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CONFERENCE CALL


the EU Enforcement Directive, according to Jean Bergevin of the European Commission. He said that the Internet has enabled illicit activity, and that piracy and counterfeiting are “changing in nature” because of it. To help tackle counterfeiting in Europe, Bergevin said that improving criminal enforcement is one way that the commission could go, but EU member states “do not want us to”. He said that they prefer changes to civil enforcement.


DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol general counsel Herb Munsterman offered some top tips to the audience on what to be aware of when evaluating and purchasing IP. He said that in


IP Week: the patent office panel


At the IP Week in Brussels, in one session four leading patent office chiefs talked about the challenges of harmonisation and the impact of reform efforts on office business.


Moderated by WIPR editor Peter Scott, the panel featured US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) head David Kappos, EPO president Battistelli, Jorge Ávila of the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and Dr Li Yuguang of China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).


In the midst of the worst financial crisis in decades, and with European governments struggling to thrash out an economic deal to stabilise the region, it is clear that harmony on policy is difficult to come by. But perhaps the patent system can succeed where others have failed; closer harmonisation on patent policy may help innovators have confidence in marketing their innovations across the globe, and this can only be a good thing.


As Kappos put it: “[As] more innovators seek to tap markets abroad, it is imperative that the international patent system provides a cost- effective way to obtain reliable and high quality patent rights in multiple jurisdictions. Patents


"TRADE SECRETS AND


CONSULTING SERVICES CAN ADD VALUE TO A LICENSING AGREEMENT."


technology transfers “perception is everything”. Te patents at the heart of negotiations need to be better than those already in the purchaser’s own portfolio, because “what it comes down to is making an improvement”.


are the global currency for creating value for products and services for innovators—in all of our countries. But if we don’t keep up with a technological and commercial system that moves ideas and products across borders with increasing speed in a flatter world—we risk devaluing that currency.”


He talked about the USPTO’s efforts to improve its work under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and described the success of its Patent Prosecution Highway programme, and its continued drive toward developing PPH agreements. Additionally, he highlighted the effect of US patent reform in bringing the country’s practice closer to Europe’s. “[On] either side of the Atlantic, countries are realising that policies to foster innovation must rise above partisan riſts, and the ensuing 21st century IP dialogue must be a global one,” he said.


INPI president Ávila added to the conversation with his experience of cooperation in South America, especially under the Prosur system, an agreement of nine countries sharing work and expertise on patents. He was markedly cooler on the idea of PPHs than Kappos, saying that it wasn’t the INPI’s preferred solution, and threatened to create multiple bilateral


agreements when international consensus would be more beneficial.


Yuguang, deputy commissioner at SIPO, spoke about patents work in China and cooperation between the BRICs countries on IP, while EPO president Battistelli presented results for 2001 and spoke about his hopes for a unitary patent.


Licensing activities should be customer- focused, Munsterman added. Te licensor needs to understand its customer’s value chain and look at ways of adding value to a licence so it can form a long-term relationship with a customer. Trade secrets and consulting services can add value to a licensing agreement. At the same time, Musterman explained, it is important that the licensor limits its own liabilities in the terms of a licence. Licensors have high margins with less risk, said Musterman, but they also have comparatively lower revenue than those that use patents. n


66 World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012


www.worldipreview.com


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