Do you have any advice for someone considering a career in intellectual property?
Above all, the work of a patent attorney is characterised by the lack of boredom, as each new case offers the possibility of exposure to new techniques from various fields of technology. Therefore, if someone enjoys expanding their technical knowledge and maintaining contact with interesting people, they should not hesitate for a moment before choosing this profession. It is also a great pleasure to meet foreign fellow patent attorneys during numerous conferences or meetings of organisations around the world, which can be an additional advantage.
What technological advancements are having the biggest effect on your practice?
The present times, deeply affected by the pandemic, have certainly influenced technological progress in the field of rapid medical diagnostics. There is a strong interest among clients in the development of technologies for the rapid identification of biological threats, such as genetic or immunological diagnostic devices. One should also remember the great interest from the chemical and cosmetic industries in the development of new disinfectants and methods of preventing infection.
How do you build trust and understanding with clients to ensure that they make the most informed IP decisions?
First of all, one should not avoid contact with clients when they signal their needs. In my experience, the most important strategic decisions are made in face-to-face meetings and not necessarily in a formal setting with tightly fastened ties. So I am not surprised when the most important strategic decisions are made after an informal lunch or a joint bicycle trip. Nevertheless, the greatest trust is built by a well-granted patent that adequately protects the client’s business. So at the very end, as always, a job that is well done is the best way to cement the mutual relationship between client and patent attorney.
What changes to the biotech space do you expect to see as a result of the global rush to develop and distribute covid-19 vaccines?
Paradoxically, the war for public health triggered by the covid-19 pandemic can ultimately be won by humans. There has already been a tremendous acceleration in the development of effective vaccines, drugs and their regulatory approvals. Until the discovery of the covid-19 vaccines, all technologies related to identifying the virus threat (eg, rapid genetic or immunological diagnostics) or prevention of the infection itself (eg, mechanical barriers in the form of masks, sluices or disinfectants) certainly gained an even higher priority. It seems that now that we have effective vaccines, these directions of development will continue in order to effectively protect humanity against further pandemics, which unfortunately are inevitable.
If you could make one change to the Polish litigation space what would it be – and do you expect it to happen?
My big dream is that the adjudicating panels of the newly established IP courts in Poland could also include specialists in the field of technology of a given case, along with patent attorneys. Will it happen? Time will tell. I sincerely hope so, as everyone could benefit from this change – not only courts, which could pass judgments faster and more reliably, but also parties to the proceedings, which would gain even greater confidence in more specialised, technically extended panels.
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Andrzej Witek is a partner at WTS Patent Attorneys – Witek, Śnieżko & Partners. He is a patent attorney with a background in biotechnology, with industrial experience in technological and quality consulting. He advises companies from the med-tech, pharmaceutical, industrial chemistry and mechanics sectors. Mr Witek works with start-ups, research units, global companies and capital funds in the fields of IP management and due diligence, as well as their enforcement.