Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 8 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

INTA 2022: Office heads tout pros of unified IP agencies

Rena Lee (left), David Gooder (middle) and José Antonio Gil Celedonio (right) discuss the future of IP offices

Senior officials from seven IP offices debated the pros and cons of managing all national IP rights under one roof

Heads and senior officials at seven intellectual property offices highlighted the benefits of having unified IP agencies and revealed the challenges of achieving financial balance at this year’s INTA Annual Meeting.

Officials from IP offices in the Philippines, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, the US, Singapore and the UK spoke about these issues at a panel called ‘IP Office of the Future: How to Build an Action Plan for a 21st Century IP Office’ in Washington DC today, May 2.

Catherine Chammartin, director general of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, said her office handled all IP rights – including trademarks, patents and copyright – and “wouldn’t have it any other way”.

Chammartin noted that being unified helped the office digitalise its services more efficiently. She added that she tried to think of a disadvantage to such a policy because the panel’s task was to discuss the pros and cons of bringing these rights under one roof.

But she couldn’t find any cons, she said. The only hurdle she could think of was that such a system could create financial challenges. Patent and trademark services were largely financed from fees from users, but copyright services weren’t as lucrative, and her IP office had a deficit in this area, she said.

“I still think it’s important to bring it together, though. And if you accept the principle that we finance policy work using patent and trademark fees, I think you also have to accept that we finance copyright policy work, which allows us to have this holistic approach.”

Rowel Barba, director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, who also runs an office in which IP rights are integrated, agreed that having such a system was a good thing.

He said the integration of IP helped the office develop consistent policies and programmes, and noted that the agency’s bureau of patents pioneered a learning management system, which was being adapted by the other bureaus at the office.

Finances in order

Speakers also discussed how they managed their finances to properly support services.

José Antonio Gil Celedonio, director general of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, asked whether IP offices such as his should funnel more money towards strengthening current services or offering new services.

In answering his own question, he said it was important to do both, noting that he wanted to improve current services.

Sources also discussed when IP officials should consider raising fees.

Konstantinos Georgaras, interim CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, said that although there was never a good time to raise fees, there were some considerations that could help limit the impact on stakeholders.

He noted that offices should build in as much lead time as possible before fees were raised to give stakeholders time to prepare, and that they should look at whether there were any external forces – such as recession or pandemic – that could make fee increases problematic.

Agencies should also understand how different prices could affect various customers, such as SMEs or universities, the panel opined.

David Gooder, commissioner for trademarks at the USPTO, Rena Lee, chief executive at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, and Tim Moss, CEO of the UKIPO, also spoke on the panel.

José Luis Londoño, director of policy development at INTA, moderated the talk.

The INTA Annual Meeting is being held this week at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Klaus Grabinski told delegates at a UPC inauguration event that the proposed SEP regulation would limit access to justice
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Sukanya Sarkar shares her thoughts on this year’s annual meeting in Singapore, where debates ranged from AI opportunities to improving law firm culture
The court’s ruling is a good reminder that US parties aren’t guaranteed attorney fees just because they win, say sources
With business confidence in a shaky state, Rachel Tan and Lisa Yong of Rouse discuss how in-house IP teams can manage their trademark portfolios through uncertain times
The Court of Appeal had stern words for Med-El’s representatives after they highlighted a deputy judge’s background as a solicitor
Funders and NPEs say asserting patent portfolios can minimise risk at the USPTO’s PTAB, where procedure remains a controversial topic
The US Supreme Court’s ruling wasn’t a surprise and reflects a trend that had already been bubbling away for a while, say tech and pharma counsel
Previous attempts at major transatlantic tie-ups have failed, so lawyers will keep their eyes firmly on Allen & Overy’s grand plans
INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo shares his plans if he were to win the EUIPO leadership race and says his application does not affect his INTA role