For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Coming soon: International Patent Litigation 2013

If the dust swirls too much,
even patent specs won't help 
When it comes to patent litigation, there is no metaphor more apt than that of dust. When frantic activity ceases, whether in the courts, the lobbies and corridors of power or in the innovations marketplace, we deem the result to be a form of stability; "the dust is settling", we say. Yet when that same frantic activity preoccupies us as politicians legislate, interest groups campaign, government departments engage in ever-deeper consultations and business make contingency plans, we cannot see the path to take because our vision is obscured by swirling dust. For the lucky or skilful few, the path to legal security and commercial prudence will be found; those who find it will hold fast to it, and they will enjoy the twin boon of being able to trade in such a manner that, while able to protect their own intellectual assets, they are not at risk from threats of infringement of the rights of others.

The right sort of dust
is never a problem ...
The dust which obscures our vision and refuses to settle will be with us for at least the next decade as both Europe and the US bed in their new systems and the Chinese and the Indians transition from patent systems that are more decorative than useful to systems with real teeth. What's more, the dust that refuses to settle is no local dust since, in the international reality of global trade, what is protected in one country is protected in many. Once upon a time, international IP litigation was the province of the trade mark lawyer (it took more than a century, and far more than a hundred instances of litigation, before the wasteful and ultimately futile "Battle of the Buds" faded away) -- but now the Herculean struggles between Apple and Samsung appear to have replaced trade marks with patents as the international must-sue accessory. Add to this such relative commercial novelties as the rise of the business model based on buying patents in order to sue on them, and random interventions from the competition authorities, and you can see why the safest way to appreciate patent litigation is to enjoy it as a spectator sport.

Even inherently antisocial folk such as
patent litigators enjoy the chance for
a little professsional networking ...
In this context, the IPKat's friends at IBC Conferences have the good fortune that not just this year's International Patent Litigation event (coming up on 10 to 11 December) but also those from now to the mid-2020s look pretty likely to pull in the registrants, as players in the patent field -- patent owners, litigators, regulators and investors -- all seek to get a clearer view of the ongoing dust-storm in order to work out how best they can weather it. Next year's speakers are a mystery right now, but this year's panel is impressive in its breadth of skills and international experience. While it would be invidious to special mention to any of them [and this year's team is both large and illustrious], this Kat can't help casting an approving eye on some of his favourites. Personalities like Jochen Pagenberg (Bardehle Pagenberg, Munich) aren't mere novelty acts: they are people whose ideas and experience have been tried and tested by friend and foe alike for decades, and whose reputation has been earned by hard work combined with incisive thought. Richard Ebbink (Brinkhof, Amsterdam) has demonstrated a degree of flair and vision that command our attention. The plain-speaking Ken Adamo (Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago) and David Rosenberg (GSK) are peerless in the art of pegging fact to fantasy, and so on [at this point, while she's in the process of being gagged for the sake of politeness, Merpel can be heard to mutter that those who like fantasy will be sad that the programme contains no-one from the European Commission, so they'll have to make to with the judiciary instead ...].

Anyway, why is this Kat so excited about International Patent Litigation 2013? It's because his friends at IBC Legal Conferences have once again kindly agreed to offer a 10% discount on the registration fee. All you have to do, in order to claim your discount, is to book via this link and quote the VIP Katcode of FKW82435IPK.

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