50 most influential people in IP 2023: Kurt Haertel
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50 most influential people in IP 2023: Kurt Haertel

Haertel was a patent lawyer and president of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Kurt Haertel.jpg
Kurt Haertel is credited as one of the leading figures in the formation of the EPC

The European Patent Convention marked its 50th birthday earlier this year with a celebratory event in Munich. The EPC created both the EPO and the legal system under which European patents are granted.

One person who was sadly not there to celebrate was the late Kurt Haertel.

Haertel, a former patent lawyer and president of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) who died in 2000, is widely credited as one of the leading figures in the formation of the EPC, which came into effect on October 5 1973.

Haertel was president of the DPMA at a time when the EPC was merely an idea, and played a leading role in ensuring it became a reality.

Such is his enduring influence that, since 2003, a street in Munich connecting two of the main EPO buildings has been named the Kurt Haertel Passage.

The Kurt Haertel Institute for Intellectual Property, part of the Faculty of Law of Fern Universität in Hagen, is also named in his honour.

The institute’s website says Haertel is considered the “father of European patent law”.

A worthy inclusion in this seminal year for the European patent framework, which also saw the Unified Patent Court come into being.

Profiles for the 50 most influential people in IP 2023
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The list is in five categories, which you can navigate by selecting the appropriate section below.

Industry leaders
Public officials
IP authorities
Notable individuals
Hakki is senior partner at Shearman & Sterling in the US and Dejonghe is senior partner at Allen & Overy in London
Ragot is general counsel at Christian Louboutin in France
Gil is director of research at IBM in New York
Mishra is chairman at The Bar Council of India
Reinitz is director and advocacy and legal operations counsel at Getty Images in the US
Liu is chief IP counsel at Bayer in China
Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive in California
McKay is general counsel at LKQ in Chicago
Donahue is principal counsel of patent litigation at Sanofi in New York
Huang is an IP legal counsel at Assa Abloy in China
Welch is chief IP counsel at Jack Daniel's in California
Musk is the founder of X Corp in the US
McCallum is head of litigation and IP at CoStar in the US
Fitzgerald is senior vice president at Avanci in Dublin
Adair is co-founder of Cellect in the US
Mettler is legal director for global brand protection at Yum Brands in Texas
Fan is vice president for IP at Huawei in China
Whitaker is chief legal officer at 10x Genomics in San Francisco
Breton is commissioner for the internal market in the EU at the European Commission
Jaramillo is health minister for the Colombian government
Goyal is the minister of commerce and industry in India
Meikle is the chief executive at the Commerce Commission in New Zealand
Coons is chair of the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee in Washington DC
Khan is chair of the US Federal Trade Commission in Washington DC
Orliuk is the director of Ukraine’s IP office, UANIPIO
Perlmutter is register of copyrights at the US Copyright Office in Washington DC
Campinos is president of the EPO in Munich
Vidal is the director of the USPTO and under-secretary of commerce for IP in the US government in Washington DC
Barba is the director general at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines
Koichi is commissioner at the JPO in Japan
Schwager is the director general at IP Australia
Furtado was president of Brazil’s patent and trademark office (INPI) in Brazil
Negrão is the executive director of the EUIPO in Alicante
Kupecz is a judge at the UPC Central Division in Germany
Birss is a judge at the England and Wales Court of Appeal in London
Newman is a judge at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC
Grabinski is chief judge of the UPC Court of Appeal in Germany
Sotomayor is a justice at the US Supreme Court in Washington DC
Manmohan and Banerjee are judges at the Delhi High Court in India
Connolly is chief judge of the District Court for the District of Delaware
Zigann is a judge at the UPC Munich local division
Smith is a judge at the England and Wales High Court
Venkatesan and Tisile are activists based in India and South Africa, respectively
Müller is an IP commentator who is now based in Monaco
Annsley Merelle Ward, Amy Crouch, Laura Whiting, and Tom Mitcheson KC are ChIPS members based in London
Jonathan’s Voice is a mental health charity in the UK
Altman is the CEO of OpenAI in the US
Gerwig is a film director in the US
Sheeran is a famous singer and songwriter based in the UK
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