|This Kat at the Gala Dinner|
The sharing covers more than physical space. A shared vocabulary must be mastered too, if one is to navigate the outward manifestations of others' inner thoughts and professional knowledge. A large majority of those attending were from North America and worked in or with patents. An understanding of words and terms such as "Alice", "Mayo", "101" and "IPRs" (not "intellectual property rights" here but "inter partes reviews") was therefore not merely useful; it was a passport to the effective comprehension of the words of others.
The event itself, as an Intellectual Property Business Conference, was much more narrowly focused than its name suggested, to the extent that even sessions that ought to have been on quite different topics ended up talking about the same things. This was both a weakness and, as it turned out in practice, something of a strength.
|No? Maybe next year ...|
|The only bit that matters?|
Additionally, while the word "Global" does conjure up an image of something that is at least international in its nature, the programme was resolutely fastened upon the United States. Again there are justifications for this, in that IP business methods, models, practices and investment are very much more in evidence in the United States, where people do more creative and adventurous things with patents both individually and as commodities than they do elsewhere.
That said, the location of next year's event in Barcelona and the fact that the recent impact of US court decisions, legislative reform and USPTO practice has now been closely examined and is unlikely to have changed greatly in the coming twelve months and the coming changes in European trade mark and patent law all suggest strongly that the next IPBCGlobal event will have a very different feel to it.
|Forget the old stereotypes. Today's|
entrepreneurial inventors are more
likely to look like this ...
|... than this|
Finally, this Kat feels that he should say something of the IP Hall of Fame and its Gala Dinner at which the induction of new members takes place. Events of this nature are difficult to handle in a sensitive manner, since they provide not only a chance for the IP community to recognise the efforts of some of its members and perhaps a stimulus to achieve, but also an opportunity for old rivalries, jealousies and grievances to be unearthed. However, the warm, not overly formal and quite relaxed atmosphere created by the organisers helped to ensure that, if there any such undercurrents, they were not apparent. Fame is not the same as merit or excellence: it's a question of personal brand recognition as much as anything else and the ballroom was full of IP achievers in the legal, commercial, strategic and informatic fields whose merits are not diminished by the fact that they may not be so widely recognised.
On a very personal note, this Kat would like to thank all his IP friends and colleagues past, present and future for their help, support and encouragement over the years, and for adding his name to the list of illustrious folk who were already in the IP Hall of Fame. A special mention should go to his friends and colleagues at Olswang LLP, the Oxford University Press team and editorial board of JIPLP, the crew at MARQUES, his fellow bloggers and, last but not least, Mrs Kat -- for whom no words of gratitude could ever be sufficient.