New Developments for IP Practitioners” was on the menu for 72 participants from over 20 countries who attended FICPI’s Singapore Seminar on November 22, 2019.

Leading IP experts from a variety of countries and jurisdictions discussed important developments in the field of IP law and their impact on day-to-day practice. New challenges were high on the agenda, including how to best manage and adapt IP practice to the new   environment of increased competition, harmonisation and centralisation, plus the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Uwe Borchert, Reporter General for FICPI’s Study & Work Committee (CET), organised the seminar, held at Paulaner Bräuhaus, Singapore, with much appreciated assistance from local member, Martin Schweiger. Trialling a new approach, for the first time, FICPI held this type of seminar in conjunction with a subsequent CET meeting.

The seminar was a complete success, not only in terms of topics, but also as a forum to exchange ideas, make new contacts and cement existing relationships.

Holding the seminar back-to-back with the CET meeting afforded attendees the opportunity to learn more about how the CET strives to improve the daily work of IP practitioners and improve the world’s IP systems for their clients.

The venue of the seminar, in a microbrewery where new products are made on a daily basis, had a special charm.

This relaxed atmosphere guaranteed that the attendees were very engaged in the discussions and the subsequent networking: in addition to the exchange of information, the seminar was particularly a particularly important event in terms of connecting, sharing knowledge and building relationships; gathering insights from peers around the world; and creating business opportunities.

The President of the CET, Coleen Morrison, opened the seminar with an overview of the individual working groups and their priorities, along with an invitation to the delegates to get involved.

IP protection in the virtual world

The first session was moderated by Gabriel Di Blasi and focused on “Virtual designs”.

The speakers presented the challenges of IP protection in the electronic/virtual world, rather than in physical/real-world situations. The panel discussed the challenges this poses for both obtaining and enforcing IP protection in this burgeoning field.

Examination reports 

The second session was coordinated by Didier Intès with reference to Europe, India, Japan and the USA, on “Best practices and pitfalls of reporting examination reports from major IP Offices”.

A number of experienced practitioners shared their views on how best to analyse and dissect examination reports, focusing on the issues that arise in the IP offices of the cited countries, such as differing terminology, practice specific to a single office, and language barriers.

Pervasive internet

The third session was led by Michael Caine on “How the internet is changing the practice of IP law”.

The internet pervades the life of IP attorneys and their clients. This session addressed topics including: disclosures on the internet and how these are assessed under patent law; how to draft patent claims to capture infringement using the internet; evidence relating to trade mark, design and copyright infringements; the rising tide of counterfeits being sold via online platforms; and eRetailers’ own IP enforcement tools.

Introduction to FICPI

Before the next session, Julian Crump, President of FICPI, introduced FICPI to his colleagues. He stressed in particular that FICPI is a global community, built on trusted relationships, which strengthens the practice of independent IP attorneys.

2019’s key IP developments

Julian then moderated the subsequent session on “Most interesting developments of 2019 in European and US IP practice”. The speakers provided updates on the European Patent Office, US Patent and Trademark Office, and the EUIPO.

Topics included the ongoing saga of Patent Eligibility in the US, such as the attempts by the US Congress to find a legislative fix for the issue, the EPO’s new strategic plan and how that will affect both the EPO’s approach to patent policy and prosecution at the EPO, as well as updates from the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

AI and the technological revolution

The following session was introduced by FICPI’s immediate past president, Doug Deeth. Brett Slaney dealt with the topic “AI and the 4th industrial revolution” in detail.

Attendees learnt about developments which affect all areas of technology and the issues these can cause for Offices and attorneys alike.

Innovation and IP protection

Uwe himself coordinated the last session, with speakers from China, Singapore, Korea and Malaysia discussing “Governmental strategies for promoting innovation and IP protection”.

Many governments are keen to promote both innovation and IP protection, through mechanisms such as subsidies and favourable tax regimes. The speakers described what the situation is like in a number of Asian countries.

FICPI’s view and involvement

FICPI’s Commissions (committees) are very active in areas from professional excellence to communications. The Study & Work Commission (CET) is amongst the most active, comprising eight special interest groups. CET 8 group focuses on Asian issues. This year we ran a seminar in Singapore to coordinate with our CET 8 group meeting in order to give local FICPI members the opportunity to get involved with the CET meeting as well as the high quality speakers and networking possibilities available through the seminar itself.

Next steps

  • Review the presentations and the list of attendees
  • Browse FICPI’s Commissions to find a group that suits your interests
  • Register for the FICPI Korea Symposium, to be held on 22-24 April 2020 in Korea, where delegates can enjoy exciting sessions about IP portfolio building, enforcement, and strategy along with high quality networking in a fascinating region