An important part of FICPI’s work is to build strong relationships with IP offices around the world.

Independent IP attorneys represent the vast majority of applicants for patents, trade marks and designs and are major users of national, regional and international systems for protecting such IP rights. As a result, FICPI members have enormous practical experience of using these systems from a very wide perspective, both geographically and for different kinds of applicants.

Through our strong relationships with WIPO and IP offices in leading jurisdictions, we are able to share our experiences and insights into the way the systems work in different countries and regions on a regular basis and offer suggestions as to how they might be improved to enhance their safety and safeguard the valuable IP rights of our clients. To this end, FICPI aims to visit all of the major IP offices at least once a year in addition to participating in their regular standing committees and working groups to provide our insight.

In 2019, we have already held bilateral meetings with the European Patent Office, EUIPO, the USPTO and WIPO. Final preparations are now being made for visits in November to IP India, IPOS, CNIPA (formerly SIPO), KIPO and the JPO.

I will be pleased to head a FICPI delegation to India on 20-21 November, where we will raise again the issue of client-attorney privilege. India has until now been one of the countries with concerns about extending this form of protection, which is currently available in India for attorneys-at-law, to IP attorneys’ communications with their clients.

I am also looking forward to meeting members of FICPI India at two roundtables: one in Mumbai on 20 November and the other in New Delhi on 21 November. From India, we will move onto Singapore to join the FICPI Seminar there on 22 November and a meeting of our Study & Work Commission (CET) over the weekend of 23-24 November.

China and South Korea

We will then move on to Beijing for meetings with CNIPA, ACPAA, the Beijing Patent Attorneys Association (BPAA) and the Chinese Trademark Association on 25 and 26 November before continuing on to Seoul for a meeting with KIPO on 27 November. (See separate article on CNIPA developments.) Whilst in Beijing, our immediate past president, Doug Deeth (CA), and I have made arrangements to attend the opening ceremony of the International IP Service Summit hosted by BPAA and the Beijing Capital Intellectual Property Service Association (CIPSA) where we will have a chance to say a few words about FICPI.

In China and South Korea, we will have a chance to meet local members of FICPI and give presentations on the importance of client-attorney privilege for IP attorneys and their clients. We’ll also discuss the patentability of inventions in the field of Artificial Intelligence (which will follow on from the colloquium we held jointly with AIPLA and AIPPI earlier this year in Turin), conflicting applications and double-patenting, virtual designs, trade-dress and trade marks. The new Chinese trade mark law, particularly the enhanced options genuine trade mark owners now have for preventing third parties from usurping their rights in bad faith, will also be mulled over. In Korea, we have also arranged to hold a short introductory meeting with the Korea Intellectual Property Association (KINPA).

Japan

I will leave the group in Korea to return to London, but Doug will take over the reins for the last leg of the tour in Japan on 29 November 2019. FICPI will use the opportunity of meeting the JPO, KIPO and CNIPA to update them on our work on substantive patent law harmonisation.

Singapore

Whilst in Singapore, a small group from FICPI, led by Doug Deeth (CA), will take the opportunity of meeting with the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) before joining a seminar hosted by the Association of Singapore Patent Attorneys (ASPA).

The FICPI Seminar which will be held on 22 November 2019 at the Paulaner Brauhaus Singapore will give us an opportunity to promote FICPI to local practitioners, with presentations on a range of IP and practice management issues. I am pleased to report that we are expecting an excellent attendance at the Seminar, but there are still a few places left. If you are interested in attending, you can register here.

FICPI’s view and involvement

As the only worldwide organisation exclusively for independent IP attorneys, FICPI’s focus on patent and trade mark developments ensures members are kept up to date with developments, have close links with IP bodies across the world, and have opportunities to meet fellow members of our global community at meetings and seminars.

Next steps

  • Register for the FICPI Seminar on 22 November in Singapore
  • Review the FICPI national sections and consider getting in touch with members in China, India, Republic of Korea or Singapore; or with FICPI Japan if you have any issues you think should be brought to the attention of the offices.