On April 20, 2018, approximately 35 intellectual property practitioners gathered at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) in The Hague, The Netherlands, for an afternoon that included an overview of INTA, a presentation on legal tech, a mock trial, and a reception, providing the attendees with an opportunity to learn, practice, and network. The event was co-hosted by INTA member firms Bird & Bird LLP (The Netherlands), Tigges Rechtsanwälte (Germany), Altius (Belgium), TrademarkNow (Finland), and Darts-ip (Belgium).
Developments in Legal Tech
Jan Gerd Mietzel and Carolina Calheiros (Rolim, Mietzel, Wohlnick & Calheiros LLP, Germany), as representatives of INTA’s Young Practitioners Committee, introduced INTA and explained how to get more involved in the Association. They highlighted the Association’s membership benefits, including that any individual belonging to an INTA member organization can (at no additional cost), obtain his/her own login to the INTA website, thereby gaining access to a large variety of useful periodicals, publications, searchable practice guides, and webinars.
Manon Rieger-Jansen (Bird & Bird LLP, The Netherlands), Micaela Schork (Tigges Rechtsanwälte, Germany), Rik Minoodt (Darts-ip, Belgium), Paul Maeyaert (Altius, Belgium), and Charles Hill (TrademarkNow, Finland) subsequently shared how they became (and continue to be) involved with INTA, talked about their experiences at the Annual Meeting, other (regional) conferences and roundtables, and emphasized the great opportunity to network and keep up on the latest trends in IP.
Following this initial session, Mr. Hill and Mr. Minoodt gave a very interesting presentation on the impact of technology on IP, focusing especially on artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data.
Mr. Hill opened with the question, “Are we doomed?,” sparking a conversation about the impact that technology has already had and will continue to have on every lawyer’s practice. In his view, however, “Legal Tech,” as it is currently dubbed, results in the elimination of busywork, enabling a lawyer to focus on more meaningful tasks. Mr. Hill said that, for him, AI is currently inefficient without human intervention.
In the next presentation, Mr. Minoodt explained how AI and machine learning can be employed to analyze all this data in a much more effective way by using a probabilistic approach. Once the system learns how to correct and improve itself, it is self-maintaining and significantly reduces the cost and time spent on the legal analysis.
In conclusion, Mr. Hill explained the “crazy and not so crazy” theories regarding the future of AI. The future is uncertain, but certainly exciting. Priscilla Van la Parra (Ventoux, The Netherlands) summed up the common feeling: “I scratched my head a few times, thinking ‘is this really going to happen?’”
Two weeks prior to the event, the 26 young practitioners coming from The Netherlands, Belgium, and Slovakia had been divided into eight groups. Each group had received a fictitious case and was assigned to the role of either claimant or defendant. During the mock trial, the groups were given 45 minutes of further preparation. Each group then had 10 minutes to present its case, followed by five minutes of replication rejoinder. Many of the young practitioners noted that the preparation leading up to the trial provided a great opportunity for getting to know new people.
During the pleadings, all groups proved to be very well prepared, demonstrated extensive knowledge of the facts and the legal questions, and advanced well-considered arguments. The panel of judges consisted of Ms. Rieger-Jansen, Ms. Schork (Tigges Rechtsanwälte, Germany), Mr. Maeyaert (Altius, Belgium), and Diter Wuytens (BOIP, The Netherlands). The groups faced a challenging situation in which they needed to respond to the arguments of the opposing counsel, manage their time, and also answer questions from the bench.
Benjamin Northshield (Gevers, Belgium) and Olivier Van de Vorst (DLA Piper, Belgium) were part of the first-place group, together with Martyna Sloczynska (Philips International B.V., The Netherlands). Pleading an infringement action between two beer brands that both used the depiction of a pink elephant in their figurative trademarks, HUYGE and OEDIPUS, one of their arguments pointed to the level of attention that beer consumers would attribute to the visual aspect of the respective trademark. Arguing for the other side, the runner-up group, consisting of Priscilla Van la Parra (Ventoux, The Netherlands) and Amanda van Werkhoven (Jump Legal B.V., The Netherlands), argued that considering the religious importance various cultures were attributing to the elephant, a depiction of this animal should be barred from monopolization by a single brand.
The group finishing in third place included Marjolijn Ebels (Van Doorne N.V., The Netherlands), Josje Koehof (Hogan Lovells International LLP, The Netherlands), Sabrina Lodder (Bird & Bird LLP, The Netherlands), and Shaharzaad Said (Windt Le Grand Leeuwenburgh, The Netherlands), who pleaded in a case between two companies (Porsche AG and Cayenne Pepper BV) operating in the car sales business.
Marie Calderbank (Gevers, Belgium), said: “I think it was really great. As a paralegal, I do mostly background work and I am not really in the spotlight. It was quite interesting to be with other young practitioners and to have the opportunity to talk with young lawyers about how they see the IP world.”
During the final reception, Darts-ip raffled off an airline ticket to any European destination of the winner’s choosing. The lucky winner was Jean Leon Kaboré (Vesuvius, Belgium), who can now use his ticket to attend one of the upcoming Young Practitioners Committee events, which are scheduled to be held in Oslo, Norway, and Madrid, Spain.
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© 2018 International Trademark Association