After hugely successful launches in New York and San Jose, Managing Intellectual Property brought the International Women's Leadership Forum to London for the first time on February 24.
The forum focused on IP developments in Europe and globally and provided an opportunity for women in IP to hear from thought leaders on subjects such as litigation, licensing, patent protection, copyright and trade marks. Delegates engaged in interactive discussions to examine best practice and innovation around leadership, networking and business development. Featuring a speaker line-up of leading general and IP counsel, these commentators shared their thoughts and insights on the current IP landscape as well as their own personal work experiences and career progression.
You can read the key takeaways from the event below.
Unlike many events that are aimed at only at the most senior lawyers, this event
welcomed both new admitted and experienced associates, senior associates and partners in private practice, and legal counsel, senior legal counsel and general
counsel on the in-house side. It is a development opportunity for the next generation of women leaders. The aim is to provide an inclusive debate around building the talent pipeline as well as discussing the latest developments in IP.
- Legal/general counsel
- Senior legal/general counsel
- Heads of legal/legal directors
- Corporate executives
- Associates and Senior Asscociates
The Unified Patent Court
- The Unitary Patent and the UPC are designed to reduce transaction costs and that should help boost economic growth
- Be aware that only patentees can opt-out. It is important that licensees discuss the issue of opt-outs when they negotiate their licences.
- If the UPC selects the right judges and the costs are set at a level that make the system attractive then the UPC is likely to offer benefits to many IP owners.
Strategies for IP litigation
- Ensure that engineers in your company see IP as part of the engineering process. That means communicating the importance of IP on a regular basis. Ensure that any rewards that you give to inventors are welcomed by them. This can vary from one culture to another.
- You need to engage, talk, get your engineers onside and then do it all again.
- Most judges in Brazil do not appreciate that litigation can be part of a wider commercial strategy.
Challenges in the life sciences industry
- The growth of biosimilars is likely to lead to more patent litigation as IP owners try to clear the way for their own products or enforce monopolies. The stakes are high.
Trade mark and copyright issues
- Many trade mark owners dislike the Madrid system but use it because of the cost savings it offers. They find it cumbersome and the databases difficult to use.
- Lawyers are having to consider ways of protecting fluid and dynamic marks, as marketing professionals try to use trade marks in increasingly innovative ways.
- Work closely with Customs officials to ensure that they understand your products and how to spot fake versions of them.
- You may be able to obtain orders to have websites selling infringing goods shut down, but others will quickly take their place. It is not a long-term solution.
Latest developments in the US
- Appearing before technically qualified judges at PTAB is very different to appearing before a jury in a Federal Court patent trial. But you still need to develop a narrative about the dispute.
IP in Asia
- There can be advantages to persuading the police to bring a criminal action in China. But you need local colleagues or advisers who can explain the technology to them clearly and simply so that the police can be confident that the trial will result in a conviction.
- Try to meet your colleagues in Asia regularly. They may tell you things face-to-face that they wouldn't do by telephone. Ensure that you help them get their voices heard and taken into account during company-wide meetings.
The importance of leadership in developing your career
- It is important to act like a leader - don't be the person who is always making the coffee.
- Be mindful about your brand. Work closely with your stakeholders and focus on developing and implementing strategy. That's what a good leader does.
- Be willing to take risks. Some women have a tendency to be risk-averse so be mindful of that when making decisions.
- Don't focus on rectifying your perceived weaknesses at the expense of improving your strengths. Those are what differentiate you.
- Focus on developing a network but do so discriminately. Find one IP organisation you like, get involved and stick with it. Decide what style of networking suits you. You may find social events useful, or you may get more from working on a committee or working group.