An interview with Soowon Lee


South Korea has developed into a world-class exporter and economic powerhouse. Then the financial crisis struck. WIPR talks to Soowon Lee, commissioner of KIPO, about the role of innovation in an economic recovery and the business of IP.

In the wake of the financial crisis, IP offices seem to be becoming more like businesses. They have strengths and weaknesses, and they are faced with opportunities and threats. They must protect their stakeholders by trying to cover costs and break even, while providing the best service that they can for their customers. It seems that as a head of office departs, the replacement arrives armed with a new business plan.

Soowon Lee has been commissioner of KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) since May 2010. His two-year term of office comes in the wake of the global financial crisis; he has become involved in South Korean intellectual property policy-making at a time when innovation is being mooted as an economic saviour.

Lee previously worked in the Office of the President as secretary to the president for Economic Crisis Management, a body that was set up to deal with the financial crisis. He has also spent 30 years working for the Economic Planning Board and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. He seems to be in a position to not only understand the link between economic growth and innovation, but exploit it as well.

Interview, KIPO, Soowon Lee