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2015 Spring Meeting Report from AIPLA's President

July 2015 Update
It’s hard for me to believe that I’m over two-thirds into my term as President of AIPLA.  The year has been fast-paced and rewarding, to say the least! I want to take this opportunity to give you an overview of some of our Association activities over the last several months.  Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up through AIPLA Newsstand, Notes + News, and the e-Bulletin, among other communications.  As you may be aware, we operate under a Strategic Plan with four strategies.  While some of our activities involve more than one strategy, I’ve attempted to address what’s been happening under each in the sections below. If I’ve omitted something you think should be included, please let me know and I’ll be sure to address it in upcoming communications.  I mention a few committees and individuals in my report.  However, they represent only a handful of our membership and we have many, many active members who are important to the Association, as well.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our terrific staff, led by Executive Director Lisa Jorgenson. 
We also have a diligent 19-member Board of Directors.
Much of the work we do and the positions we take originate and are done through the efforts of our more than 50 committees.  If you’re active in one or more of our committees, thank you! We can’t do what we do without you. If you’d like to join a committee and receive committee communications, even if you do not have time to be actively involved, please sign up.  In reflecting over the last several months, which have served to strengthen my belief that AIPLA is the premiere IP association domestically and internationally, I am impressed by everything that we do and I’m thankful to be a small part of it this year.
Advocacy Member Services Public Education


We continue to play a very active role in advocacy initiatives, engaging in legislative activities on Capitol Hill, interfacing with the USPTO, the Copyright Office, other agencies, filing amicus briefs before the courts, and engaging with other IP offices globally.  You can find submissions we’ve made on our website under IP Policy & Advocacy, as well as track key bills of the current 114th Congress. 
We have submitted a number of letters and statements to Congress on pending bills, have weighed in on IP-related nominations, and in February 2015, our Board member, Nancy Mertzel, provided testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on "The U.S. Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources.”  Thank you, Nancy!  Our Executive Director, Lisa Jorgenson, and Deputy Executive Director, Vince Garlock, are actively involved in Hill activities and I’ve accompanied them on a number of Hill visits this year. If you attended the Spring Meeting in Los Angeles, you may have seen the President’s Forum on Saturday morning that I moderated, during which Lisa Jorgenson, Board member Kevin Rhodes, and Committee on Legislation Chair Barbara Fiacco covered some of the current issues in patent reform legislation.  (And I should add a special thanks to Barbara and her Committee for their ability to respond to rapid fire requests throughout the year!) 

We intend to keep you apprised of the latest on the Hill and hope to have further educational sessions to keep you informed. In the meantime, please feel free to refer to AIPLA’s summary of positions, which can be found at links on the following page

AIPLA has been actively engaged with the USPTO this year, too.  We have made a number of submissions to the PTO and participated in programs  on issues relating to enhancing patent quality, examination guidelines, PCT practice, and trademark initiatives. I’d like to thank a number of our committees and their leadership and members for their help in our activities, including but not limited to Biotechnology, Electronic and Computer Law, Patent Cooperation Treaty Issues, Patent Law, Patent Relations with the USPTO, Trademark Internet Committee, Trademark Relation with the USPTO, and USPTO Inter Partes Patent Proceedings Committees.

Of course, AIPLA continues to be active with its judicial advocacy, filing amicus briefs in appropriate cases. Our Amicus Committee has been active in reviewing cases and making recommendations to our Board.   So far this year, we’ve filed amicus briefs in cases pending before the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit and the 4th Circuit.
I’ve also recently appointed an Amicus Task Force, led by Joe Cianfrani, to review and suggest improvements to our overall amicus process.  Also, please be on the lookout for updated Model Jury Instructions  and new Model Local Patent Rules.  Special thanks to our Patent Litigation Committee for their work on these latest initiatives.  And, of course, thanks to our Deputy Executive Director for Legal Affairs, Jim Crowne, for his tireless efforts!
Also,  to coordinate efforts of our committees concerned with some of the latest legal developments in the area of patentable subject matter, I appointed a Patent Eligible Subject Matter Task Force, which is led by Marc Hubbard and Jerry Selinger.  The Task Force includes representatives from our Biotechnology, Electronic and Computer Law and Patent Law, and Fellows Committees, among others, and is ably assisted by Professor David Taylor.  This is a hardworking and thoughtful group.
Of course, what I’ve mentioned above covers just a fraction of what we have been doing.  Many of our committees are involved in advocacy work and all of our committee work is critical to our organization.  This year, I believe I’m on the email list for all of our committees and I continue to be impressed with all their work and initiatives.  ​We cannot what we do without you and appreciate everyone’s efforts.     

