Conference highlights the role of specialized courts in protecting intellectual property rights; Delegates discuss potential for specialized courts in Latin American countries

Washington, DC Judges from Argentina, Chile and Mexico met in Washington this week to discuss current trends in intellectual property protection. The conference, “Protection of Intellectual Property – Issues for Judges and Lawyers from Latin America,” was hosted and organized by IIPI and the International Judicial Academy with sponsorship from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The week-long program provided an overview of the U.S. IP protection system and gave insights into the inner workings of the U.S. court system. Delegates discussed topics as diverse as the role specialized courts play in bringing uniformity to the application of patent protection and using alternative methods to protect clients’ intellectual property such as the International Trade Commission.

“The protection of intellectual property is vital to Latin American countries seeking to expand their economies,” notes IIPI’s Jeff Martin. “This conference was a way to demonstrate to our Latin American colleagues what we do to manage intellectual property matters. We hope they take back to their countries a better understanding of how the U.S. specialized court system works, and integrate the most useful parts to their own systems.”

Noted speakers at the conference included Hon. Roderick McKelvie, Fish & Neave; Michael Adlin, attorney-advisor at the USPTO; Ralph Mittelberger, Heller & Ehrman; the Hon. Gerald Mossinghof, former U.S. Commissioner of Patents; the Hon. Paul Michel, judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC); and Tim Trainer, President of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.

Conference topics included:

• Exploring the roles of attorneys and judges in conducting an IP infringement case.
• Understanding the USPTO stance on trademark issues, patent protection, and geographic indications.
• Using the International Trade Commission’s forum for protecting intellectual property.

Delegates also toured the U.S. District Court and the CAFC, complete with comments and discussions on court procedure from presiding judges.

Photo © Robert Billstone 2006