"IP Protect Expo 2012: Bringing the IP world to London
The problem is The Gulf. Not the geographical one, but the gulf between the theory underlying IP issues and the day-to-day practice of dealing with the fakers, chancers and organised crime gangs who see their life’s work as piggybacking on other people’s creations.
To get the legal experts, the brand or rights owners, the investigators and the police or trading standards people all focused on the same problems at the same time is usually impossible [this is the conventional wisdom -- in the UK at any rate -- and it's not just a matter of there being no convenient interface protocol between them: it's also the result of all of these people having more than one thing to do at a time, and everyone's priorities are different]. Yet there is obviously a great deal to be gained from swapping stories and comparing notes about what the criminals are up to and how they can be stopped.
And it was this simple idea – that there ought to be an international forum where people from every aspect of the intellectual property business could get together and exchange tips, techniques and experiences – that led to plans for the first IP Protect Expo, which takes place in London on 28 and 29 March 2012.
From the germ of an idea 12 months ago, this has already turned into a high profile international event. It will be opened by Baroness Wilcox, the UK government’s Minister for Intellectual Property and it will involve many of the biggest – and most put-upon – global brand owners, from Unilever, Beiersdorf and GlaxoSmithKline to Epson, Tiffany and Estee Lauder.
Many IPKat readers will be aware of the leading role in tackling fakes taken by the UK’s influential Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG). The ACG’s involvement, as co-host of IP Protect Expo 2012, has done a lot to help the fledgling event shape a genuinely useful programme of specialist seminars and gain immediate international credibility.
As a result, the organisers are already facing the problems of success – starting a waiting list for would-be exhibitors who want stand space and worrying about whether the excellent balconied hall at the Business Design Centre may have been too conservative a choice of venue. On the other hand, as a new event in an untried format, it was not guaranteed to attract the world’s attention as it has. No-one was seriously expecting to sell stand space to commercial exhibitors from Australia and Eastern Europe, alongside the security technology vendors, investigators and legal firms from closer to home.
By bringing together brands and rights holders from many different industries, as well as law enforcement and anti-counterfeiting experts from around the world, IP Protect Expo puts an important new date in the calendar for the whole industry.
Rubbing shoulders is
always appreciated -- but
first you have to find them
It creates a cost effective networking opportunity for rights holders, brands, industry bodies and associations, technology vendors, online security experts, investigation specialists and enforcement agencies to rub shoulders and build relationships, as well as sharing information. And, unlike conferences, it is cheap enough for whole teams to come along and meet their counterparts from other specialisms. The seminar programme itself is a crash course in IP practice, with contributions from battle-hardened experts like IFPI’s anti-piracy director, Jeremy Banks, barrister Rob Gray, from Bond Solon, Richard Heath of ICC/BASCAP and Shelley Duggan, associate general counsel, global brand protection leader at Procter & Gamble.The IPKat likes to see any event that brings people together to share their experiences and learn from one another, and he wishes this event well. Merpel likes the idea too, but does feel that there's scope for coming up with a catchier, less descriptive name than IP Protect Expo. Any ideas?
Based on confirmed attendances with two months to go, it is clear that IP Protect Expo 2012 has already achieved what it set out to do. It has created a framework within which, for the first time, all those involved in protecting IP are coming together at a cross-functional and cross-industry level to focus on the practical aspects of the task. For more information about the event, go to www.ip-protectexpo.com".