Member Services

AIPLA is an individual member organization and member service is one of our top priorities.  For each of our Strategic Plan strategies, I’ve appointed Board level strategy groups and our Member Services strategy group is one our most active and is ably led by Second Vice President Myra McCormack.  That group is working in conjunction with our Membership Committee to help focus our priorities on our members’ needs and interests.  If you have any specific ideas or comments you’d like to pass along, Myra would like to hear from you.
Our educational activities range from our stated meetings to our roadshows to our many online webinars to our committee teleconferences and programs.  Our Professional Programs Committee handles planning for our Spring and Annual Meetings.  They did a terrific job with our Spring Meeting in Los Angeles and I look forward to what’s in store for our Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in October.  I’d also like to thank the planning committee for the 2015  Mid-Winter Institute which focused on “Bringing Innovation to the Public.”  While the weather in the northeast wasn’t too cooperative with our 2015 MWI in Orlando, the meeting was a success. 
Our Online Programs Committee manages and coordinates our many online programs, which vary from CLE-based webinars to career and practice management to other educational programs for our members.  You should be receiving regular email updates on our CLE programs, and you can always feel free to check our webpage to see what’s coming up.  And if you’ve missed a program, please check our archives to see what’s available.  One of my priorities this year has been on local outreach, and working with our IP Law Associations Committee, we conducted a successful online program as part of our Front & Center Series on Patent Demand Letters and what’s happening at the state level.  We publicized this program to regional and local groups throughout the country.  It was a great way to get the word out about an important and evolving topic and, hopefully, this will be a good model for future programs. 

Our roadshows also are an important part of what we do and provide a unique way to bring AIPLA’s offerings closer to you.  The Trade Secret Law Committee held a very successful Trade Secret Law Summit in California in December.  The Trademark Law Committee recently conducted its  Annual Trademark Boot Camp, and our Education Committee spearheaded a west coast Patent Prosecution Boot Camp, which took place in Los Angeles immediately preceding our Spring Meeting.  And we’ve had other roadshows this year, including our Electronic and Computer Patent Law Summit.  Look for the Patent Cooperation Treaty Seminar, which will be held in July 2015. 

In April, we supported the USPTO’s 225th Anniversary Celebration of the Patent Act.  Last month, we co-sponsored a PTAB Bench & Bar Conference with the USPTO on trial practices before the PTAB.  Look for our upcoming roadshows with the USPTO during the week of August 24.  We’ll have a morning session devoted to the PTO’s quality initiatives and examination practices and the afternoon will focus on PTAB proceedings.  I plan to participate in the roadshows in each region – Silicon Valley, Dallas and Alexandria, and hope to see some of you in attendance. 

AIPLA’s Member services extend well beyond our educational offerings, including our various publications and other electronic communications.  This year is an Economic Survey year and you should expect to soon receive our 2015 Report of the Economic Survey, one of our premiere publications. 

And, of course, we have had numerous networking and other interactive programming and events for our members sponsored by a number of our committees.  Our Corporate Practice Committee conducts regular lunchtime teleconferences for its members.  Our New Lawyers Committee has regular local networking events throughout the country.  Many of our substantive law committees have in-person and telephone “brown bag” meetings.  Our Women in IP Law Committee has numerous activities ranging from its Annual Women in IP Law Networking Event, which has become a global event, to lean-in groups to its very popular breakfast meetings at our stated meetings.  It was my personal privilege to moderate a panel of our four women past presidents, Meg Boulware, Andrea Ryan, Judy Saffer and Terry Rea, at our Annual Meeting last October.  What an amazing group!! 

Speaking of Women in IP, I had the pleasure of participating in Women in IP events with our international committees in Tokyo, London, Paris and Munich.  Also, I met a woman in Beijing who had attended our networking dinner in Singapore and was singing its praises.  These are just a few highlights and we have many more committees, which are active in networking and other membership-related activities. 

I also want to mention that we are delighted to have Erin Sheehan in her new role as Communications Specialist.  We’re working on improving our communications to our members and Erin will be eager to hear from you on what you’d like to see from AIPLA.  To assist Erin, I’m in the process of appointing a Communi
cations Task Force, ​ which will be led by Mike Martinez, and will help Erin to focus on what types of content our members would like to receive. 

