AIPPI 2016 World Congress takes place in Milan, Italy

By: Jonathan Osha, Peter Schechter, and Francesca Giovannini

The AIPPI 2016 World Congress took place last week in Milan, Italy.  More than 2000 IP professionals from around the world were in attendance.  Osha Liang’s Jonathan Osha, Peter Schechter, and Francesca Giovannini provide this report on the event.

The Congress commenced on Saturday with Study Committee Meetings on IP harmonization topics in Patents, Designs, Copyright, and Security Interests.  These meetings are “working sessions” where the language of proposed resolutions supporting international harmonization of IP laws are discussed.

The Executive Committee Meeting, Session I, was the first formal meeting if the legislative body of this Congress.   Later, a first time attendees/young members (defined as under 36!) reception was held, as was an informal cocktail hour for the US Group, just before the Opening Ceremony and Reception.

On Sunday, September 18, the full schedule included the following meetings and events.  Starting early, Osha Liang’s Francesca Giovanninni spoke on the impact of the Brexit decision on IP in Europe and around the world.  Next, a session was held to discuss the Study Questions for the 2017 Sydney Congress.  Standing Committee meetings and a Plenary Session for the “IP and Green Technology” Resolution took place as well.

The Sunday Luncheon event was a panel discussion on the Role of Experts in litigation.  The speakers, who were introduced by John Osha, included Walter Kelley, United States District Judge (Ret.) for the Eastern District of Virginia, Justice John Nicholas, Federal Court of Australia, Dr. Massimo Scuffi, District Court of Aosta, Italy, and Chief Judge Ryuichi Shitara, IP High Court of Japan.  The luncheon was moderated by Denise DeFranco, Global Head of IP Litigation for Johnson & Johnson, and President of AIPLA and of the AIPPI United States Group.

The first group of Panel Sessions took place on Monday, directed to IP and Food, Contributory Infringement, Lisbon/Geographical Indications, the TPP and TTIP. A Women in AIPPI meeting was held at Café Trussardi, next to the famous Teatro alla Scala. And there were special AIPPI shopping discounts given, along with prosecco!

Sunday night’s Cultural Evening, a social/networking event, is one of the signature events of an AIPPI Congress.  It was held in two of Milan’s premiere venues: Teatro alla Scala and the Pinacoteca di Brera.

Monday, September 19 was another day packed with meetings of various types.  Plenary Sessions addressing study questions relating to (1) Security Interests and IP and (2) Designs, were held. Workshops were run concerning patentable subject matter in pharma, biosimilars, “skinny” labels, and pharma/antitrust.  Also, panel sessions addressed IP & fashion (in Milan, of course), computer-implemented technologies, the European Digital Single Market, and priority rights.

The Luncheon Keynote Speech was “The EPO:  Setting the pace for the 21st Century,” delivered by Benoit Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office.

Monday night was fully occupied by private receptions hosted by Italian and other law firms throughout Milan, both at law offices and at the most beautiful and iconic of Milan’s historic and cultural venues.  Reception-hopping is the typical Monday night modus operandi at AIPPI Congresses.  The networking was non-stop and continued into the wee hours of Wednesday for many of the Congress attendees and their Accompanying Persons.

Tuesday, September 20, was the final day of the Congress.  In addition to the fifth Plenary Session discussion of the Copyright Study Question, the last three Panel Sessions took place in the morning: Panel Session IX:  Brexit implications/UPC Mock Trial; Panel Session  X:  European Trademark Reform Package; and Panel Session XI:  Speaking freely about parody.

In the afternoon, Session II of the Executive Committee Meeting (i.e., the Closing ExCo Meeting) was held. The Closing ExCo meeting agenda confirmed the adoption of six resolutions relating to IP harmonization, as well as the election of John Osha to the bureau post of First Deputy Reporter General and of Peter Schechter to the membership committee.

The Closing Gala Dinner was held at Pirelli HangarBicocca, a “post-industrial space,” i.e., an enormous former locomotive plant converted into an institution devoted to the promotion and production of contemporary art.