Joff Wild

The plenary and breakout sessions for this year’s IPBC Global get underway in Ottawa in less than two hours’ time. The 500+ delegates attending the event are going to have access to a speaking faculty composed of many of the most innovative thinkers in the IP business space, including senior operating company decision-makers, NPE executives, policy makers, top third-party strategists and private practitioners. They’ll be looking at issues as diverse as convergence, the patent sales market, managing the innovation process, the Internet of Things, and developing patent landscapes in Europe the US and China. As ever, there will be a number of highlights for us to report over the next two days – so stay tuned to this blog and the #IPBCGlobal Twitter feed.

To whet your appetite, and in no particular order, here are a few of my highlights from years gone by.   

  • Philips CEO Frans van Houten gave the plenary address and then took questions from the audience to open IPBC Global 2014 in Amsterdam. It was a fascinating insight into how top executives at major companies view IP issues - and not all of it made for comfortable listening.

  • In Boston in 2013, there was a debate of the motion

  • In San Francisco in 2011, IPBC Global delegates remotely rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, while in New York itself the Nortel patent auction was in full swing. Meanwhile, Round Rock founder John Desmarais gave some deep insight into how he worked with Micron to get the firm started and explained the benefits of what has since become known as patent privateering.

  • The Ocean Tomo patent auction at the first IPBC Global in Amsterdam in 2008 raised over $12 million and seemed to herald a new world in which patents were becoming standalone assets. A year later, though, OceanTomo had sold its transactions business to ICAP and it turned out to be the first sign that public IP auctions might lose their mojo.

  • There has never been a louder IPBC cheer than the one heard last year in Barcelona when former CAFC chief judge Randall Rader criticised Google patent head Allen Lo for warning that licensors who ask for too high a royalty fee are in danger of “killing the host”. Rader was having none of it. “I do not think there is any greater irony than Google complaining that the legal exercise of property rights is killing hosts,” he said. The room erupted.

  • We were back in San Francisco in 2015 and privileged to hear from a select group of world class inventors whose pioneering work provides the patent system with its raison d’etre. Listening to insights from the likes of Fractus’s Carles Puente and Laura van ‘t Veer, the co-founder and chief research officer of medical diagnostics business Agendia, made clear just how important IP is to the enablement of innovation. It “allowed us to interest investors in the company”, said van t’Veer.

  • Speaking on home turf in Cascais, Portugal, during IPBC 2012, OHIM (now the EU IP Office) president Antonio Campinos revealed that the agency was to team up with the European Patent Office to produce an in-depth study into the contribution that IP-rich industries make to the European economy – something that many IP owners in Europe had long been calling for. It came out a year later and has been updated several times since. At last, IP policy making in Europe has some context.