Corporate IP Counsels Gather to Discuss Magnitude of the Problem

Washington, DC. The International Intellectual Property Institute successfully concluded an invitation-only conference at the George Washington University Law School yesterday, March 6, 2006 that presented and solicited ideas in an effort to battle the current trend of rising costs and unreliability in the patent-granting process. The Conference, Uncertainty & Cost – Averting a Global Patent Crisis, provided a first-ever gathering of its kind to discuss issues of patent quality in the context of international patent office crises.

Patent counsels and top experts representing leading US and international companies provided insightful dialogue on issues affecting their respective industries. Panel topics included patent quality and pendency; the impact of uncertainty on innovation, investment, and planning; a report on the SE Asia regional intellectual property system; and a USPTO commissioners’ forum on how to facilitate meaningful patent reform.

Congressman Tom Feeney, Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Caucus was on hand to speak on the measures Congress is taking to protect intellectual property rights domestically and in other countries. Presentations of note included an in-depth analysis on how the world economy would benefit from work sharing among the trilateral PTOs by former deputy commissioner of the Japanese Patent Office, Shinjiro Ono, and a thought provoking look at the advantages of having in house counsel to secure companies’ patents. According to David Yurkerwich, Vice President of CRA International, the number of patents issued by PTOs to a company is inversely related to the number of patents filed by a company. Statistics show that companies with in house counsel that file a relatively small amount of well researched patent applications a year get more of them issued than companies with outside counsel that file twice or three times as many patent applications. The conference concluded with a universal consensus that if intervention does not occur, the international patent system will no doubt collapse in the coming years.

Sponsors of the event included Pfizer, Akin Gump, Anaqua, CRA International and Microsoft. The George Washington University Law School and the Center for Intellectual Property (CIP) at Chalmers University were academic affiliates and Managing Intellectual Property Magazine and Intellectual Asset Management Magazine were media partners of this conference.