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FICPI, The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys

President’s Monthly Newsletter – December 2018

19th December, 2018

Dear FICPI Family

As 2018 rushes headlong towards its close (seemingly only a few weeks after in began!) I want to take this opportunity to reflect on FICPI’s activities over the course of the year and to look ahead to the exciting plans we have for 2019 and beyond.  

Athens & Brussels

The World Congress took place in Toronto in early June, but planning for the associated Executive Committee meeting began back in February with a meeting of the Study & Work Commission (CET) in February in Athens, Greece, and our thanks go to Eleni Kokkini (GR), the Chair of the CET’s Trade Marks Sub-Committee (Group 1) for the organisation of that meeting. 

CET Meeting Athens

From Athens, a number of us accompanied the then President, my predecessor Doug Deeth (CA), to Brussels for meetings with various parts of the European Commission and the European Patent Office. One of the bodies we met with whilst in Brussels was DG Grow, with whom we discussed FICPI-led proposals for low-cost IP litigation insurance.  The Commission itself has acknowledged the importance of creating a European-level IP litigation insurance arrangement as part of its Start-up and Scale-up Initiative to put IP at the service of SMEs to foster innovation and growth.  Since 2015, FICPI has been working with a leading global insurance broker to design a ‘pursuit’ IP insurance product with affordable annual premiums that would allow more patent and trade mark owners, especially within the SME sector, to enforce their IP rights.  FICPI has invited the Commission to support the arrangement and will continue these discussions to try and turn the proposals into reality.  Our thanks to Anne Levy (FR) and Steve Krouzecky (AU) for leading the way on this important work.  

Doug Deeth @ EPO Office Brussels

At the meeting with the EPO, Doug Deeth and Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding between FICPI and the EPO by which the EPO will continue its support for FICPI’s Academy of Education international patent drafting courses for students in Southeast Asia and Latin America.  I am delighted to report that our second drafting course in Latin America will be held in Colombia (Medellin and Bogota) with the support of the EPO and our friends at ASIPI, starting with a first week-long segment from 6-10 May 2019.  Our gratitude must go to Didier Intes (FR), president of FICPI’s Training & Education Committee (TEC), and course leaders, Geoffrey de Klein (CA) and Eric Le Forestier (FR), as well as all the other tutors who generously give up their precious time to teach on the courses and make them so valuable for the students.  If you are interested in learning more about FICPI’s training course, please check the Training & Education pages of the FICPI website regularly for details. I would also like to remind all members and their firms of the Sponsorship opportunities to have themselves associated with FICPI’s high quality patent drafting courses.  If you are interested in sponsoring one of FICPI’s patent drafting courses, please click here

Benoît Battistelli and Doug Deeth

Osaka, New Delhi & Rio de Janeiro

Since the World Congress, FICPI has been busy.  As previously reported, I represented the Federation at AIPLA’s Annual Meeting in October and had the pleasure of participating in the opening a closing ceremonies of FICPI-Japan’s Osaka Symposium in November.  I want to take this opportunity of congratulating Mr. Shogo Ohnishi (JP), President of FICPI Japan, and Mr. Yuzuru Okabe (JP), Chair of the Osaka Symposium, again for organising such an excellent working and social programme.  FICPI is now hard at work organising a similar Symposium to be held in May 2020 in Seoul with the assistance and support of FICPI Korea.  Doug Deeth represented FICPI at APAA’s 18th General Meeting in New Delhi, and Treasurer General, Marc Chauchard (FR), and Deputy Secretary General, Elia Sugrañes (ES), represented FICPI at ASIPI’s XX Congress in Rio de Janeiro.  The ASIPI meeting was an experiment for FICPI because for the first time we had a booth within the Exhibition Area.  I understand that the booth was a great success in attracting people to come and learn about FICPI as well as the Latin American drafting courses I have already mentioned above, and the Bureau will seriously consider having a booth at future meetings of our sister organisations.  

