The IP Summit: a two-pronged approach


Premier Cercle

The pan-European Intellectual Property Summit returns for its fifth year, and this time it has grown from two to four days across two different countries, as Premier Cercle, the co-organiser, explains.

On December 6 and 7, 2012, the IP Summit ‘Patents Reloaded’ will focus on patents in Brussels, Belgium. On December 10 and 11, the IP Summit ‘Regenerating Trademarks’ will cover trademarks and anti-counterfeiting in Alicante, Spain.

Researched and organised by Premier Cercle, in association with TB&I, the IP Summits will bring their unique blends of keynote speeches and workshops to a wide audience. Debates will flow on subjects ranging from crucial reforms to boardroom advice, business practices and litigation cases. Top-level officials will outline their agendas; CEOs will share their strategies; and chief IP officers will reveal their sometimes unusual tricks for getting the most of their IP portfolios.

It has been a lively and important year for IP. Premier Cercle wanted to be as exhaustive as possible in its approach and also open new networking opportunities by covering the topics separately.

Exploring the trademark side of the IP Summit led the organisers naturally to Alicante, home of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), for the first Summit outside Brussels. OHIM is, as one of the organiser’s main partners, closely associated with this event. With 16 years’ experience, and 1 million trademark applications filed last year, the agency has a broad experience of IP. It will soon celebrating the 10th birthday of European design and is also now hosting the Observatory on Counterfeiting. It manages popular European tools and has provided Alicante with renewed influence.

The organisers also wanted to reach a new audience, and extend the platform of specialists, by highlighting southern Europe’s commitment to IP and illustrating its day-to-day practice in this area. Spain, even though it is severely affected by the economic downturn, is still a reservoir of creativity and entrepreneurship. Beyond its giant users of IP (Zara, Mango, Camper, Telefonica), encouraging innovation will hopefully unleash the country’s full potential in the years to come.

The IP Summit will be a unique occasion to get a global picture of trademarks, at a time when the economy requires companies to remain dynamic and develop bullet-proof brand strategies. On the morning of December 10, the CEOs of Geox, Freixenet and Koton, three companies with ninedigit turnovers, will explain how they built their brand’s identity and look to the future of their respective trademarks. Several debates will alsoaddress the issue of valuation and optimisation of a trademark portfolio, with contributions from companies such as Virgin, DSM, Auchan, Whirlpool, Swarovski and Electrolux.

In December, the legislative activity on trademarks will be at a peak, especially with a European Commission proposal to reform the Community Trademark. The IP Summit will spend time assessing this text and the progress made, as well as offer an opportunity for the IP community to comment on the options and make timely suggestions to improve the functioning of the trademark system from a practical point of view.

Another important focus will be ‘Fighting Fakes’, with companies such as Sanofi, TNT, Kyocera, Toyota Motors Europe and Visa. Is there a need to touch upon the legislative framework, or is it more an issue of practice? What role does cooperation between stakeholders play in this fight? All this will be covered by several plenary and panel discussions on December 10 and 11.

Managing a brand’s presence on the Internet is of course part of the debate: Pernod Ricard, Mars Inc. and Vodafone will try to persuade other companies to ‘stay up to speed’, by monitoring trademark strategies in the social media environment. And the very hot gTLDs, which in December will be precisely between two rounds of applications, will be discussed between ICANN, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Specialists from Lego, Puig, Nokia, AB InBev and Oxylane Decathlon will try to define the limits (or envisage the extension, where appropriate) of trademark protection in two different panels. The discussions on trademarks in the context of sports events after Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games, trademarks and arts with the Warhol/ Velvet Underground Banana case going on and trademarks and health with the plain tobacco packaging issue, will all be important towards understanding the evolution of trademark protection.

These are just the highlights—there is plenty more to keep attendees interested.


Regular programme updates for both IP Summits 2012 and speakers can be found online at

This article was first published on 01 September 2012 in World IP Review

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