I sat next to Blogmeister, Professor Jeremy Phillips, who was busy tapping away at his laptop, blogging the event in real time. Rather than duplicate his sterling work, I have decided to link to his posts, but to make my usual inane comments and insights.
The event was well organized by Kim Lindy of IPR. It attracted about 170 participants, albeit including a fair number that were speakers/ sponsors. I didn’t gain a lot of new insights, but it was a good opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.
The first Professor Phillips Review is here: Best Practices in IP 2013: a conference report 1
In the first session, chained by Einav Zilber of Applied Materials, various representatives of large corporations presented on managing a valuable IP portfolio. See Professor Phillips’ comments here. I noted that Luc Savage of France Telecom / Orange was slides with an appropriate colour scheme. Andrew Browne, who is an IP manager for Shell spoke well. It occurred to me, that he was selling Shell on the sea shore. Last time I saw Andrew, he was working for the Royal Mail and tried to convince me that Postman Pat was an IP right that they had lost. It reminded me of a similar battle fought and lost by the Metropolitan Police against the BBC concerning rights to the TARDIS.
Dr Daniella Azmony moderated the session on geographic focus, see here regarding filing around the world. She started by pointing out the well known dualism of filing in markets and where competitors are. I would tweak this a little, by noting that a patent may be renewed for up to 20 (or in cases of pharmaceuticals, 25) years from filing, so the real strategy is probable future markets and where competitors may be located.
Looking at where China was 5-10 years ago, makes me suspect that clients should consider filing in India more seriously, as the costs involved are minimal, and India has a population of a billion and a fairly large number of educated engineers.
There were US, German and Chinese patent attorneys making their sales pitches. US attorney Gregory Scott Smith spoke well, but his strategy involving provisional applications, filing a US application a year later without paying the fee and then filing a CIP a further year later, was aimed at cash strapped individuals and start ups, whereas the audience generally consisted of better healed in-house counsel. More worryingly, Gregory presented a somewhat blinkered approach that ignored rights in the rest of the world, i.e. outside of the US. This is not an uncommon perspective from US practitioners (and Examiners), but is, nevertheless, somewhat worrying.
Dynamic DF MP Duo, Drs Rainer and Greiner, did give some insights into what was happening in Europe. Aharon Hurvitz gave a Chinese perspective. Brenda Mtanga, a Zimbabwean patent attorney made a case for filing in Africa, where there is another billion people. Brenda is an old friend of mine. I ran across her in Munich a couple of years ago and in Washington at INTA last year. There are two regional groupings, the ARIPO (English) and OAPI (Fracophone). One of the countries in the ARIPO group is the Seychelles, and it suddenly struck me that Brenda plugging filing in the Seychelles from the Tel Aviv Sheraton beach front hotel can be summarized as “She sells Seychelles on the Sea Shore!”
The afternoon keynote address, Current trends in Patent Enforcement, Licensing and Monetization, by Jonathan Taub of Acacia, was a fairly blatant self promotion, as was the following session on monetization, whose speakers, from their websites, seemed to be incestuously interrelated. See Professor Phillips’ comment here: here. An amusing point came when one of the panelists suggested that a questioner asking about patent sales, consider going to the LES. The questioner, Hananel Kvatinsky, is the current chairperson of the Israel chapter of that organization!
The final session was on enforcement. Chaired by Zeev Pearl, the panel was challenged to respond to various scenarios, with advice regarding how to deal with threats and opportunities concerning competitors. We were satisfied to note that Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer litigator and partner Guy Yonay didn’t advocate litigating under all circumstances, and warned potential complainants to think carefully and noted there was an invalidation risk. Because of this, we find the Source Origin vs. Hydrapak fiasco here where the judge fined him and/or PCZL a couple of hundred thousand dollars for filing a lawsuit that lacked any arguable basis in fact. all the more worrying.
The breakfast was delicious with fresh coffee and Danish pastries, and during the morning break there was a buffet designed for chocaholics. The lunch was less tasty however, with a choice between a meat and mushroom stew, a lemony chicken breast dish and a fish option, with parev deserts.
Our hostess, Kim Lindy was wearing a black cloak that was sort of like a cut off graduation gown. I suspect she was dressed for quidditch, but there was no broom in evidence.