Marc Chauchard @ ASIPI

FICPI-Japan Symposium Osaka

FICPI was represented at the TM5 meeting by Lena Shen (CN), who is the Chair of FICPI’s Sub-Committee for Asia (CET Group 8) and Naresh Kilaru (US), FICPI-US. Reports from this meeting can be found here.  Toni Ashton (CA) represented FICPI at the 40th Session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks (SCT) while in December, Kim Finnilä (FI) attended the 29th Session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP).  The SCP report can be found here.  Of particular importance to IP attorneys and their clients will be FICPI’s continued pressure on the members of the SCP to progress their work in the field of Privilege for Communications with IP Advisors, and a copy of the statement Kim Finnila made to the SCP on behalf of FICPI, which is subject to ratification by the ExCo, can be found here.  

100 Years of the Patent System in Poland

2018 has marked the centenary of the patent system in Poland.  I would like to extend our congratulations to all our members in Poland on reaching this milestone.  Whilst our membership in Poland remains small at present, the Membership Commission is working with our provisional national group there, headed by Rafał Witek (PL), to grow the section and we expect to see the first fruits of those efforts in the near future.  As part of the 100-year celebrations, Robert Watson (UK), Vice President of the CET, represented FICPI at a Jubilee Gala in Warsaw as well as at EUIPO’s DesignEuropa Award Ceremony.  Robert's report may be seen here.

Stockholm & Beijing

At the end of November, I was pleased to make a short visit to Stockholm to see our friends in FICPI Sweden, where I gave a short presentation of FICPI’s new Strategic Plan and current activities.  The main issue on the agenda was the ongoing difficulties still faced by the clients of IP attorneys in Scandinavia with regard to legal privilege for the advice the receive. Kim Finnilä was one of the presenters, and no doubt the discussions informed his later submission to the SCP mentioned above.  

Finally, at the end of the year, Doug Deeth represented me at the 5th Presidents’ Meeting in Beijing, which was hosted by ACPAA.  Whereas the 1st to 4th Meetings in Tokyo and Seoul have focused on the potential difficulties associated with centralised online entry of PCT applications into the national/regional phase, the topic for the 5th Meeting was the challenges presented by Artificial Intelligence and other aspects of the 4th Industrial Revolution, not only to the IP systems, but also to IP firms.  The heads of the representative associations at the 5th Presidents’ Meeting signed a joint resolution that they would work hard with other interested parties to ensure the IP systems remained relevant and benefit  all users in the face of these technological advances, while balancing the interests of IP owners, third parties and the public.In addition, the importance of managing IP practices to stay abreast of these new technologies and the growing demands on the profession was recognised. 

From Athens to Brussels, from Toronto to Rio de Janeiro via Osaka and New Delhi, FICPI is an organisation with a global reach that works continuously to secure its prominent place in the world of IP and to ensure the views of its members – IP attorneys in private practice – are heard to ensure the system remains safe, practical and relevant to our clients.  And as 2018 draws to a close, planning for FICPI’s activities for 2019 are well advanced.  

Preview of 2019

FICPI’s programme for 2019 will kick off with a videoconference of the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) in early January.  The SPC will review work done so far on key initiatives aimed at:

  • Increasing participation in FICPI’s activities by younger members
  • Improving FICPI’s lobbying activities
  • Providing greater networking opportunities at FICPI’s meetings 
  • Demonstrating the value of the IP attorney within the IP systems

Having established a fairly large number of initiatives to achieve these goals, the focus of the SPC for the foreseeable future will be on implementing these initiatives before addressing other objectives of the Plan.  There will also be an in-person meeting of the Planning Committee in Turin during the Executive Committee in March.

Strategic Planning Committee Meeting, Bath

From l-r: Laurence Chauchard, David Bannerman (Former President of the CET), Julian Crump, Anne Everitt, Chris Everitt (Former President of the CET), Dorothy Deeth, Doug Deeth, and Patricia Bannerman

Meetings of the Bureau and Study & Work Commission (CET) will be held in Lisbon at the beginning of February and I would like to thank Ana de Sampaio (PT) and Uwe Borchert (DE), the CET Reporter General, for the work they are doing to ensure everything will be ready for us in Portugal.  The main agenda item for the CET will be planning the working programme for the first Executive Committee meeting of my term in Turin at the beginning of April.  If any member has anything they would like the ExCo to consider they are invited to raise it with their national delegates.  If you do not know who your delegate is, you can find a list here.  If you are from a country or region with no delegate, please contact the Secretary General

