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FICPI, The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys

Monthly Message from the President - July 2018

24th July, 2018

Dear FICPI Family – 

The IP World continues to change with ever-increasing speed and, with it, the role of the independent IP attorney.  In the face of these changes, we have as many challenges as new opportunities.  It is vital that independent patent and trade mark attorneys and their firms, who are the lifeblood of the IP systems, should be represented so as to influence the direction of change, not only from our own perspective, but also to ensure that the rights and needs of all users of the IP systems, large and small, in all countries and regions of the world and in all fields of technology, are protected.  FICPI is the only international IP organisation that provides advocates for you and your businesses.  

I was honoured to be elected President of FICPI by the Executive Committee at its meeting in Toronto last month on the occasion of the World Congress, and I thank the delegates and the members of their national sections and associations for their support.  I will do my best to serve the profession diligently over the next three years as we confront the aforementioned challenges and embrace the opportunities, and to that end I am lucky and grateful for the support of my Bureau: Ivan Ahlert (BR), Roberto Pistolesi (IT), Marc Chauchard (FR), Jürgen Schmidtchen (DE) and Elia Sugrañes (ES), as well as that of my immediate predecessor, Doug Deeth (CA).  It would be remiss of me not to note here, on behalf of the Federation and all its members, the ExCo delegates and past and present Bureaux, our sincere gratitude and admiration for Doug’s wise and constant leadership of FICPI over the last three years, and I am grateful to him for being willing to stay on and help me in his capacity of Immediate Past President.    

There is much to accomplish in the present term.  The ExCo adopted a new Strategic Plan at the Toronto ExCo and we will be communicating details of that to you in the near future.  In the interests of brevity, I will leave most initiatives for future messages, but there is one matter to which I would like all members to turn their urgent attention: That is FICPI’s initiative to arrange IP litigation insurance and the recent questionnaire that we have circulated.  The deadline for responding is 25 July 2018 and it is vital that we receive your input.

Proposed FICPI IP litigation insurance for SMEs

In many countries and regions, the high cost of patent and trade mark litigation serves as an effective barrier to the enforcement and even use of registered IP rights, particularly amongst individual inventors and SMEs.  As the European Commission noted in 2015: “The high costs and complexity of litigation have a dissuasive impact on SMEs both as regards using and enforcing IP rights. This leads to SMEs in the EU under-using IP rights as a means to ensure that they earn sufficient returns on their investments in innovation… An insurance scheme would not only counter the risks of … legal fee exposure: the security of insurance and the possibility of a valorisation of IP assets could in turn lead to more investment by banks and other financial institutions into innovative start-ups and SMEs.[1] ”  

FICPI has been working with established underwriters and brokers in the field of IP insurance to investigate the feasibility of providing IP “pursuit” insurance.  This was discussed with DG GROW during FICPI’s bilateral meeting with them in March in Brussels this year, and DG GROW have expressed an interest in the proposal.  The availability of relatively inexpensive IP litigation insurance for IP rights holders could be a ‘game changer’ for SMEs in their use and enforcement of patents and trade marks, having obvious benefits in attracting new or additional IP work to members who act for SMEs.

The next step in determining the feasibility of such an IP ‘pursuit’ insurance scheme is to obtain feedback from FICPI members about the number of SME clients they represent and whether they would be willing to promote FICPI-led IP litigation insurance to their SME clients.  FICPI believes that the availability of low cost IP litigation insurance to SMEs would be invaluable in cementing the value of IP amongst the SME community.  

The questionnaire has been circulated to all members and the closing date is 25 July 2018 and can be found by clicking this link.  

Please can I take this opportunity to encourage all members, if you have not already done so, to complete and submit the questionnaire.  This would enable FICPI and the broker and underwriter to finalise details of the proposed insurance scheme.

Thank you!

Julian Crump
President of FICPI


[1] Commission staff working document.  A Single Market Strategy for Europe - Analysis and Evidence.  SWD(2015) 202 final.  28.10.2015

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