UNION-IP is an association of practitioners in the field of Intellectual Property, that is, of individuals whose principal professional occupation is concerned with Patents, Trade Marks or Designs and related subjects and who carry on their profession independently or as employees.
UNION-IP is a private, free, international association that is not dependent on any national or international authority: it approves its own members, in accordance with its statutes, in total independence, and likewise decides on its own activities and its own budget.
It aims on the one hand to work continuously on current developments in Intellectual Property in Europe, especially by making early submissions during the preparation of proposed laws and treaties with the intention of influencing them; and on the other hand to devote itself to the improvement of professional and personal understanding between European practitioners in the Intellectual Property field in different countries and different branches of the profession.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a landscape that encouraged innovation and led to the acceleration of the digital transformation. As in most of the areas of the economy, the patent environment was not immune to those changes.
Following the pandemic outbreak, the European Patent Office (EPO) started to mandate holding oral proceedings by videoconferencing (VICO). We have also seen considerable progress of the legal framework, technical infrastructure and training support since the EPO’s pilot project to conduct opposition hearings by VICO started in May 2020.
But was this change embraced by all the patent professionals and users of the patent system? What are the EPO’s next steps in this regard? What is the current best practice? Once this crisis ends, will VICO become the norm and will in-person proceedings fade away?
This year’s Roundtable will focus on the different views and how digital transformation is shaping the future, with a particular focus on best practices and on how professionals are already adapting to efficiently operate in a new environment.
But changes do not only come from technology developments.
Opposition systems continue to evolve, and France is an example of major changes in post-grant proceedings, with the recent introduction of opposition proceedings. Such mechanisms on a national level continue to be relevant, as patent prosecution strategies continue to evolve and awareness with regard to national patents and tools increases.
New and old opposition mechanisms will be discussed and presented, with a focus on how professionals are using them considering today’s strategies.