After a break of three years, FICPI returned to an in-person bilateral meeting at WIPO on 10 June 2022. Bilateral meetings with leading IP Offices and international IP organisations (such as WIPO) form a critical part of FICPI’s central mission to represent the views of the independent IP profession to IP authorities, and to share their news and updates with FICPI’s global community of members.

 

The FICPI team was led by the President, Julian Crump, accompanied by

 

WIPO meeting June 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FICPI team was warmly welcomed by Edward Kwakwa (WIPO Assistant Director General, Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector) who gave a very brief overview of WIPO’s medium-term strategic plan, with a focus on spreading the IP message to under-represented and underserved sectors of society (such as women, youth and SMEs).  He also mentioned substantial growth in Madrid Trade Mark and Hague Design filings in 2021, as well as the notable growth in patent filings.

We were then joined by Daren Tang (WIPO Director General) for a broad ranging discussion. Mr Tang mentioned that alongside the growth in IP filings during the pandemic, there had also been growing Venture Capital (VC) activity, including in Africa and South America, as well as South East Asia. The growth in global trade mark filings appeared to be driven by digital commerce. Mr Tang generally presented a very positive message of IP as a sunrise industry.

In terms of WIPO’s normative (harmonisation) agenda, this was presented as still being challenging, although the ongoing discussion on best approaches to issues of importance is considered being useful, as potentially influencing law changes when made nationally or regionally.

WIPO’s efforts in improving the IP system also extend to assisting offices digitise (at no cost to the offices) and to training.  The WIPO academy had trained 370,000 people in 2021 at all levels.

One of the items Julian Crump mentioned in response was FICPI’s work on a possible IP litigation insurance for SMEs in the EU and elsewhere.  This had been held up awaiting the advent of the EU Unitary Patent, although as this is now coming, we would hope to restart this project. It was agreed to share with WIPO FICPI’s materials on this issue. Mr Crump said FICPI welcomed WIPO’s initiatives to extend its services to a greater range of applicants and other parties. He noted that the profession was at the forefront of raising IP awareness and providing IP information and advice. Mr Tang stated that the profession was an important partner for WIPO, and there was a need to work together.

The next topic tackled was led by WIPO’s new Director of the Patent Law Division, Andras Jokuti.  He mentioned that as well as the current topics of interest to WIPO, they are also looking to expand their efforts to include Trade Secrets and Innovation and FRAND/SEPs.

Next, the ongoing work of Group B+ and the “year of consultation” was discussed.  WIPO are following this work with interest as it might transfer back into WIPO in due course. 

We also briefly discussed a recent referral to the EPO Enlarged Board regarding priority claims involving different named applicants for different PCT states.  WIPO’s Matthew Bryan (Director, PCT Legal and User Relations) explained that the International Bureau aims to make the PCT system work for as many situations as possible, which is demonstrated by the numerous standard forms of declarations available.  He also mentioned that there had been three new PCT states in 2022 (Jamacia, Iraq, Cape Verde) and that there has been growth in PCT applications in 42 years out of the 43 years the PCT system has been in force.  Mr Bryan mentioned a number of changes coming to the PCT system on 1 July 2022: the introduction of ST26 for sequence listing filing; the introduction of more options for the easing for deadlines in times of disruption (r82quater) and the sunset of PCT-SAFE.

On a very practical note, we had a good discussion with Michael Richardson (WIPO Director, PCT Legal and International Affairs Department) about the possible filing of patent drawings in colour, and the use of XML in filing patent applications (which is coming ever closer).

Allison Mages (WIPO IP Commercialization Sector) presented an update on the upcoming FICPI-WIPO patent drafting course. WIPO had seven applicants for each spot on the course, which now has 40 attendees. There had been applicants from 67 countries, leading to accepted attendees from 26 countries, with a mix from developed and developing countries. There had been more applications from women than for men, and the mix of attendees reflects this.

The busy morning session finished with a discussion of the activities of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, led by Adam Rattray (Head, Information and External Relations Section) and Brian Beckham (Head, Internet Dispute Resolution Section). The pandemic had seen a 45% increase in mediation/arbitration cases, including an increase in cases that arose via submission agreements.  Notably, the settlement rate had risen to 75%. There had also been a 20% growth in domain name cases, and we discussed possible changes in the UDRP system.

We were then hosted for an excellent lunch by Lisa Jorgenson (WIPO Deputy Director General, Patents and Technology Sector) during which we discussed, in particular, WIPO’s efforts on gender and IP, led by Kristine Schlegelmilch (WIPO Senior Advisor, Patents and Technology Sector).

After lunch, we were given an update on the activity in the Brands and Designs space, led by Marcus Höpperger (WIPO Senior Director, Department for Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications). We talked about the current issues in the Standing Committee on Trademark, Designs and GI, including the Design Law Treaty, GUI designs and Protection of Country Names.

The final part of the session was a brief discussion on Hague System, led by Quan-Ling Sim (Hague Registry).  He commented on China joining the system on 5 May 2022 which is expected to lead to a large increase in Hague filings.  He believes there are a numbers of myths about the Hague System which is holding back its adoption.

The meeting was closed with warm words from Dalila Hamou (WIPO Director External Relations Division) and Marco Aleman (WIPO Assistant Director General, IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector).

                                                   

FICPI’s view and involvement 

Independent IP attorneys help organisations protect and build value in their IP assets, and bring insights and counsel from a wider external perspective and a commitment to high quality work. FICPI brings IP attorneys from around the world together to connect, share knowledge and grow. 

Next steps

SHARE
Previous Post
FICPI attends the Joint Management Board & Budget Committee Meeting at the EUIPO – 7 and 8 June 2022