Celebrating World Intellectual Property Day in Wales, Liverpool and Beyond

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On 26 April 2022, the world celebrated World Intellectual Property Day.  That is a worldwide festival to celebrate the entry into force of the World Intellectual Property Organization Convention, the international agreement that established the World Intellectual Property Organization *"WIPO").  

I took part in two of the celebrations:
  • i presented a webinar for the Liverpool Law Society entitled  "Intellectual Property Law after Brexit and onwards”; and 
  • I chaired the Menai Science Park's celebration of the Creativity, Enterprise and innovation of the Young People of Wales.
Both events had unexpected last-minute hitches which the organizers took in their stride.  It is fair to say that both events went well,

I had originally intended to cover the topics that I had discussed in my presentation How Brexit has changed IP Law and handout IP after BrexitOn the morning of the talk, I learned that there had been a block booking by a single law firm.  I asked each of those attendees how much IP work he pr she did in his or her practice. I found out that most of them did very little or none at all.  It seemed to me that that audience needed to know some basic IP law first.

In an unscripted change to my presentation, I taught them that intellectual property is the collective name for that bundle of rights, such as patents, copyrights, trade marks and design rights, that protect investment in brands, designs, technology and works of arts and literature which are known collectively as intellectual assets.  I emphasized the difference between intellectual property being the legal protection and intellectual assets as the subject of the law's protection.  I discussed why business owners and managers need to know about intellectual property.  I explained that intellectual property rights are negative in the sense of preventing others from doing particular acts and that they do not actually confer a right to do a particular act.  I added that with some exceptions intellectual property rights are territorial (that is to say, they are granted for specific national or regional territories).  I stressed that the enforcement of intellectual property rights is primarily the responsibility of the owner though some infringements are also offences,

That led to a discussion of the methods of enforcement and civil proceedings in the Chancery Division. I mentioned the Patents Court, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") and the General Intellectual Property list.  I said a few words about IPEC's small claims track and the multitrack jurisdictions and referred to CPR Part 63, I introduced the audience to TaylorWessing's Patent Map and discussed some comparative statistics. I mentioned some of the alternatives to litigation such as ICANN's domain name dispute resolution policy and Intellectual Property Office opinions on validity, infringement and other issues.

I considered how different intellectual property laws protected brands, designs, technology and works of art and literature.   I discussed how different intellectual property rights protect different intellectual assets in different ways: for instance, registered trade marks and the law of passing off for branding and patents or trade secrecy for technology.  I suggested strategies for choosing the optimum intellectual property protection and emphasized the need to fund enforcement or revocation challenges through before-the-event insurance.

In the last 15 minutes, I focused on the changes to our law that had been brought about by Brexit. These included the end of EU trade marks, Community designs and Community plant varieties. I spoke about the provisions of the EU withdrawal agreement relating to intellectual property, the implementation of that agreement by statute, the incorporation of EU regulations into national law and their modification by statutory instruments and the conversion of EU trade marks and registered Community designs into UK trade marks and registered designs.  I also mentioned some of the less obvious consequences of Brexit such as our withdrawal from the Brussels Convention and the UK'swithdrawal from the Unified Patent Court Agreement.  

When the WIPO announced the theme for World IP Day 2022, the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) interpreted  "IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future." as an invitation to celebrate the creativity, enterprise and innovation of the young people of Wales. 

While she had been a junior school student Nia Roberts had been inspired to study natural sciences by Tecwyn Roberts who had also studied at that school.  When he was at the height of his career he visited his old school and spoke to the children including Nia about his work on the US space programme.  Nia showed us a photo of the visit.  Also during her childhood, she watched a TV programme about the Patent Office.  She was so interested that she asked the Patent Office for advice on becoming a patent attorney.  They advised her to study modern languages as well as science.  She said that she had mastered 7 of them.  Nia read physics at Manchester, qualified as a patent attorney and worked for many years as an examiner for the European Patent Office.   

After speaking about her own inspiration Nia mentioned some of the opportunities available to young people now.  She spoke about the Institute of Physics and its work for children.  Emily Roberts told me that Institute has provided lots of educational materials for the science park's children's programme known as Clwb Sparci.

Tecwyn had to travel to America and Nia to the continent to find work in science.   This generation's kids can find well-paid work in Wales with the rapid expansion of the Welsh space industry although many will still want to enjoy the experience of working and studying abroad.  To discuss the opportunities in the Welsh space industry, we welcomed David Young manager of Llanbedr Airport which has been designated one of the UK's first commercial spaceports.  David spoke all about the work that is carried out in Llanbedr which includes the development of drones as well as satellite launchers.   He mentioned some of the work that the spaceport has carried out for children which included running a high performance racing car on the tarmac.  We hope that this will be another resource for Clwb Sparci.

The science park has already nurtured some impressive new companies one of which is the multilingual hybrid meetings platform Haia.   To round off the webinar, the company's founder Tom Burke introduced his product, his company, how he launched it, how he is helping it to grow and the company's plans for the future.

The Intellectual Property Office celebrated World Intellectual Property Day with a blog post entitled Innovating for a better future: Intellectual property and youth in which it described its work for young people.  The WIPO also published  Now’s the time for young people to switch on to intellectual property in the WIPO Magazine.   I have inserted links to both articles in the bibliography of World IP Day 2022: IP and Youth: "Innovating for a Better Future" on the NIPC Wales website.   While writing this article I found a very interesting article on Space and Satellites on the European Patent Office website.   I have placed a link to that article on The Space Industry in Wales on the same website.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

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