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​Global Outreach

We have about 15 committees touching Global Outreach and I’m very proud of their efforts and of all that AIPLA is doing in the international arena.  While, we are first and foremost a US-based organization, we can and do have an influence on IP worldwide, which is important in our global economy. AIPLA is well regarded nationally and internationally.  That speaks volumes of all my predecessors, all of our leadership, our committees and our top-notch staff.  We are influential and we are well recognized around the world. 
Our advocacy initiatives are not just domestic ones.  We have very active international committees as well as a Harmonization Task Force that have been instrumental in helping to influence and shape IP laws globally.  I had some of my first exposure to harmonization issues when I attended, along with Dave Hill and Esther Kepplinger, a Harmonization Symposium, sponsored by the European Patent Office, in Munich in February.  In May, a delegation from AIPLA, including Executive Director, Lisa Jorgenson, Deputy Executive Director, Albert Tramposch, Past Presidents Alan Kasper and Dave Hill, Board Member Ken Cho, Committee Chair Tom Moga  and I, attended an IP5 Heads of Office meeting in Suzhou, China.  We had a productive session with our industry partners from IPO, JIPA, PPAC , KINPA  and Business Europe followed by an interactive meeting of the NGOs and office representatives from the USPTO, EPO, JPO, KIPO, SIPO and WIPO.  SIPO and PPAC were our gracious co-hosts for the meetings. 

Representatives from our Harmonization Task Force (Sam Helgott, Dave Hill, Alan Kasper, Tony Venturino) as well as Al Tramposch also have been active in representing us with an Industry Trilateral Group on harmonization.  You can see the current version of their work – a potential framework for substantive patent harmonization – on their committee website.  In addition, members of the Harmonization Task Force also have been active in working with the USPTO on the Global Dossier as part of Global Dossier Task Force.  We hope to have some hands-on programming for our members on the Global Dossier at upcoming meetings.
Our international advocacy also involves specific outreach and submissions to IP offices globally.  We have sent submissions to IP offices in India and Singapore.  We have been very active in Europe, including sending several letters to the European Patent Office and sending a submission to the European Commission.  In addition, IP Practice in Europe Committee Co-Chair Iris Mok represented us at a hearing on the Uniform Patent Courts; Past President Jeff Lewis presented on international patent agent privilege issues at the WIPO Standing Committee on Patents in Geneva; Jody Drake and George Lewis represented us at a TM5 meeting in Tokyo and Brooke Schumm attended the WIPO-PCT Working Group in Geneva on our behalf.  We appreciate all the efforts of our many active committees and volunteers in representing us domestically and globally in our advocacy efforts.  

My year as President started out attending the FICPI ExCo Meeting in Barcelona.  I quickly learned that FICPI addresses many of the same or similar type of IP issues that AIPLA addresses.  I later attended the FICPI World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, which included an impressive panel of heads of IP offices from around the world.  In December, I attended the ASIPI 50th Anniversary Meeting in Mexico City and spoke on a panel on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

I had the pleasure of participating in a few of our IP Practice trips. In April I joined the IP Practice in Japan Committee trip.  Kudos to committee co-chairs Daphne Lainson and Monica Barone for organizing an impressive trip.  Highlights of the trip included meetings with the JPO, the IP High Court and Tokyo District Court, meetings with various sister groups in Tokyo and Osaka, including JPAA, JIPA, AIPPI-Japan, JTA and LES-Japan. 

I also attended our 4th annual Women in IP reception in Tokyo, which was a great event.
​One of the highlights of the trip was a reception we hosted, which was attended by the JPO Commissioner, former commissioners and deputies, the Chief Judge of the IP High Court and other judges, representatives from the US Embassy and others from various organizations.  I found this reception to be a real testament to our deep roots in the Japanese IP community. 

In May, I joined our IP Practice in China Committee for a trip to Beijing and Guangzhou.  This was a fantastic trip organized by Committee Co-Chair Zhun Lu.  For me, this trip was a truly educational experience.  We had a number of fact-finding meetings with SIPO, SAIC, the newly established Beijing IP Court and Guangzhou IP Court, the Supreme Peoples Court and the Guangdong IP Office, among other meetings.  We met with quite a few sister organizations, including CIPS, PPAC, ACPAA, AIPPI-China and others. 

