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Managing IP’s COVID-19 resource hub

Our stories make sense of what the fast-moving developments mean for practitioners, counsel and all other stakeholders globally

The full list of stories can be found below.

As COVID-19 continues to tread a destructive path in all areas of society, nearly every industry and profession has been affected. The intellectual property world is not exempt from these changes, of course, and the people and systems within it face uncertain times. At Managing IP we are endeavouring to make sense of what the fast-moving developments mean for practitioners, counsel and all other stakeholders globally.

Patents untouched, for now

Despite the widespread damage and affliction caused by COVID-19, it seems that – for the time being at least – patent portfolios have been largely unaffected.

As Managing IP’s reporter Charlotte Kilpatrick found in a recent article, budget constraints have not forced in-house counsel to cut their portfolios to save on renewal costs. Instead, the pandemic has only made IP departments apply more scrutiny when examining their portfolios. 

However, although the crisis has not forced many departments to slash budgets yet, in the meantime they could seize the opportunity to do a little spring-cleaning of their patent assets.

Read the full article here.

Litigation work coming external counsel’s way

Law firms globally can expect in-house counsel to send them a wave of COVID-created litigation work in the next few months despite many external lawyers being asked to reduce their rates, according to a survey by Euromoney’s Legal Media Group (LMG) and Euromoney Thought Leadership Consulting.

In May, LMG – whose titles include Managing IP, ITR and IFLR – surveyed 435 senior legal and company officials about the impact of COVID-19 on their legal work. General counsel, heads of legal and other figures including chief executives, all from a range of countries and industries and companies of various sizes, took part.  

In asking what type of work counsel will send to external law firms in the next three months, we found that nearly a third (31%) of respondents will be keeping advisers busy with litigation/dispute resolution. This represented a significant jump from the 15% figure when we asked the same question but applied it to the situation today.

Read the full article here.

US courts shutdown shows virtual opportunities

Judges and litigators told Americas editor Patrick Wingrove about how the COVID-19 courtroom shutdown has highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of holding hearings on virtual platforms. 

Judges cannot conduct jury trials virtually at the moment, but they have endeavoured to hold judicial conferences that don’t require in-person hearings.

While this development has shown that there are inherent communication shortcomings when conducting hearings from afar, they said, online hearings have been shown to work and – more than that – to create case management efficiencies.

Read the full article here

Trial and error: India’s virtual courts experiment still needs work

The US is not the only country to experiment with digital justice, of course.

In India, courts have risen to the need for virtual trials since the country went into lockdown in March. On April 6, the Supreme Court issued a number of directions to courts across the country to facilitate hearings through video conferencing.

However, there is some way to go, as Asia reporter Karry Lai found out by speaking to lawyers in the country. From practical problems such as poor internet connections and power cuts to wider debates of open justice and access to proceedings, Indian courts are facing a myriad of challenges in virtual trials.

Read the full article here.

Compulsory licensing jitters

After speaking with in-house sources at pharma companies, reporter Charlotte Kilpatrick learned that they have mixed emotions about mounting pressure from governments, the World Health Organization and research institutions to give up patent rights to find a cure for COVID-19.

Innovators are eager to find a vaccine, but the threat of having their IP seized leaves some companies wondering what precedent this pandemic will set.

Read the full article here.

Other in-house lawyers told Charlotte that compulsory licensing could create problems down the line when researching vaccines. A better alternative to compulsory licensing is to strengthen public and private sector collaborations that are working hard to find COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. 

Read the full article here.

Jet-set lifestyles on the wane?

“Many people will come out of this and realise that they probably didn’t need to be doing a lot of the things they were.” That was the prediction of one lawyer trying to foresee the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to senior reporter Max Walters, a mixture of in-house IP counsel and private practice lawyers predicted that if we get accustomed to doing business effectively over apps like Skype and Teams then it may reduce the need for regular international travel to meet clients and colleagues.

One lawyer also predicted that some law firms may look to scale back their office space – and save money in the process – should home working become far more common.

Read the full article here.

Stay up to date

As our reporters and editors provide more insight on COVID-19 developments, we will update the below list of stories for you. 

Starting in a crisis: COVID’s impact on future lawyers [July8]

In-house: law firms must ‘wake up’ to COVID dangers [June 26]

Remote working: the pros, the cons, and the Zoom [June 11]

COVID spreads fears of IP litigation increase [June 11]

Counsel: INTA to stay, but conferences may suffer post-COVID [June 11]

Poll: COVID could push company counsel to monetise more IP [June 5]

Interview: Illinois judge will stop remote court after COVID [June 5]

COVID crisis leaves patent portfolios untouched, for now [June 4] 

Remote working increases risk of trade secret divulgence [June 4]

Sports team brands say COVID is cause to re-think legal spend [May 28]

Survey: In-house to shift COVID litigation work to law firms [May 26] 

Trial and error: India’s virtual courts experiment still needs work [May 26] 

Three quarters in-house counsel want remote hearings in future [May 20] 

Health bodies push for COVID patent pool to fight ‘IP hoarding’ [May 20]

Five US judges: counsel help needed to ease COVID backlog [May 11]

DPMA chief: early tech use helped ease COVID-19 strain [May 7]

Virtual hearings seen as creative compromise in Germany [May 7] 

A stranger's guide to pharma IP collaboration during COVID-19 [May 7]

Little and often: in-house reduce time on external counsel calls [May 5]

COVID-19: Chinese courts offer practical tips for virtual trials [May 4]

Compulsory licensing could create more problems than it solves [April 23]

IT problems put justice on hold in France [April 23] 

Courts shutdown shows virtual opportunities and challenges for US judges and litigators [April 20]

Cheese and wine protections face uncertainty amid COVID-19 [April 16]

COVID-19 brings open source medicine into the limelight [April 16th]

Trainee schemes ‘50% less effective’ after COVID-19 shutdown [April 14]

COVID-19 puts spotlight on compulsory licensing jitters [April 9]

UK judge and lawyers rise to virtual court challenges [April 9]

How IP department heads keep calm and carry on [April 2]

How patent pooling can speed up a COVID-19 vaccine [April 2]

COVID-19: Lawyers' jet-set lifestyle may decline post-crisis [April 1] 

How IP litigators are navigating the COVID-19 shutdown [March 27]

COVID-19: Patents are not adequate incentives for vaccine research [March 17]

In-house fear ‘serious challenges’ amid COVID-19 shutdown [March 17]

Global research rush spurs COVID-19 patent challenges [March 12]

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