A Gruss from Vienna

A Gruss from Vienna

IPKat co-bloggie Jeremy has been spending the day in Vienna, courtesy of UNCITRAL - the United Nations Commmission on International Trade Law. UNCITRAL is hosting its two-day Second International Colloquium on Secured Transactions: Security Interests in Intellectual Property Rights.

The background to this Colloquium is the impending ratification of the Commission's draft Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions. Until last year there was little awareness within the IP community that this seemingly harmless Guide could have any effect at all, let alone a detrimental effect, on the interests of either IP owners or the institutions that lend to them. It now appears that this may not be the case. The Colloquium, which has no binding status, provided an opportunity to exchange opinions concerning what the draft Guide actually means, what it might mean for IP owners and lenders, and whether the draft might need any tweaking or amendment.

The speakers were mainly drawn from academe and from two branches of private practice: banking, financing and insolvency practitioners on the one hand and IP practitioners on the other. No panellists belonged to the main IP owning sector. Nor was there any overt input from the World Intellectual Property Organization, which took a watching brief.

The first sessions were relatively quiet and well-behaved, settng the scene with background information on the value of intellectual property, the securitisation of assets and the basic provisions of the draft Guide. Things got hotter when the sessions turned to the securitisation of specific IP rights. From the trade mark session it became apparent that there was something of a mismatch: some people thought the function of the right-specific sessions was to explain how securitisation currently worked; others believed that their function was to provide close criticism of particular provisions of the draft that might be considered unclear or faulty. There was however some consensus on the proposition that IP owners and lenders tend to employ different terminology and that they do not have a shared understanding as to what the draft Guide actually means. In result, lots of people are going away and refining their criticisms, so that they can be more properly addressed. Since all sides share the same objective - to enable IP owners to borrow money more easily and safely from adequately secured lenders - the IPKat predicts a positive outcome, but he's now sure what it will be. And remember, says Merpel, that proper due diligence, pre-contract enquiries and warranties mean that there's no substitute for a good contract.

Above right: this is the first conference Jeremy remembers attending at which people had to buy their own coffee. This cup (from coffee etc) is dedicated to all who did so

Read the draft Guide here and background comments here
Programme for the Colloquium here
UNCITRAL Colloquium papers here
A Gruss from Vienna A Gruss from Vienna Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, January 18, 2007 Rating: 5

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