From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Life sciences come to life again, this time in Berlin

The best part of a year ago ("A matter of life and death? No, it's more important than that. Life sciences in the limelight", here), this Kat waxed lyrical on the then-forthcoming Life Sciences IP Summit 2014. Well, now he is looking at the programme for the Life Sciences IP Summit 2015 -- coming up in Berlin on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 October. Much has happened since last year's event, including a shift of venue from Amsterdam. Could this have been anything to do with Merpel's saucy comments about how appropriate it was to host such a sexy subject in a city famed for its Red Light District? Probably not.  While this year's conference venue is the highly respectable NH Berlin Friedrichstrasse Hotel, Berlin is historically as apt a venue for a sexy subject as is Amsterdam, as anyone who has ever seen Liza Minelli and friends in Cabaret will soon concede.

But what about the subject itself? The impending European patent package, having now been declared lawful by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) following two legal challenges by Spain [Cases C-146 and 147/13, noted by the IPKat here], is gradually metamorphosing from blueprint to reality. Arrangements are now being made for the training of judges, the provision of court facilities and the projecting of existing patenting and dispute resolution techniques on to a fresh canvas. This is a scenario in which the accumulated experience, knowledge and wisdom of the life science sector cannot be relied upon in the absence of rigorous double-checking against a new framework for patenting, new litigation rules and -- this is going to hurt the most -- a set of complex transitional provisions.  Unsurprisingly, then, this year's programme features a mock trial before the Unified Patent Court with real live judges [readers may already be familiar with this weblog's serialised and ongoing account of Bristows' test-drive of the 17th Edition of the Draft UPC rules here, here, here and here] as well as sessions on whether to exercise the opt-out option and on the nuts and bolts of patent enforcement. At times of change and uncertainty, it's comforting to be able to share one's anxieties and pick up ideas in the company of one's life science peers and compatriots rather than have to rub shoulders for a couple of days with those who work in other disciplines and do not share one's commercial reflexes.

Headache? No, just
second medical use ...
The sudden return to the headlines of problems relating to second medical use patents, both on last year's AIPPI agenda and in Warner-Lambert's mega-litigation with Actavis over pregabalin [see eg the hugely popular Katposts by Darren, Annsley and even Jeremy here, here, here, here and here] pretty well guaranteed that this issue would feature on this year's programme (incidentally, this is the substantive legal issue that has attracted more comments by IPKat readers than any other topic right across the whole sphere of intellectual property law). On another topic, now that the CJEU has given so many rulings -- and caused so many headaches -- in the field of supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), it's the turn of the national courts to work out what Europe's senior court meant. Accordingly the aftermath of these major rulings is also on the agenda [if you want to check on the past year's SPC developments, a quick click-through on The SPC Blog will convince you that there's plenty to chew on].

A European focus comes naturally to this Kat, but he notes that the programme goes wider than that.  China-watcher and a former occasional contributor to this weblog Tom Carver leads the session on enforcing pharma patents in that vast, imponderable jurisdiction.  The United States is also on the menu and, in this Kat's view, the choicest morsel on the menu is a comparison of the position relating to personal medicine patents as between the US and Europe. This session is led by Emil Pot (General Counsel, Actogenix, Belgium) and Brian Coggio (Of Counsel, Fish & Richardson, United States), a combination that instantly brought to the mind of this blogger the classic Dr Seuss image on the right. Personalised medicine, incidentally, has proved to be a very live topic in the past twelve-month, as readers' responses to Suleman Ali's February 2015 blogpost on that topic demonstrate.

Watching out for icebergs -- or ice cubes?*
The programme finishes with a topic that may very well kick off the 2016 edition of this event: the Nagoya Convention on Bio-Diversity and EU Regulation 511/2014. This session is branded "How to Assess and Mitigate Risks" but perhaps should have been subtitled "How to Make Up for Previous Efforts to Pretend Nagoya Wasn't Happening" since that is what, it seems to this blogger, too many people have been doing up to now.  If you still don't know why you should worry about the Nagoya Protocol, the Kats can offer you some background reading here. What's not clear to this blogger is whether compliance with Nagoya is going to cause real problems in practice or whether it's a bit like a giant iceberg that will have melted into little ice cubes by the time it hits your dinghy.

