Fordham IP Conference 2014: Day 1 highlights
James Nurton rounds up five bits of news from the first day of the Fordham IP Conference in New York
- Want to make your point about IP? Call on a US president.
That was one of the lessons from the first day of this
year’s Fordham IP Conference. In her lunchtime
speech on transparency, USPTO Deputy Director Michelle
Lee quoted extensively from Thomas Jefferson. Former PTO
Director David Kappos, meanwhile, used his morning slot to
open letter to Abraham Lincoln. So who will be the first
speaker to appeal to President Obama?
- Probir J Mehta, acting assistant US Trade Representative,
probably had the least enviable role at the conference this
year. Not only was he the first speaker on the opening panel
at 8am on Thursday. Not only did he have to deal with
Professor Hugh Hansen’s famously inquisitorial
moderation. But his predecessor and former boss, Stanford
McCoy (who recently
joined the Motion Picture Association) was sat on the
front row in his capacity as a "designated audience member".
Hansen couldn’t resist teasing McCoy about his
new role: "You’ve never looked so well,
- Flattery will get you everywhere – or at least
to the top of WIPO. Francis Gurry, recently
reelected as the Organisation’s Director
General, opened his speech yesterday morning by describing
Fordham as "the Davos of IP" and Hansen as the "leading IP
impresario". He went on to discuss issues ranging from new
copyright treaties to the need for action on trade secrets
and the political difficulties of protecting traditional
knowledge. His speech also touched on themes that have
recurred throughout the conference: public legitimacy;
transparency; secrecy; and coherence where there are
overlapping international regimes and agreements.
- During the afternoon, moderating a panel on trade marks
and the Court of Justice of the EU (which was
reported on the IP Kat blog), featuring Judge Allan
Rosas of the Court, I joked that the session would be
divided into two halves: in the first half, Judge Rosas would
give us his perspective on trade marks at the CJEU; in the
second half, the panellists (including Paul Maier of OHIM and
Sir Robin Jacob) would disagree with him. Sadly, my
prediction was not fulfilled as the panellists managed to
agree on many points, including that four instances
(examination/opposition/cancellation; Board of Appeal;
General Court; Court of Justice) is one too many for CTM
disputes; and that there should be some form of leave to
appeal to reduce the workload on the Luxembourg courts.
- There’s a strong attendance at Fordham from
Europe. It was nearly not the case, though. One flight from
London to New York on Wednesday was delayed by a technical
fault, only detected just before it was about to take off.
The passengers, including many IP practitioners, had to wait
on the tarmac for three hours while the aircraft was fixed.
As one told Managing IP: "At least it gave me more time to
work on my eight-minute conference presentation." Who says IP
lawyers are not resourceful?
Look out for a review of day 2 at Fordham on the blog soon.
In the meantime, read updates on twitter (#fordhamip).