1993 was the date of our very first FICPI Open Forum, incredibly over three decades ago! As a proud Italian, I’m pleased to report that the first event took place in Rome, with the second in 1995 in Lisbon and the third, in 1996 in Barcelona.

The Open Forum was established after the success of the FICPI Congresses, with the view to creating an event that would attract an audience of independent IP attorney members and other non-member interested parties from around the world.

I missed the inaugural Open Forum as I did not start work in the IP profession until 1995 - we would love to hear from members who have reminiscences (or photos) from our very first Open Forum so that we can share them on our LinkedIn page. 

Our popular three-stream programme format was established from the outset, with the 1993 Open Forum streams being: European Community patents, international patents, and trade marks. The structure of the very first Open Forum reflected our membership of the time, who were predominantly from European countries.

Over time we have retained our three-stream format although the streams have evolved to become patents, trade marks and general, and over recent years the ‘general’ stream has become the practice management stream. Indeed, the practice management stream has featured some of the most popular topics lately and our Practice Management Committee has grown in size and scope of work under the leadership of Anne Lévy and is now involved in running its own symposia, contributing webinar speakers, creating papers, and drafting articles for the FICPI Journal.

Plenary sessions were introduced later, with recent topics covering issues such as the importance of mental health in IP firms, increasing law firm profitability and which IP firm should you hire. This year’s Open Forum plenaries tackle the topics of ‘Primal leadership as the driver for great performance’, ‘Navigating the landscape of fake evidence in IP proceedings’ and ‘How to set fees that are competitive in your market and profitable for your IP firm’. 

During the Covid years we were able to swiftly adapt, at that time under the presidency of Julian Crump, and we organised two virtual Open Fora, conducted completely online. As well as retaining the three-stream format for speakers and offering plenary sessions, we also ran online social events, including wine tasting, cookery, and cocktail making. 

We were delighted to return to an in-person Open Forum in London in 2023, our first Forum since the Covid years. This proved a popular event with over 400 delegates plus accompanying persons.

During my presidency, one of my goals is to attract younger practitioners, with another to encourage more FICPI members to join our committees and to take an active part in committee proceedings. In 2022 we introduced a prize for the FICPI Member Under 40, won by Laura Mannering from Norway the first year, and Tarso Machado from Brazil in 2023. This year we offered a discount for the first 10 people under 40 to register for the Open Forum. We also have a number of younger speakers at the event this year, including Sara Navarro (Trade marks & designs: unmasking the mirage), Dr Claire Gregg (The cans and cannots of Cannabis and psychedelics IP rights) and Clarissa Regel (Drafting without borders – life sciences). 

Over recent times we have expanded our committees from our traditional seven Study & Work Groups, Practice Management Committee and Training & Education Committee (now The FICPI Academy), and other specialist committees, to also include a Webinar Committee (set up during the Covid years) and a DEIA Committee, reflecting FICPI’s commitment to equality. 

Our newer members often ask about the flavours of our different in-person events:

  • FICPI Congress is open to FICPI members only and includes a General Assembly where the activities and future plans of the FICPI Federation are discussed. The FICPI President, Bureau members and FICPI Officers are also elected during the General Assembly, in the Executive Committee meeting that is organised back to back with the Congress.
  • The FICPI Open Forum is open to any party interested in intellectual property matters and as well as offering a wealth of opportunities to gain and knowledge on IP matters, also offers FICPI the opportunity to spread the word about membership benefits and for potential members to learn more about our work and our committees.
  • FICPI also organises Symposia and round tables - which are smaller events without parallel sessions, and more oriented to promoting FICPI in particular geographical areas. Our next Symposium takes place in Jeju Island, South Korea, in April 2025, click to register your interest.

At FICPI we strive to organise technical programmes which are focused on practical issues and, latterly, which also feature a renowned set of speakers on practice management issues. 

Already registrations are strong for this year’s FICPI Open Forum in Madrid, driven by the appeal of the topics and quality of the speakers in the technical sessions, addressing practical issues and offering implementable advice to delegates. Secondly, attendees appreciate the smaller, more intimate size of the FICPI Open Forum. With around 450 delegates, we are usually able to use one hotel for both the overnight accommodation and the technical programme, making socialising and networking convenient and easy.  

Securing high quality venues, food and drinks is a “must” for FICPI. As IP attorneys we work hard during in our practices, seek continued professional development through conferences we attend, and enjoy socialising after a day’s learning and IP discussions in unique and unusual venues, with good music, catering, and company!

Join us for the 22nd FICPI Open Forum!

Click to find out more and secure your space at the 2024 FICPI Open Forum, Madrid, 25-28 September.  


Japan FICPI Symposium 2008
Japan FICPI Symposium 2008
Sorrento Open Forum 2014
Sorrento Open Forum 2014 




Vienna Open Forum 2019
Vienna Open Forum 2019 
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