PhD Student Seminar at CIPA

This moggy was thrilled to be able to attend last Thursday the inaugural running of an event at the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys - a seminar for PhD students.  CIPA had contacted everyone that it could think of, and, although the passing on of the invitation had clearly been somewhat patchy, students from a goodly number of institutions had turned up.  Some were pursuing studies in IP, others were studying in technical fields but had an interest in patents - this Kat found an applied mathematician, two life scientists and a mechanical engineer.

Evangelia Papadaki 
After an introduction from Tony Rollins, Vice President of CIPA, we perused a number of poster presentations, and then talks got underway.

Catriona Hammer, former CIPA President, discussed the importance of IP to industry, and introduced IP Inclusive (see Katpost here).

Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Innovation at the Intellectual Property Office, gave an engaging presentation about the work of the IPO (although our dear founder would beg to differ as to the value of Wallace & Gromit in promoting IP awareness).

Then we had the pleasure of hearing from three rising stars in the IP firmament about their doctoral studies, and the IPKat has taken the liberty of presenting their topics in their own words.

Alexandra Mogyoros, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, presented a paper on Certification Marks. Her paper set out the current landscape of certification marks and highlighted areas ripe for further research. Mogyoros argued that certification marks, as compared to trademarks, could be of significant value in the marketplace by signaling to consumers that goods and services have been certified as having a specific quality or characteristic. She argues that it is this very “certification function”, however, that requires further consideration of how certification marks are theorized as well as regulated – questions she plans to explore in her doctoral work.

Alexandra Mogyoros and Karen Walsh with this Kat
Evangelia Papadaki, PhD student at Bournemouth University, presented on "Hyperlinking, making available and copyright infringement: Lessons from European national courts".
Over the last twenty years, the dramatic popularity of the internet has transformed it into an interactive space filled with vast amounts of digital content, capable of being shared among its users. The carriers of this content on the Web are websites. Significant and functional components of websites are hyperlinks which have the ability to connect webpages together or direct users to downloadable digital files. In this respect, hyperlinks may be considered to have by nature an inherent capability of infringing copyright of protected digital content. For example, issues for copyright infringement may arise where a link directs to a work which is released online without the author’s consent. The presentation focused on the potential of hyperlinks to infringe the author’s exclusive right of communication expressed in Article 3 of the Information Society Directive, examining whether hyperlinking can be an act of communication. In addition to this, a comparative study of European cases, which were adjudicated before the landmark Svensson case, was presented. This indicated that most European national courts concluded that hyperlinking is not an act of communication to the public. However, acts of infringement by means of hyperlinking had generally been captured under provisions and doctrines on indirect liability, such as contributory infringement or authorisation. Discussing principles expressed in Svensson itself and drawing conclusions from national case law, the speaker argued that national laws on indirect liability, combined with the provision against the circumvention of technological measures of the Information Society Directive, are sufficient to determine liability in cases where copyright infringement takes place via hyperlinking.

Karen Walsh, another doctoral student at the University of Oxford, presented her paper entitled “Fragmentation in the European Patent System.” This paper assessed the criticisms surrounding the proposed changes to the European patent system by the potential future implementation of the Unitary Patent Package. Walsh predominately focused on the criticisms that the new patent system would add to the territorial and institutional fragmentation that is currently experienced. Her research investigates methods that may be used to reduce this possibility.

Christian Geib talks to Roger Burt
The final presentation was from Professor Sir Robin Jacob, who spoke in his inimitable style - frank, forthright, engaging, and largely unrepeatable - about the state of the IP system today.  He considered that the IP world in Europe was not well served either by the European Commission, which put forward poor quality legislation in the first place, or by the Court of Justice, which then failed to interpret it in a sensible, practical or clear way.  This Kat was interested to note that Sir Robin considers that EPO Board of Appeal members should not also sit as judges at the Unified Patent Court, as he considers such a link between the granting and enforcement bodies unwise, notwithstanding that Article 149a EPC specifically envisages this.  (The matter is moot since the European Patent Office apparently has no plans to release Board of Appeal members for this purpose).

The last formal act of the day was for Sir Robin to present the poster prize to Christian Geib of Strathclyde University for his poster on his doctoral studies relating to text mining in journals.

This Kat thanks everyone involved in organising and presenting at the event, and hopes that the seminar will become a regular fixture in the CIPA calendar.

More pictures and tweets from the event can been seen on Twitter #CIPAPhD

PhD Student Seminar at CIPA PhD Student Seminar at CIPA Reviewed by Darren Smyth on Monday, February 01, 2016 Rating: 5


  1. An applied mathematician, two life scientists and a mechanical engineer walked into a bar.
    Unfortunately, there was nowhere to sit because the art and law students had been in since opening.

  2. If the link between granting and enforcing bodies is unwise, then so to us it the engaging of barristers as judges, and the promotion of judges from first instance to the Appeal Court and then the Supreme Court. Then we even have some judges hearing appeals from their own judgments.

  3. Sir Robin has previously mentioned how the patent offices seem to forget about their "babies" (patents) after grant. This alone would make it rather wise to share judges (at least technical judges) between the EPO BoA and the UPC. It would provide a linkage promoting (though not ensuring) uniform decisions. However, it seems neither the EPO, nor the UPC, are minimally interested in this. High horse, anyone?


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