There is a well-known Hebrew saying that one cannot dance at two weddings at the same time.
Even the most ardent conference goer cannot attend two events at the same time. The IPAA Chairperson, Einav Silber, discovered that she could not simultaneously lecture to entrepreneurs and sit on a panel at the recent AIPPI event.
The first Israel AIPPI Conference was held two and a half years ago in the autumn. The main AIPPI international conference is held once every two years in the autumn and it made a lot of sense running an event at the same time in the alternate year. The attendance was impressive.
The second and last Israel AIPPI Conference was held a couple of months ago. The proximity to the IPR annual conference to be held at the end of May probably was one reason why the numbers at the AIPPI conference were noticeably down and I suspect that the IPR conference will be less well attended this year than last year for the same reason.
The Fourth IPR Conference is to be held on 30th May 2016 and will be followed by Master classes on 31st May 2016. The Israel Patent Attorney’s Association (the IPAA) was supposed to have held their AGM on 2nd May 2016 but it was canceled at the last-minute and has been rescheduled for 31st May 2016. True, the master classes are being held in the morning and the AGM is scheduled for the afternoon, but coming a few days after INTA, one wonders if busy professionals can afford to attend both?
The AGM is a bit of a waste of time. The current chairperson inherited the job when her predecessor resigned for personal reasons. The AGM would be an ideal opportunity to allow members to vote for her making the appointment more legitimate, or even to stand against her, thereby having more meaningful democratic elections and allowing the members to choose who represents them. I have a wedding that evening that I indeed intend dancing at (in a stampy clockwise circular sort of way). I try to attend the AGMs on principle, but there is a limit to how much time I can take off work, and frankly am not sure I’ll bother.
The scheduling is inconsiderate and stupid at best. The IPR conference is well put together and is an enjoyable and informative event of value to IP practitioners. Why not encourage them to attend instead of competing?
Wiggin and Dana is a US law firm that is handling some 35 cases for one of my clients. They are teaming up with GKH to host an event titled Cybersecurity M&A— Navigating US & Israeli Regulations which will be held on May 30th at Lilith. I am sure that there are people interested in this topic who are also interested in attending the IPR Conference. I’d be delighted to attend both, but will be spliched after INTA in Orlando and will have trouble getting into Tel Aviv for either.
Events held at the same time of year that target a similar demographic will result in lower attendence levels. This is particularly true if held on the same day. Those that follow this blog and host events can frequently avoid such scheduling problems by noting what else is going on at the same time.
Of course, there may be a symbiotic relationship between conferences. For example, Biomed is a big Israel conference focusing on medical and life science developments. It runs from 24-26 May. It makes sense for foreign attorneys to attend this and the IPR conference, and coming to both makes flying out worthwhile. For local service providers, two conferences that are days apart may be less convenient. Israel patent attorneys have to decide between INTA or Biomed. Generally TM service providers go to INTA and patent attorneys go to Biomed. Larger firms can hae representation at both. Dr Ben Spungin does a lot of life science work and will be attending Biomed whilst I am at INTA. I can’t expect INTA to take Biomed into account or Biomed to consider INTA. However, I can and do expect the AIPPI Israel Branch and the IPR to coordinate so that their events are separated by a few months as the catchment audience is more or less identical. ONO and Bar Ilan did a conference on the same theme as the AIPPI conference but held theirs a couple of months earlier. There is ultimately very little I can do about this other than post details of conferences under the relevant tab on this blog and note the stupidity of it all.