In June, I participated in the IP Practice in Europe trip to London, Paris and Munich, which was organized by Iris Mok and Martin Köhler.  We were able to meet with a number of sister organizations in each city and exchange presentations on various topics;  including: CIPA, AIPPI-UK, CNCPI, AIPPI-France, EPI, EPLAW among others.  One of the highlights of the trip was a meeting with the EPO in Paris and participation in the EPO’s European Inventor Award Presentation.  Special thanks to President Battistelli and the EPO for being such gracious hosts.  We had a diversity in IP breakfast session in London, and Women in IP breakfasts in Paris and in Munich.  This was a first for the IP Practice in Europe Committee and I hope they’re able to continue this tradition.  

I’d encourage anyone who is interested to get involved with our international committees.  The trips are just part of what they do, and I found them to be informative and fun.  They were a great way to learn more about international developments, get to know people from our sister organizations and to bond with  fellow AIPLA members.  I did make several presentations during these trips, including on legislative updates, the Global Dossier, international patent agent privilege and on the organization of AIPLA.  I was unable to participate in the IP Practice in the Far East Committee trip this year, but I understand they had a very successful trip to Singapore and to Taiwan.

I’d also like to note the success of the AIPPI-US division of AIPLA.  AIPPI-US had its own trip and meetings with AIPPI-Japan and AIPPI-Korea in December.  Each of our IP Practice Committees has made an effort to include meetings with regional AIPPI chapters on their trips, which has been a nice way to build on our AIPPI relationship internationally.  AIPPI-US now has over 500 members, which will make it one of the largest AIPPI delegations at the AIPPI World Congress in Rio in October.

We also hosted some meetings with foreign officials at our headquarters, including visits from WIPO, JPO, UK IPO, and the EPO.  We host an annual US Bar-EPO Quality Partnership meeting with representatives from AIPLA, IPO and ABA-IPL along with an impressive group from the EPO.  

I’ve only touched on a little of what we do and have done thus far this year.  I’d also like to mention our coordinating committee for our global efforts,​ the International and Foreign Law Committee.  They host monthly leadership calls and help to coordinate the efforts of this very active group.

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Public Education

Public outreach is perhaps the most challenging of our strategies under the Strategic Plan, but it’s an area in which we are focused and active.  In April, we supported the USPTO’s 225th Anniversary Celebration of the Patent Act.  We regularly support, and I had the privilege of attending, the National Inventors Hall of Fame Annual Induction Ceremony at the Smithsonian Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in May. What a fantastic event and a tremendous way to recognize the most important inventors of the past and present.  And our World IP Day Celebrations in April have expanded to 17 cities.  This year’s theme was Music and our Public Education Committee did a great job organizing celebrations throughout the country.  Thank you Chair Michael Stewart and Vice Chair Elise Selinger!
We also have a number of our committees focusing on public outreach, including reaching out to students in law school, college and earlier about the importance of STEM and IP law.  Some of those committees include Diversity in IP Law, Education, Public Education, and Law Students.  We support the National Inventor Hall of Fame Camp Invention Program and participated in the USPTO’s Trademark Expo. We appreciate everything these committees do in helping to reach out to the public and promote the importance of IP.  
​My first official position in AIPLA was as the Regional Director for the Southern Region of the Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition.  I’ve always found this competition to be invaluable outreach to law students and am happy to see it continue as a successful competition in its 42nd year.  We expanded the competition this year, adding a Southeastern Region in Atlanta, allowing even more schools and teams to participate.  I’ve participated in the Competition as regional director, problem author, brief grader and oral argument judge for over twenty years.  This year, I judged the final round of the Southern Region competition in Houston.  Once again, the participants were impressive and the finalist and runner-up teams went on to the National Competition at the Federal Circuit in April.  The final round was judged by Federal Circuit Judges Alan D. Lourie, Timothy B. Dyk, and Raymond T. Chen, and the winning teams haled from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Congratulations to all the student participants and thanks to all our volunteers for making the competition a success. 

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This is such an important year for our profession from decisions in the courts to activities on the Hill to happenings at the USPTO, the Copyright Office and beyond.  I look forward to the rest of my term as President and would like to hear from you with your suggestions on what would be helpful for you and what AIPLA can do better.  I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Meeting in October, if not sooner.