The Annual General Meeting of the AIPA – the Association of Israel Patent Attorneys was supposed to have occurred yesterday. It was postponed until further notice a couple of days earlier and no explanation was given.
The present incumbent, Einav Zilber, graduated from being the general secretary to being Chairperson when her predecessor Dr Meir Noam retired for personal reasons last year, whilst assuring the membership that he was in good health. Since elections need be held once every four years, Einav did not stand for election and is not standing for reelection now.
Although formerly employed by one of the larger firms of patent attorneys Ms Zilber has headed up the patent department at Applied Materials for several years. She is familiar with the issues affecting both service providers and in-house counsel. Personally I think that as an experienced patent attorney, she is a good choice to head up the professional representative body. Furthermore, over the past year or so, Einav has advanced the organization which now even has its own logo (shown above).
Whilst having a tremendous amount of respect for what her predecessor accomplished as Israel Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, I think Einav is a better choice to head up the professional representative body than Dr Meir Noam. whilst Dr Noam did work as a service provider for many years before his decade long tenure as head of the Israel Patent Office, I don’t think that an ex-Commissioner is the right person to lobby for patent attorneys against the ‘system’, which includes against the Patent Office. An ex-Commissioner, by virtue of his being an ex-Commissioner, may be expected to have the smooth running of the Patent Office and State budgetary considerations in mind when lobbying with his successor on behalf of his constituency.
I believe that a chairperson who is in-house counsel is more likely to work for the good of the profession than a patent attorney service provider, who, as a recent conference shows, may confuse the good of the profession with the good of their firm.
It would take a strong alternative candidate for me to consider voting against Ms Zilber. I think she has done a really excellent job. Nevertheless, I can image some members preferring a chairperson who works for a firm of patent attorneys rather than as in-house counsel, may prefer someone who does more work opposite the Israel Patent Office and courts and less work globally. may prefer a male candidate for purely mysogenous and irrelevant reasons, or prefer someone more Orthodox, more Sefardic, more blond, or taller. Furthermore, since the Israeli IP profession is very incestuous and most people have worked for, with or in contentious proceedings against mostly everyone else at one time or another, some member somewhere may have a problem with Einav’s tenure.
I am not enamoured with democratic elections. I have seen too many national elections to think that the system results in good leaders being chosen. However, at least in open and fair elections, the electorate gets the government they choose, if not necessary the type of governing they want. Elections are an opportunity to vote for or against candidates. Even where someone stands unopposed, the act of having an election shows interest in members wishes. It may make mildly or even strongly dissatisfied members see that they are in a minority and that the elected chairperson has popular support.
For the membership to care about whether an AGM is held or not, and to encourage people to attend such events, not to mention to encourage people to join the AIPA, I advocate elections for the chairperson despite such elections not being required this year, as the present incumbant was not elected. If there are two or more candidates, I’d like non-attendents to endorse specific candidates rather than to give thier firms block votes.