was opened by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for IP in the UK
government, who used her keynote speech to launch the UK
IP Finance Toolkit. She said the toolkit will help
businesses seeking finance and banks who need to recognise the
value of IP: "It will assist businesses which are rich in
intangibles, but lack traditional assets, to make a stronger
case when they need to access the finance they need to grow."
It sounds like a good initiative and we’re
interested what those working in business think – let
us know once you’ve had a chance to read it.
After her talk, I sat down with Baroness Neville-Rolfe for a
short interview, which we will publish shortly. Notably, she
told me that she will be visiting the EPO in Munich for the
first time next week, to "have a look round" and meet managers
including the EPO President Benoit Battistelli. As many readers
will know, this visit comes after the EPO has faced strikes and
criticism regarding the independence of the Boards of
Appeal. Neville-Rolfe did not deny there were difficulties at
the EPO, and said she hoped to "help find a way forward" based
on "the right culture and objectives, and modern governance".
It sounds like a positive approach, so let’s see
what happens next week.
An excellent panel on FRAND and SEP developments yesterday
morning was unfortunately interrupted by a fire alarm and
evacuation. I’m pleased to report that despite the
room being packed, everyone managed to leave in an orderly way
and the alarm turned out to be false. After we’d
all retaken our seats, speaker Nick Cunningham of Wragge picked
up where he had left off, merely noting in passing: "I told you
FRAND was a hot topic!"
Maria Engstrand of Valea and Keith Gilman of Lerner David
Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik gave us an update on
post-grant and inter-partes review developments in the US, as
well as a comparison with opposition proceedings at the EPO. I
know this is a topic that will be discussed further at our US
Forum next week, but it seems that in Europe at least there
remain lots of questions about issues such as the real
party-in-interest, estoppel, whether patent drafting should be
changed and, in general, how to navigate the new procedures.
Or, as moderator Andrew Hammond asked Gilman: "Why should I pay
the USPTO $20,000 to the job it should have done properly in
the first place?"
The final session of the day was possibly the most
entertaining, focusing on the Unified Patent Court. As the
speakers said, now that we are getting more of an idea about
the likely costs in terms of both renewal fees and court fees
article earlier this week - subscription or free trial
required), patent owners will soon need to make decisions about
whether or not to use the system. When it comes to making such
decisions, commentators often draw a distinction between "crown
jewel" patents and others, but we have often wondered what to
call the "others". David Rosenberg of GSK suggested "costume
jewellery" patents. Do readers have any better suggestions?