If you're booking for this event, some discounts are available to suitably designated souls.  If you book online, or email C5's affable Nathan Denham here, quoting the organisers' VIP Katcode P15-999-KAT16, you can expect to enjoy the benefit of a handsome 15% reduction on the registration fee

* Cat illustration from Bailey Boat Cat. Adventures of a feline afloat, here


Anonymous said...

With the summit still being several months away, I look forward to being bombarded by spam emails and unwelcome cold calls from C5's marketing people. Of course, as I haven't yet sent my daily instruction to remove my details from their database, I only have myself to blame. Maybe the sleazy reputation of Amsterdam's red light district was too close to home for C5's management?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 11:57, I too hate being bombarded by spam emails and unwelcome cold calls but I wonder if you might have confused the C5 Life Sciences IP Summit with the similarly named IP Summit by Premier Cercle also being held in Berlin later this year. I don't attend either of these events because neither my budget nor my workload permit it. However, in past years I've received very little marketing from C5 but a regular flow of emails from Premier Cercle.

Jeremy said...

I'm following these comments with interest, since I don't like being cold-called either, especially when I'm actually speaking in the event.

I'm thinking of running a sidebar poll on Kat-readers' responses to cold-call marketing by conference companies. They've been going for a long time now, so I assume that they must be cost-effective, but I don't think I've ever spoken to anyone at a conference who has signed up to it after either a cold call or being bombarded with emails.

Anonymous said...

It was definitely C5, but the similarity of the conferences, location and hassle suggests to me that both companies may be part of the same group.

I'm sticking with Management Forum. Nice people to do business with.

Anonymous said...

I don't think C5 and Premier Cercle are related. They are based in different countries and C5's English is better.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it a conceit of conference businesses that potential attendees have any sort of brand loyalty? I'm not interested in which company is running it: I look at two things, the cost and the programme. Sadly if it's worth it I usually can't afford it anyway :-(

Anonymous said...

Cost is always about the same per hour. Programmes are always the same and titles of talks generally meaningless.

If that is sufficient to base your judgement, fair enough. As you usually can't afford to attend, however, you are not in a great position to talk from experience.

In my experience, the quality of speakers is highly variable. Presenters should speak on subjects they have a particular expertise in, particularly when they are presenting to their peers. This is rare. Many presenters admit to not having read their own slides, because they are giving a presentation prepared by another person. There are currently too many generic presentations repeating the same 'high-level' waffle and it is, unfortunately, big business, due to the CPD requirements of patent attorneys et al.

Jeremy said...

Anonymous @8:17 writes "Programmes are always the same and titles of talks generally meaningless".

This is very often the case at the bottom end of the market, which caters for practitioners whose firms aren't big enough to run their own self-certified CPDs. It can be hard to get speakers who are willing to spend time and effort preparing a talk which they don't get paid for and that is unlikely to bring in any new work from among the 20-30 people -- many of whom are their own immediate competitors -- who have signed up.

The programmes are often prepared many months ahead of the event, so talks have vague titles in order to cover topics and events that aren't known to the organisers at the time they launch the event.

Two things are inexcusable. One is when speakers are unfamiliar with their slides, and sometimes with their own paper. I've chaired events where this has happened and have tried to intervene and turn a dire presentation into a plausible question-and-answer session, but to no avail. The other is when companies copy each other's programmes. I challenged a company once that had lifted most of a programme I'd drafted, right down to speakers' bullet-points. All I got in return was a smile and the reply that "everyone does it". Fortunately this isn't the case and, whatever you think of the 'high end' events run by membership organisations like INTA, MARQUES, AIPPI, LES etc and in the private sector by the likes of Premier Cercle, C5, IPBC and IQPC, they do seem to make considerable efforts to originate their own content and not cut-and-paste anyone else's.

Hope this helps a bit.

Just curious said...

Thank you for this string of comments. I am not very familiar with the 'conference scene' and found these views instructive.

Can anyone tell me

- why people who attend these things are called delegates when they are not being delegated?

- why the chairman has to read out the cv of each speaker when his/her status is printed in the advertising brochure?

- why the organizers so rarely give out a list of names of everyone who attends?

- what's the difference between a Conference, a Forum and a Symposium (apart from the spelling)?

- if anyone actually gets updated on anything at these events now that we all have the Internet to do it for us?

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