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Eight highlights from the AIPPI Congress in Rio de Janeiro

Managing IP's team were among the 1600 IP practitioners in Rio de Janeiro for the AIPPI Congress last week. From the plenary voting room to the beach, here are a few memories

Managing IP published three editions of the AIPPI Congress News last week, featuring interviews, photos and reports. You can download the newspapers (PDF) to read all the articles and see the photos, or read all the articles online at

We've selected just a few of the highlights below. The links included are to the online articles and are all free access. However, don't forget to take out a trial subscription for full access to our site and to receive e-mail notifications.

1 Rio was a great host city, but problems loom for INPI

Luiz Otavio Pimentel
Congress chair Luiz Henrique Do Amaral urged attendees to enjoy their time in the city, and the hospitality of Brazilian practitioners was evident throughout the week, but particularly at the joint reception put on by local firms at the famous Maracana Stadium, which hosted the FIFA World Cup final last year.

Regrettably, they don't have much to celebrate: backlogs at Brazil's patent office are long, and getting longer, and the resources may not be available to tackle them soon. We interviewed INPI President Luiz Otávio Pimentel and the subject also came up at the industry lunch on Wednesday, where Wander Stange Menchik of Embraer was speaking.

2 AIPPI is changing

Laurent Thibon welcomes the Pakistan national group
Rio was a landmark for AIPPI in several respects: it was the first annual Congress, the first with the association's new Executive Director John Bochnovic (interview) and the occasion for numerous structural reforms (as Reporter General Laurent Thibon explained). As they both said, the aim is to make the association more efficient and free up its volunteers to work on important matters, rather than administration.

Rio also saw AIPPI welcome two new national groups from Pakistan and Vietnam, part of a push in Asia that will also see it hold a forum in Kuala Lumpur next March.

3 AIPPI stays the same

Sarah Matheson
Sarah Matheson
Despite the changes, the core of AIPPI's work remains, including the extensive debating of policy questions. It's only when you see and speak to some of those involved in this process, which includes submissions from national and regional groups, that you realise the scale of the work involved, and it's a testimony to the enthusiasm and expertise of the IP profession that so many people devote so much time to these debates (and make no mistake they are debates, with everyone's contribution considered and valued). 

The resolutions passed this year were on trade secrets, copyright exceptions and limitations, trade mark free riding and inventorship of patents. They will be posted on AIPPI's website soon.

And the work doesn't stop. Delegates agreed four more questions to debate at next year's Congress (one of which will be on design functionality, the subject of a workshop this year). To find out more about AIPPI's academic work see the interview with Reporter General Sarah Matheson.


With perhaps only a year to go until Europe's new patent system launches, the Unitary Patent and UPC session attracted more than 700 sign-ups. Not quite this many attendees made it into the meeting on Sunday evening, perhaps because they were not quite sure what they were signing up to or perhaps they were tempted by alternative attractions in the city...

Nevertheless, there was a lively discussion featuring members of AIPPI's Standing Committee on the Unitary Patent and UPC, judges and representatives of Intel, BlackBerry and Eli Lilly. AIPPI has two consultations running - on fees and the relationship between the UPC and EPO oppositions - until November 16.

5 Doing the Frandango

AIPPI FRAND panelThere is insufficient space here to do justice to the mammoth three-hour panel session on FRAND and SEP developments, which featured speakers from Ericsson, Qualcomm and Microsoft along with judges from Brazil, Germany and the US. With such a vocal panel and despite technical and language problems, Michael Frohlich of BlackBerry did an outstanding job of giving everyone a platform while keeping the discussion rolling along. Anyone else asked to moderate such a panel could do worse than emulate him.

Read our report on the panel, which (spoiler alert) included references to pornography, hotel rooms and a new dance - the "Frandango".

6 Pharma in focus

As in previous years, Tuesday's day of pharma workshops proved particularly popular with attendees. Subjects covered this year included personalised medicine (notably, the implications of the recent Myriad decision in Australia), compulsory licensing and pharmaceutical trade mark regulation.

7 Meet Boomer in 2017

BoomerAs regular attendees will know, voting at the AIPPI Congress is a serious business, with flags for each delegation and an electronic handset for each delegate. Sometimes, though, it's necessary to revert to the traditional hand raising. Such was the case at the General Assembly meeting. 

The reforms were passed overwhelmingly, but looking around the room we noticed an interloper (right). This was apparently "Boomer" and he was there all week (though apparently hibernating between coffee breaks) to promote the 2017 Congress in Sydney. Before then, AIPPI will be visiting Milan (September 16 to 20 2016) which we understand will be the first AIPPI Congress in Italy since Venice 1969. Does anyone remember that far back?

8 Local colour

AIPPI dancingAs one attendee admitted (see the vox pop in Wednesday's newspaper) despite all the serious stuff, AIPPI 2015 may be best remembered for the Brazilian atmosphere, and particularly the spectacular Opening Ceremony, with its teams of colourful dancers. 

One attendee in particular will remember this, as he joined a perfomance of the Brazilian martial art capoeria (left). We know who it is, but do you recognise him?

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