released on Thursday by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

WIPO surveyed more than 400 people in 60 countries and found that less than two per cent of technology agreements led to formal dispute, for example over licenses, research and development or non-disclosure.

However, if there is disagreement, court litigations can incur high costs. On average, these were $475,000 at home and more than $850,000 in foreign jurisdictions. Furthermore, proceedings could take more than three years.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry says the increasing importance of technology no doubt means there will be more cross-border contractual arrangements.

"If you are entering into a technology agreement, there's a significant chance it's going to be between parties located in different countries, and then it becomes relevant to know what your exposure is to costs and time in the event that there is a dispute; and not only what your exposure is but what your options are. And what this survey is telling us is that non-court options, namely arbitration and mediation, are delivering significantly better results."

The study finds meditation on average took about eight months and costs did not exceed $100,000, while arbitration took slightly more than a year at a cost of around $400,000.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'37"

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