FICPI-AIPLA-AIPPI Colloquium on AI, 28-29 March 2019

The Turin ExCo will be preceded by an expert Colloquium on Artificial Intelligence and the Patent System, which will be co-hosted by FICPI, AIPLA and AIPPI.  The IP5 and other IP offices will be represented at the highest level to discuss and debate with invited representatives from user and attorney associations and industry bodies alike, the impact of AI on the patent system, with particular regard to patent eligibility, sufficiency of disclosure, inventiveness and inventorship.  A number of very high profile participants have already confirmed their attendance.  The three host organisations have formed a joint working party of experts in the field to put together a technical primer for the attendees to study in advance.  I will chair a discussion on the last day of the colloquium to consider what changes might need to be made to the patent systems to accommodate the issues that AI gives rise to.  Numbers at the colloquium will be limited and participation will be by invitation only, but shorthand writers have been hired to ensure the whole proceedings will be captured and a ‘smart summary’ will be issued as quickly as possible after the event.  If you have a particular interest in AI from a patent perspective, we would be happy to hear from you.  I would like to thank President of Honour Danny Huntington (US), Doug Deeth (CA) and Roberto Pistolesi (IT), our Secretary General, for all their hard work so far in pulling together such an exiting and important event for FICPI.  

FICPI Academy of Education Patent Drafting Courses 2019

The second week of the FICPI Southeast Asia patent drafting course (SEAD) will be held from 1-5 April 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and as mentioned above, the 2nd FICPI Latin American drafting course will begin in Colombia in May.  If you have students who you think will benefit from the international range of detailed perspectives on patent drafting offered by the FICPI courses, please contact the Academy of Education. If you or your firm would be interested in sponsoring one of the courses to have your name associated with FICPI’s high quality patent training work alongside the EPO, then please contact Didier Intès.

Patent Drafting Course Brochures: Kuala Lumpur & Colombia

Official Visits in 2019

An important part of FICPI’s work is to maintain strong relationships with international and other organisations in the field of IP, and to this end, FICPI endeavours to make at least annual visits to the major IP offices, WIPO, the European Commission and others.  In 2019, we are hoping to meet with the new President of the EPO and his team in March and with the new Executive Director of the EUIPO in May.  Whilst in Munich, we will also make arrangements to visit with the EPO Boards of Appeal.  Towards the end of the year, we intend to visit the Japanese, Korean and Chinese IP offices and return to India for meetings with the Indian patent office and roundtable seminars with members of FICPI India.  If any member has any issue they would like FICPI to raise with one or more of these offices, they are invited to contact Coleen Morrison (CA), President of the Study & Work Commission (CET), who will work with her team to prepare first drafts of the agendas for the meetings.  


FICPI 18th Open Forum, Vienna, 9-12 October 2019

2019 will see the return of the FICPI Open Forum, which took a year off in 2018 to make way for the Congress.  The 18th Open Forum will be held in Vienna, Austria, and information about the working and social programmes will be published early in the New Year, with registration expected to open in February.  Please check the FICPI website for information.  The Vienna Forum will follow the usual 3-stream format with dedicated channels for IP Practice Management, Trade Marks and Patents respectively.  As FICPI’s work in the field of IP practice management continues to gain interest, more time will be devoted to topics in this important area at the Forum, including a plenary session for all attendees.  At the same time, efforts are being made to open up speaking opportunities for younger FICPI members.  Recognising that none of us can split ourselves in three, all of the Forum sessions will be videoed to be made available for streaming from the FICPI website afterwards.  There will be no extra free to watch these videos for all registered delegates to the Forum.  This means you will not have to miss any of the sessions ever again.  

We are now just over six months into my term as President and looking back at what we have achieved since June and looking ahead to what we hope to achieve next year is quite exhausting as well as exhilarating.  FICPI is blessed by a large number of amazingly talented individuals who continually surrender huge amounts of their private time to work unpaid for the benefit of FICPI, its members and our clients, to ensure not only that the IP systems continue to function effectively, efficiently and safely, but also that this rewarding career continues to bring us all much personal satisfaction, pleasure and success.  They all deserve our grateful thanks.  

All that remains is to wish all Members a very happy Holiday and, if you are celebrating a religious festival at this time of year too, then I hope that also brings you much joy and contentment.  I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the course of 2019. 

Happy Holidays and Very Best Wishes for 2019!

Julian Crump, President
December 2018

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