2021 What’s Next for Brands Conference Illuminates Future

Published: April 7, 2021

What's Next For Brands: A View From Europe ConferenceA recent INTA Conference looked at the future for brands, specifically examining innovation and technology, while providing participants with networking and business development opportunities. Immediately following the conference, INTA convened the first regional European dialogue on the IP Office of the future.

INTA’s virtual “What’s Next for Brands: A View from Europe Conference” took place on March 23 and 24 with more than 200 attendees.

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo and Conference Chairman Peter McAleese (AKRAN Intellectual Property, Italy) opened the Conference.

The first educational session focused on artificial intelligence (AI). Miguel Ortega from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) gave an expert explanation of how AI has already become a very useful tool for both examiners and users.

Panelists included Matt Hervey (Gowling WLG, UK), Wojciech Kreft (Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland), Brian McElligott (Mason Hayes & Curran, Ireland), and Caroline Perriard (BrandIT GmbH, Switzerland). They spoke on the ability of AI to anticipate risks, the connections with machine learning, and the advantages for the analysis of information that reduces time from days to minutes. The speakers agreed that AI is a transformation in the workplace but is not here to replace us.

The panels on AI and other technologies were followed by specialized workshops on the topic with small breakout sessions.

In a session on blockchain, Saverio Patimo (WIPO PROOF, Switzerland) guided participants through a useful technical explanation that Oliva Dhordain (Richemont, Switzerland) later applied to practical, real-life examples. Mr. Patimo also spoke about WIPO PROOF, the recently released time-stamping system that is similar to blockchain. The panelist noted that these systems are cost effective and are starting to be recognized by the courts.

Another session introduced the world of Big Data and its relationship with intellectual property (IP). Marcos Alvarez (Johnson & Johnson, Spain) gave examples from the pharmaceutical industry. Andrea Katalin (European Commission, Luxembourg) discussed legal issues and explored the tensions between data protection and innovation.

In a Capsule Keynote, Maria Gonzalez Gordon (CMS, Spain) interviewed Miguel Arias, Global Head of Entrepreneurship Initiatives of the Telefonica Group, who outlined his role at Telefonica and explained the value of data, ownership of data, open data, and open source. Mr. Arias said he respects privacy but that there “must be flexibility” that allows innovation since sharing data allows society to evolve.

Separately, representatives of the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), including Deputy CEO David Holdworth, spoke about what the Office has done to adapt to Brexit, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UKIPO gave a series of interesting tips for the transition period to the “new” UK, such as to be aware that exhaustion rules have changed, so that businesses parallel exporting these IP-protected goods from the UK to the European Economic Area might need the rights holders’ consent.

Attendees had the opportunity throughout the day to discuss the sessions in small, face-to-face settings, over coffee, and in Table Topics.

To complete the day, INTA held a Business Development session with Mr. Sanz de Acedo and 2021 INTA President, Tiki Dare, in a conversation driven by the interests of the registrants and moderated by Mr. McAleese.

On the second day of the Conference, a Capsule Keynote session on “Wellness and the Brand Legal Team” called attention to the fact that stress associated with the legal profession is often overlooked but must be considered. “Perfectionism is a very common trait in lawyers. With it, comes that inner critic,” said Elizabeth Rimmer (LawCare, UK). Ms. Rimmer and Alex Vowinckel (CMS London, UK) highlighted the importance of paying attention to this aspect of our life, especially now that with the pandemic, “we are living at work.”

Sessions throughout the day included a discussion of complementary IP rights, how brands are evaluated, and turning specifically to Europe, an introduction to INTA’s Europe Office and its activities, as well as an EU case law roundup that analyzed recent decisions related to bad faith.

In addition, registrants gained insights into INTA’s recently released The IP Practice of the Future Think Tank reports, which look at the profession in an increasingly technological and changing world.

Mr. Sanz de Acedo and Mr. McAleese closed the Conference by inviting members to attend INTA’s 2021 Leadership Meeting May 3–7. Registration for the Leadership Meeting is now open.

The “What’s Next for Brands: A View from Europe Conference” webcast is available on demand for registrants until April 30.

INTA Holds First European Regional Dialogue on IP Office of the Future

Building on the session of the Conference dedicated to the IP Practice of the Future, INTA organized on March 25 an online dialogue on “The IP Office of the Future: A Perspective from Europe” for European IP Offices (IPOs) to further exchange on their roles in the future.

The dialogue featured four heads of European national IPOs: Ana Bandeira, President of the Portuguese National Institute of Industrial Property; José Antonio Gil Celedonio, Director, Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office; Vojko Toman, Director, Slovenian Intellectual Property Office; and Godwin Warr, Director General, Commerce, Industrial Property Registrations Directorate, Malta.

The dialogue, moderated by INTA Chief Representative Officer for Europe Hélène Nicora, was based on “The IPO of the Future-Think Tank Report.” The Report released by INTA and prepared by an independent group of 14 current and former heads of IPOs explored three key themes: the evolution of the IP system, future challenges and opportunities, and the key features that an IPO of the future should have.

In attendance at the dialogue were high-level representatives from 25 European IPOs and 10 IP practitioners who participated as part of their Premium Access packages obtained for the preceding What’s Next for Brands Conference.

Ms. Dare made introductory remarks about the Report, and Ms. Bandeira spoke about the challenges faced by European national IPOs. The speakers followed with their perspectives on five areas where IPOs could see their role evolving: human resources, AI, enforcement, the relationship of IPOs with other public institutions, and IPOs in times of crisis.

As noted by Mr. Sanz de Acedo, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for the IPO of the future given the different mandates and economic and political contexts of IPOs in Europe, but many European IPOs share similar challenges and opportunities to expand their roles.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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