4iP News

High visibility for 4iP Council at Brussels IP Summit, 1-2 December

09 December 2016

The value of empirical data and importance of evidence-based decisions on intellectual property policy was emphasised at the Brussels IP Summit earlier this month by 4iP Council, with a strong presence at a flagship event on IP policy.

Claudia Tapia, Director of IP Policy at Ericsson and 4iP Council Chair, represented the work of 4iP Council in an opening plenary on patent enforcement. Her presentation on trends in the EU single market in 2016 covered major cases following the European Court decision Huawei v. ZTE, a subject that has become a focus of 4iP Council research work (see our latest study ‘Lessons fro Huawei v. ZTE’) and she announced the Council’s on-going work developing a searchable repository of cases post-Huawei; a tool that we hope will provide clarity on the court interpretation on FRAND terms and conditions for standard essential patents (SEPs) as well as the behaviour expected for SEP holders and SEP users.

The above session was chaired by Marina Cousté, Partner at Reedsmith and co-presented with Cristiano Cori, Senior IP Counsel at GE Oil & Gas. GE is a founding 4iP Council member. Cristiano discussed successful enforcement strategies and the value of alternative approaches to dispute resolution, notably arbitration and mediation. Claudia shone a spotlight on 4iP Council’s recent work on patent quality (see her article in IAM magazine’s Nov/Dec issue). Claudia also commented on the state of play for inventors and EU member states as we await the creation of a Unified Patent Court (UPC).

The Brussels IP Summit event was attended by around 350 policy-makers and senior IP decision-makers and included numerous interventions from senior European Commission players engaged in advancing conditions for IP owners and beneficiaries. The gathering provided an ideal environment for exchange on the current state-of-play and desirable outcomes for establishing the conditions necessary to incentivise entrepreneurs and advance innovation in Europe.

Claudia Tapia was one of many 4iP Council members presenting at the event. Qualcomm’s George Whitten, Vice-President and Patent Counsel, participated as Chair of the opening session alongside the EPO’s Margot Fröhlinger, Principal Director Unitary Patent, European and Legal International Affairs; Maria Martin-Prat, Head of the European Commission’s Copyright Unit; Dimitris Botis, Deputy Director for Legal Affairs, EUIPO; and Hugh Hansen, Director at the Fordham Intellectual Property Law Institute. Hugh offered his view on the political situation for IP following the election of Donald Trump, suggesting that the latter would do well to recognise and defend a strong US patent system as a building block for economic strength.

Other 4iP Council members presenting at the event included Tim Frain, Director of IP Regulatory Affairs at Nokia, who covered a number of possible scenarios for the UPC should the UK participate or leave the project. On 28 November the UK took the positive step of ratifying the UPC but whether the country will maintain its participation longer term is unknown. Tim’s panel discussed business strategies for maximising the opportunities of the Unified Patent (UP) and the UPC and also requested that the conditions of a member state exiting from the UPC be agreed now in order to ensure that the potential impacts of any withdrawal be well understood, managed and known up front to those who plan to use the UPC.

Ericsson’s Director of IPR Policy, Patrick Hofkens also presented on the topic of FRAND licensing in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) covering the creation of an industry licensing platform for IoT. The Court’s decision Huawei v ZTE has crystallised how parties can come – from a process perspective to an agreement on FRAND licensing terms. Among those co-presenting with Patrick was Matthias Schneider, Senior Licensing Manager at Audi. The two experts held a thought-provoking exchange on different approaches to standard setting in the telecoms and automotive sectors. As IoT continues to blur the boundaries between the two industries, some lively standards setting discussions and interesting evolutions look likely.

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