2019 Spring Meeting
In This Section
It has been both my honor and pleasure to serve as your President this year and I've appreciated the opportunity to lead AIPLA during this chapter in its evolution. Looking back on this year, I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Our results thus far demonstrate the incredible progress we’ve made. We are innovating across our committees and educational programs; capitalizing on new advocacy opportunities; and making strategic efforts to position our Association for success well into the future.
Our committees continue their role as the workhorses of the Association, thanks to fantastic leadership and dedicated members. Thank-you! Our newest addition to our committees, the Special Committee on Privacy and Data Security, continues its maturation process as it strives to provide a forum for education, outreach, member service, advocacy, and professional development in this rapidly evolving field. Privacy and Data Security are essential areas of focus in the digital age.
In meetings and events, we are enhancing the membership experience by focusing on local gatherings. I feel that one of the most exciting aspects of working with AIPLA is the variety of high-level events we produce. Maintaining and refining our energetic schedule of events was an important goal of mine. Our talented staff and dedicated volunteers held many successful meetings across the country that kept our members from the United States and around the world connected and engaged.
Our work in advocacy remained strong this year. But why does advocacy matter? Because it is powerful, both as a practical matter and as an individual experience. Because it allows us to proactively impact the direction of IP law and our profession And because it allows our individual voices to become amplified through collective activism. We advocate to engage and educate decision-makers, to guide outcomes and to increase our impact on legislation, regulations, and national and international policy.
For instance, on June 5, 2019, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held the second of three hearings on “The State of Patent Eligibility in America.” At the Subcommittee’s invitation, AIPLA President-Elect Barbara Fiacco presented the views of the Association. She explained that Supreme Court decisions have “blurred the objective analytical framework” of the 1952 Patent Act, leading to uncertainty in the patent system, and went on to provide AIPLA’s views on the draft bill. Likewise, on September 23, 2019, I testified before the USPTO’s Trademark Public Advisory Committee in response to a significant trademark fee proposal by the Office. While reiterating AIPLA’s general support for a user-funded USPTO with adequate operating reserves, AIPLA questioned many of the proposed fees and requested additional information.
This year, we filed a significant number of amicus briefs in various courts, including seven briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court. Among the issues covered were judicial review of IPR institution decisions; the status of trademark licenses in bankruptcy situations; the standard for awarding damages in unfair competition cases; and the categories of costs that can be awarded in copyright cases.
We also submitted comment letters on many issues, fifteen in total. Topics ranged from comments to China on its proposed patent laws to comments to the USPTO on the proposed patent fees and the TTAB’s standard protective order.
Our international outreach and advocacy continued to thrive this year. I was privileged to join AIPLA delegations on trips and meetings with a number of our sister organizations, including AIPPI (London, Turin); FICPI (London), ASIPI and ABPI (Rio de Janeiro); JPAA, JTA and JIPA (Tokyo); and ECTA (Edinburgh). AIPLA delegations also visited Singapore, China, France and Germany. And we continued to work toward harmonization of laws and relationship-building in numerous meetings and communications around the world.
Your Board of Directors is committed to assuring that AIPLA is innovative and focused on our goal of being a powerful advocate, eminent educator, and community of choice for all IP professionals. To this end we began our triennial strategic planning process in September. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming months.
In our busy social-media focused world, we often forget the importance of being in a live face-to-face setting with others from the AIPLA community. I would like to thank all of our members who did just that and attended the 2019 Mid-Winter Institute in Tampa and the 2019 Spring Meeting in Philadelphia. Attendees earned Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits as they engaged in thought-provoking conversations about patent drafting, trademark infringement remedies, expected USPTO changes, groundbreaking technologies, and much more.
Which brings me to our Annual Meeting. I believe this year’s event was the best ever, in our new, beautiful space at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. True to form, AIPLA provided tremendous educational content, including live PTAB and TTAB hearings, A–level speakers such as US Dept. of Commerce Undersecretary and USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, US District Court Judge Alan Albright, and Proctor & Gamble’s Patent Director Dara Kendall. And it was a thrill to present AIPLA recognition awards to outgoing Commissioner for Trademark Mary Boney Denison and many deserving AIPLA volunteers and scholarship recipients. Combined with highly substantive meetings of our 60+ committees and hallmark networking functions, the Annual Meeting was truly a fun and rewarding event.
I am highly energized about the Association and its future under President Barbara Fiacco and our upcoming leaders. By staying true to our strategic plan, remaining vigilant in advocacy, and delivering long-term value to our members, we have a world of opportunity ahead. On behalf of the entire leadership team, thank you for your continued support of AIPLA. It’s been an honor and a privilege to lead this great Association. Thank you for the opportunity, and warm best wishes to you - our valued members and supporters.
A discussion about corporate IP practice was provided in the Wednesday afternoon plenary session at the 2019 Spring Meeting. Moderated by Guy Donatiello, the Senior Vice President of Intellectual Property at Endo Pharmaceuticals, a panel of several in-house practitioners addressed the many obstacles faced by their peers.
Jon Chiodo, Johnson & Johnson, discussed overcoming obstacles related to gaining full participation from developers and inventors in the invention mining and IP protection process. In his view, the key to obtaining "good, robust, valid patents that give a commercial edge" is to build solid relationships with the inventors. Johnson & Johnson, he explained, wants to engage inventors to by providing confidence in their participation, managing their failures, and providing incentives for innovation.
Priya G. Prasad, Counsel for ExxonMobil, talked about how current on-sale bar, public use, and grace period jurisprudence affects best practices for in-house counsel. She emphasized the importance of not letting statutory bars lock you out of an otherwise viable patent.
Richard E. Peirce, Eckert Seamans, moderated an informative discussion on the future of trademark and copyright protection mechanisms during the Thursday afternoon plenary session. A panel of IP practitioners addressed the various hurdles practitioners may face in enforcing IP rights.
Mark V.B. Partridge, Partridge Partners, expressed that light of the GDPR, "many areas of intellectual property enforcement" have been impacted in ways that have led many to experience frustration with the overall adoption of the system. He spoke on the many concerns across many areas of interest and of the new concerns which he expects to continue to arise.
Terence A. Dixon, GlaxoSmithKline, spoke on the threat posed to sales, customers, consumer experience and brand equity from unauthorized online sellers. He suggests that brands implement satisfaction guarantees for purchases from authorized retailers and online sellers, prepare policies and agreements for authorized sellers, develop an enforcement strategy, and use software to monitor Amazon marketplace for unauthorized third-party resellers, volumes of sales, prices lower than MAP etc.
View the New Members list at www.aipla.org/members.