Given the ongoing global travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 9 June 2021 marked the start of FICPI’s second round of annual meetings with IP offices in the virtual space.  As in 2020, our meeting with the USPTO was the first of the 2021 round, with meetings with WIPO and the European Commission also planned in June, and with the EPO and the Boards of Appeal planned for September.  It is hoped to arrange meetings with other major IP Offices for the autumn.

The FICPI delegation, led by FICPI President, Julian Crump, was given a warm welcome by Drew Hirshfeld, the Acting Director of the USPTO, and a substantial USPTO team.  His introductory remarks drew attention to the recent issuance of the USPTO’s 11 millionth patent, a small drop in patent filings, and the political and practical activities around patent eligibility under 35 USC §101.  Julian Crump mentioned FICPI’s collaboration with WIPO on IP Day, which had a focus on SMEs, and FICPI’s ongoing contributions to pro-reform efforts on patent eligibility in the US.

The substantive agenda covered a wide range of topics, many of which will be reported on separately in due course.  These included discussions of FICPI’s recent Executive Committee (EXCO) resolutions on Covid vaccines, sharing of office-developed AI tools, and fixing issues in small entity-type declarations for reduced fees, as well the adopted positions on multiple and partial priorities and Client-Attorney Privilege.

Some US specific topics discussed included Obviousness-type Double Patenting, US Design Patent pendency, inventor declarations on National Phase applications, implementation of the Trademark Modernisation Act and application of the Fintiv factors at the PTAB.

The almost 3-hour meeting wrapped up with the hope of an in-person visit in future years.

Huge thanks go to Sharon Crane (Chair of FICPI’s Biotech study group) for her organisation of the meeting. It was also very pleasing to have active participation from Jill Browning and Jen Maisel, representing FICPI’s US Section.

FICPI’s view and involvement
FICPI’s active programme of engagement with IP Offices around the world helps to ensure a platform for open and frequent discussions and the opportunity to put forward FICPI’s views on topics, representing independent intellectual property attorneys around the world and reinforcing the importance of the work of independent IP attorneys.

Next steps

If you would like to get involved with FICPI’s committees, including CET, PEC and TEC, please visit the links below to find out more:

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