For the third consecutive year,
Managing Intellectual Property hosted its annual
women’s leadership forum in London. On Thursday,
private and in-house practitioners from all over the world came
together to discuss best practice issues and review recent
developments in IP law.
After some croissants and a cup of coffee, the day began
with an opportunity for delegates to get up to speed with the
state of the Unitary Patent and UPC. The panel offered an
update on the UPC and information about the impact of
As projected by the UPC Preparatory Committee in January
2017, the provisional application phase for the UPC should
begin in May; the sunrise period for opt-outs will start in
September and the UPC should be up and running in December.
Delegates heard that the UK could remain in the UPC if it
can agree with other members on a new approach to the role of
the CJEU enforcement and the UPC structure.
IP and the digital world
In a panel led by Birgit Clark of
Baker McKenzie, we heard how well-known brands are adapting IP
protection strategies to the digital world.
Virgin’s Victoria Wisener used some case studies
to illustrate how social media can pose a huge challenge for
brands protecting their representation, and highlighted typical
instances of derogatory reference and inadvertent adoption of
brand names as events that are hard to take action against.
IFPI’s head of international Xenia Iwaszko
discussed the steady growth of licensed products in the
recording industry and increasing awareness of copyright
protection on a global scale. However, like her fellow
panellists, Iwaszko said that in some situations, the ability
of a lawyer or content owner to protect their IP can be
restricted as demonstrated in certain platforms where site
owners reject accountability for content licensing.
Managing your brand
The second half of the day focused
on handling international IP issues, tips for managing
cross-border trade mark portfolios in the light of European
trade mark reform, tackling anti-counterfeiting, life sciences
and licensing in a commercial context.
We also took time to assess the impact of artificial
intelligence and how IP could be affected by futuristic trends
such as the use of blockchain
platforms, digitisation and common buzzwords such as big data.
Borrowing the words of Neil Wilkof, delegates
heard how "the ever-expanding penetration of digitization" has
triggered "issues of secrecy…[and] privacy data".
On anti-counterfeiting, Helen Saunders of Incopro told
delegates that brand protection issues are "global, big in
value and fast-moving". The best anti-counterfeiting practices
are both reactive and pro-active. In addition, practitioners
heard that they must make good use of their professional and
customer networks and data at their disposal.
This point was reiterated by Carlson Wagonlit
Travel’s global privacy officer Samantha Simms.
Describing data as "the new oil and the new asbestos", Simms
said that due diligence in licensing and commercial
transactions has never been more important. Jillianne Osborn of
Vodafone urged delegates to be certain of the terminology they
are using in contracts and to ensure that the licensee and
licensor are both certain of what they are getting.
Power champions raise other champions
The final panel focused on the
importance of leadership in our careers. Each panellist shared
their approach to leadership and how they have been influenced
by past leaders and mentors. As a leader, Julia Holden, senior
partner of Trevisan and Cuonzo’s in Milan, said
that she has learned to be open and to remain excited about
what she does.
We also heard that an effective leader takes interest in the
people they work with and permits them to establish their
strengths by broadening the scope of their professional
The panel encouraged women to recognise their value in the
workplace, to negotiate their salaries when possible and seek
roles that will broaden their skill set. Women were also
advised to establish a work-life balance, to be confident, to
be authentic to themselves, authentic in their leadership style
and to strive for the life that they deserve.
Our next event, Managing IP’s International
Patent Forum, will be held on March 8 to 9, at the same
location - The Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London. If you would
like to attend, please visit our events page for more
To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter @ManagingIP. You
can also find more information about the network at #ipwomen
and our Women in IP website.