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Why everyone wants to talk about the America Invents Act

The AIA is the hottest topic at this year’s AIPLA Annual Meeting in Washington DC

While the America Invents Act (AIA) was the obvious focus for the 2012 Annual Meeting, this year’s planning committee, which began brainstorming sessions about a year in advance, was faced with the challenge of designing a conference around a topic in flux. With some changes like the first-to-file rules still not finalized, and others that became effective September 16 in very early stages, predicting a particular focus for each session was not easy.

But there was no uncertainty that members would want to talk about AIA implementation. “Given the timing, we decided fairly early on that we needed to have a heavy AIA focus,” said Sharon Israel of Mayer Brown, the officer in charge of the 2012 Planning Committee.

“Normally we would decide whether a subject deserves a morning or afternoon session,” said Manny Schecter, Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee and Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law at IBM. But with the AIA as “the elephant in the room,” committee members decided to deviate from the typical AIPLA format. In the end, they settled on dedicating one track in each morning and afternoon session to the AIA. Schecter and Israel both identified Friday afternoon’s session, which examines the question of whether the new AIA system will work, as a must-see (Friday Track 1: AIA—Will the New System Work?, 2:00 p.m.—3:30 p.m.). The panel features a line-up of high-profile IP experts, including USPTO Director David Kappos.

But since the Association’s members include lawyers who practice overseas and across all areas of IP, how to cover patent reform while providing “something for everybody” presented an additional challenge.

Israel and Schecter said they tried to strike a balance between topics relating to U.S. and international IP issues. Thursday’s session will include an international track which covers the emerging markets of Israel, Brazil, South Africa and Russia. It will also include a discussion on advice for managing global IP portfolios.

Other important topics this year include the smart phone patent wars and the sometimes negative attention they have drawn to IP law (Friday Closing Plenary Session, Saturday 9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.), and cyber-security issues (Friday Track 3: Theft of IP through Cyber Attacks, 8:45 a.m.—11:45 a.m.).

This report was first published in the AIPLA Daily Report. Download the AIPLA Daily Report, published by Managing IP from Washington, DC from our conference newspapers page.

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