After two and half days of leadership meetings in Atlanta, FICPI’s Bureau, Study & Work Committee (known as CET) and Practice Management Committee (PMC) leadership teams presented an afternoon seminar to a group of US attorneys from the local area on 19 April 2023.


Global review of divisional practice

After an introduction to FICPI from President, Roberto Pistolesi, the seminar started with a global review of divisional practice. 

President of FICPI's Study & Work Committee, Robert Watson and CET Executive member Uwe Borchert presented the view from Europe. We then travelled south to Africa, where Chair of FICPI's CET 5 group on Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Rowan Joseph, explained the practice in South Africa, OAPI, ARIPO and Nigeria.

The session then moved closer to Atlanta with Vice President of FICPI's PMC, Louis-Pierre Gravelle, explaining the uniquely Canadian non-solution to divisional practice, exacerbated by recent practice changes. Giselle Reuben, representing the Executive Committee of FICPI’s sister organisation, ASIPI, provided an excellent overview of the practices in Central and South America, before FICPI Vice-President, Michael Caine, presented Australia’s liberal divisionals practice, New Zealand’s strict practice and the varied situation across South East Asia. The session on divisionals finished with CET's Assistant Reporter General, Richa Pandey, explaining as much as is possible the approach of the Indian patent office to divisionals, and the philosophy underlying recent court decisions.

Revision of design law in the European Union

A change of gear saw Chair of FICPI's CET 2 group on Designs, Jürgen Buchhold, discussing the ongoing revision of design law in the European Union, and Eleni Kokkini (one of the CET’s Vice-Presidents) describing five recent key EU trade mark cases, including a case about a sound mark perfect for Atlanta (the home of Coca Cola): the sound made by opening and pouring a soft-drinks can. Rob Katz, the other CET Vice-President, and President of FICPI’s US section then responded to these presentations, pointing out some of the downsides of the proposed changes in EU design law.

Hybrid working 

The PMC leaders, Anne Lévy (President) and Louis-Pierre Gravelle, with the help of two local attorneys, Micheline Johnson and Jeff Kuester of Taylor English Duma, engaged and challenged the audience on the topic of hybrid working, with table discussions showing remarkable common issues faced by US attorneys and those from the FICPI family across the world.

Unitary Patents and the Unified Patent Court

The seminar concluded with a timely discussion of Unitary Patents and the Unified Patent Court moderated by CET Reporter General Kim Finnilä, with FICPI's immediate past president, Julian Crump, explaining how to obtain a Unitary Patent, and what it actually is, Chair of FICPI's CET 7 group on IP Enforcement and Alternate Dispute Resolution, Mauro Eccetto, providing a fascinating insight into the structure of the Unified Patent Court and how cases will be run, and Christian Wende presenting real-life scenarios about the plans of clients with respect to the opt-out and future strategy.

Join us at future events! 

Of course, no event would be complete without a chance to make connections, and so the attendees enjoyed the chance to mingle over food and drink as the evening drew on.

I was very grateful to all the FICPI speakers for their efforts, and to the support of FICPI Deputy Secretary General, Sharon Crane, and FICPI Administrator, Rebecca Sandland, in helping to organise the event.  We look forward to future opportunities to share the incredible wealth of knowledge within the Bureau, CET and PMC groups with attorneys around the world, not only at large events, but also at smaller events where it easier to engage the audience.

Bookings are open for FICPI's 21st Open Forum in London (4-7 October 2023). Find out more and book your place here.

FICPI’s view and involvement

FICPI uniquely combines education and advocacy on topics around patents and trade marks with a dual focus on legal and professional excellence. 

If you'd like to find out more about FICPI's Committees in areas from practice management to designs and litigation, visit:


Atlanta seminar April 2023 collage of photos

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