Regular readers of this blog will know that I try to support Israel IP events and advertise them on this blog, subject to getting advanced warning myself. I do this when competing firms hold events open to the public, and certainly do this when professional organizations hold events and lectures.
I have also taken out a small sponsorship of the past three AIPPI conferences in Israel, and the last one in Italy. I don’t have the resources to compete to be platinum or a gold sponsor like the larger firms. But believe in educating the profession, which is one reason I blog. I try to do my bit.
Veteran Patent Attorney Simon Kay kindly sent me an invitation for the AIPPI Meeting and AGM. Apparently, I’d let my membership slip. The organizers didn’t bother reminding me. Perhaps I was no longer on the mailing list. Still, I try to support these events,
I dully contacted the esteemed Secretary of the organization, Eran Bareket, and asked to join and to be able to participate. The event was held in the RCIP lecture theatre, and it is a nice, central venue, that no doubt the firm made available for free.
I’d attended a seminar at the Israel Patent Office the previous day, and we have the 7th Annual Best Practices in Intellectual Property (BPIP) next week which I am partially sponsoring nd will be attending. Then I am flying abroad for an IP conference, and we have Pesach coming up soon after, with all the associated shopping and cleaning, etc. However, in addition to my ongoing IP education and marketing activities, I also provide IP services for my clients and have to run my practice as well. Working around the clock and always in a hurry, due to a previous urgent meeting , regrettably I arrived at 4:00 PM, which was 30 minutes late. I wasn’t too bothered about the possibility of missing the scheduled toast to the Festival of Freedom (Pesach presumably) which was to be proposed by Nachman Cohen-Zedek. This is not because I suspected a lousy wine. After all, Nachman is a kind of connoiseur when it comes to wine. He was one of the joint chairpeople of both the Eshkol Ha’Zahav (Golden Cluster) Competition 2018 and the of the Wines of Israel Competition 2017. (However, despite anticipating something special for the toast, I am not a great fan of his. A few years ago, his partners Zeev Pearl and Mark Cohen conspiring to defraud me of clients and not pay me for the work I did for their firm when I spent a couple of months drafting applications there that I was never paid for. Cohen-Zedek met with me to hear my side of the story, listened and did not respond. I thought he was more honest. Apparently, I was wrong).
Luckily, I’d missed nothing. The turnout was 15 people, which wasn’t enough to call quorum. The organizers had also forgotten to bring the wine for the Haramat Kosit (toast).
There was, however, a generous buffet of pizzas, buerekas, some cake, vegetable dips and fruit salad. There were enough pizzas for one per person.
I had breakfasted on a couple of pieces of toast some hours earlier, and it was now 4 PM without having stopped for lunch, so I tucked in. It didn’t occur to me that the Israel chapter of the representative organization of IP professionals, where 95ֵ% of practitioners are Jewish and such a large number of Patent attorneys and IP lawyers are Observant, wouldn’t purchase the refreshments for the event from a Kosher caterer. Most of the eateries in Ramat HaChayal are Kosher, since the area is a business zone that is closed on Saturdays. In a worst conceivable example, the food would come from a branch of a coffee chain that is open on Saturday, but the food would itself still be Kosher eve n if not supervised. It was, after all, dairy.
Then I saw the pepperoni pizza. The injunctions against eating meat and milk together, and a cheese and pepperoni pizza is just that, are strict. One cannot eat them, cook them together or have any benefit from them. In other words, unlike, say, a ham sandwich, I couldn’t have fed such a pizza to a pet cat or dog. On my way back to the car after the event (which included a couple of great lectures, which I’ll write up shortly) I passed a kosher restaurant called Taboon that is almost directly across the road from Reinhold Cohen’s office. It advertised serving salads. In other words, practically the identical refreshments but Kosher, could have been purchased opposite.
Couldn’t one of the organizers have simply pointed out to me that the food wasn’t Kosher, or put up a sign to warn any observant patent attorneys or lawyers that the food wasn’t appropriate? After all, I was wearing a kipa. It is fairly obvious that such things matter to me?
I campaign for Kosher food to be available at IP conferences abroad. I assumed that it was obvious that in a profession where 95% of practitioners are Jewish and perhaps 50% are religious, that there would at least be a table with Kosher food as INTA and AIPPI provide most years.
So is this why the turn out to AIPPI events is so poor? Do we assume that no effort is made to reach out to licensed IP professionals that are the target membership in a membership drive? it is not a difficult task to collect names, emails and addresses of these. The Israel Patent Office keeps a register of Patent Attorneys that is open to the public. The Israel Bar should be able to provide details of those practicing IP Law. One can also search court rulings on copyright and trademark registers to get a mailing list together.
Do we assume that that no effort is made is to provide Kosher food, and when advertising raising a glass in honour of the oncoming festival, no effort is made and all expense is saved, by forgetting the wine?
There wasn’t a quorum, or even half a quorum so any voting (beyond an attempt to ratify the budget so that paperwork can be supplied to the tax offices and the lien for not reporting which is actually apparently preventing Reinhold Cohn from paying membership for its members can be lifted). This means that next week, regardless of turnout, and presumably despite again being no quorum, our most inclusive professional organization, that allows both patent attorneys and attorneys in law to join, and perhaps also, other IP professionals such as examiners, perhaps to non-licensed practitioners, searchers, paralegals, IP managers, academics and so-on, can hold their election a week before Pesach in the basement of the largest firm.
This seems a remarkably effective way to ensure that those born to rule, continue to do so, and no one rocks the boat. It goes some way to explaining why the biannual AIPPI conferences in Israel might be confused by the uninitiated with private functions organized by Ilan Cohn to promote his firm. It may also explain why despite sponsoring the event last year, my name did not appear on the list of sponsors.
I will be abroad at a conference in the States next week, but we respectfuly suggest that someone who does attend the rescheduled AGM next Wednesday, should propose a motion that refreshments at AIPPI Israel events be certified as Kosher with separation of milk and meat. Amother proposal might be to invite IP practitioners to join. A further proposal could be to encourage wider active participation and to try to further the professional development of IP practitioners. Then again, perhaps there won’t be anyone to propose anything? The election can be held without a quorum. Nothing is stated that it needs anyone present at all.
Kim Lindy’s BPIP is a regular annual fixture. It may not be as ‘official’ as an Israel Patent Office sponsored event, or one of the local chapter of the AIPPI, but it does attract 150-200 people. It is always held in the run up to Pesach. It seems silly for the three events to take place within the same seven day period. Surely it makes sense for the organizers to coordinate activities so that these events do not clash, but also do not occur within the same seven-day period, followed by an election day that is a non-work day? Spacing events out so that they are a month apart would presumably increase the turnout at all the events, to the benefit of all. Perhaps when IP events are first planned, the organizers could contact other organizations that hold similar events and reach out to the same tarket audience, to inform them? That way, each event would attract a higher turnout. Then maybe an AGM could be held with a quorum of members?
Now I am reconsidering if it is wise for me to lay out a hefty 842 Shekels annual membership fee for a financially mismanaged, largely inactive organization that does not seem to want members and that does not cater for those that observe the dietary laws