International relations are incredibly important for the UK patent profession, given the large proportion of European work conducted on behalf of overseas associates. 2022 saw the welcome return of in-person travel for the International Liaison Committee. 


CIPA President Alasdair Poore (right) with Adam Williams, CEO of the UK Intellectual Property Office and Jangwon Hong, President of the Korea Patent Attorney Association, at our Holborn offices in July

In June, we welcomed members of the European Practice Group of the American Intellectual Patent Law Association (AIPLA). The visit included a diversity and inclusion breakfast meeting in partnership with IP Inclusive, held at Gray’s Inn, which featured a panel session on Allyship moderated by Dr Marianne Privett, Co-Lead of IP Ability. Panellists were CIPA Chief Executive Lee Davies, AIPLA Vice-President Ann Mueting, Tum Thatch (AIPLA) and Saiful Khan, representing CIPA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The meeting was a great opportunity to highlight CIPA’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and reflect on what we can all do to stand beside and help others in less well-represented groups.

After the breakfast, AIPLA and ILC delegates held a roundtable in the CIPA offices alongside representatives from the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA). The group discussed a range of pressing topics for the UK and USA, including amendments to descriptions, 103 patent rejections on obviousness before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), IP in trade negotiations and the post-Brexit landscape for trade marks in the UK. In the afternoon, AIPLA and ILC members provided updates of interest to both UK and American professions. ILC members presented on: Enlarged Board of Appeal activity presented by Nick Noble; update on design protection in the UK presented by ILC North America Working Group Lead Clare Cornell; and Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court updates presented by Howard Read. AIPLA delegate Enrica Bruno spoke on excluded subject matter and Ann Mueting and Angelica Andreoli gave an update on Federal Circuit case law.

The following week, Jangwon Hong, President of the Korea Patent Attorney Association (KPAA) and  Young-Jin Heo, KPAA Vice-President (International Affairs), visited London with a journalist from Korea Economic Daily on a patent litigation fact-finding trip. KPAA was seeking to influence the South Korean government over a proposal to reform the country’s patent litigation process to enable patent attorneys to represent parties in patent infringement cases. KPAA considers the UK patent litigation system a model of best practice. We organised meetings with senior judges and an Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) litigation expert to assist our Korean colleagues and help them consider what features might possibly be replicated in Korea.

CIPA President Alasdair Poore, ILC Chair Tony Rollins and ILC’s South Korea working group lead David Grainger met with Mr Hong and Mr Heo. The group attended meetings organised by CIPA with Lord Justice Birss, HH Judge Hacon, the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Interim Chief Executive and former Head of International Affairs Adam Williams and litigation expert Geoff Stewart of Stobbs IA Management. They discussed the history of UK patent litigation, the creation and role of IPEC, how businesses benefit from representation by patent attorneys and the wider UK IP infrastructure. CIPA has an excellent long-standing relationship with KPAA and we were delighted to be able to assist our Korean partners in collecting knowledge to support IP innovation in South Korea.

In addition to welcoming incoming delegations, ILC made its first overseas trips since the start of the pandemic. In September, ILC partnered with the US Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) at their annual conference in Los Angles to promote UK rights of representation at the Unified Patent Court and present updates on other hot topics. CIPA’s speakers included Peter Thornily, David Hammond and Dick Waddington. The session was chaired by CIPA Vice-President Daniel Chew.

Also in September Tony Rollins and Saiful Khan met with the Japan Patent Attorney Association (JPAA) executive during the AIPPI (Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle) conference in San Fransico. Chief Executive Lee Davies and Deputy Chief Executive Neil Lampert travelled to Canada as guests of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) to attend IPIC’s annual conference and to discuss how IPIC could potentially assist with issues relating to IP and trade deals.

In October, CIPA President Alasdair Poore attended the Asian Patent Attorneys Association conference in Busan, South Korea. During the visit, President Poore and other members of the CIPA delegation met with representatives from a number of partner institutes including, KPAA, JPAA, the Taiwan Patent Attorneys Association and the Association of Singapore Patent Attorneys.

Also in October, Tony Rollins and Daniel Chew attended the AIPLA conference in Maryland, USA, alongside Clare Cornell and CIPA Council member Vicki Salmon. The delegates met with the AIPLA executive where Daniel outlined his plans for his presidency and discussed EDI, education and sustainability. Vicki also represented CIPA on a UPC panel during the AIPLA conference.

Virtual Events

In addition to in-person events, the ILC continued its programme of virtual events. In April, the China working group held a roundtable meeting with the All-China Patent Attorneys Association (ACPAA) which included presentations on the Unitary Patent (UP) and UPC and updates on videoconferencing at the EPO by Caelia Bryn-Jacobsen and Gwilym Roberts. The event also featured talks from ACPAA on early resolution mechanisms for drug patent disputes in China and patent eligibility of AI in China.

With the imminent opening of the UPC, it was important for ILC to promote the representation rights that suitably qualified UK-based patent attorneys will before the new court. In May, ILC hosted a webinar for members of the US IPO which was well received. CIPA’s speakers, Leythem Wall and Caelia Bryn-Jacobsen explained the benefits of choosing UK attorneys in dealings with the UP and UPC.

In September, the Japan working group held a webinar for JPAA members on the UPC. The event was delivered by working group lead, Darren Smyth, Deputy Lead Kei Enomoto and members Eleanor Maciver, Nic Jones, Howard Read and James Pitchford. They were also joined by the IP Federation’s Belinda Gascoyne of IBM and James Hogan of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp for a discussion session on the pros and cons of opting out existing European patents from the new system. The session was attended by 200 of JPAA’s members and was a great opportunity to inform our Japanese colleagues of these important developments in Europe.

Jangwon Hong

President, Korea Patent Attorney Association


“CIPA and KPAA have been in a great relationship for more than 24 years. We have held annual meetings every year, alternatingly in the UK and in Korea, where we have shared valuable insights and information regarding the latest intellectual property trends in the two countries. In 2022, we met each other more than usual in London and in Busan for the mutual development of both associations. In particular, we would like to express our gratitude for CIPA’s great efforts regarding the development of IP policies in Korea. It was a valuable experience to have a meeting with the Intellectual Property Office and judges from the Court of Appeal and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in July. We learned a lot about how UK/European patent attorneys obtained representation rights in patent infringement cases. Also, the 2022 Asian Patent Attorney Association Meeting, in Busan, was a good opportunity to strengthen the already friendly relationship between the two associations. I hope that this partnership will continue and CIPA and KPAA lead the future together.”

Patrick Coyne

President, American Intellectual Property Law Association


“We had an excellent in-person meeting with our colleagues at CIPA, in London, last June. After almost two and a half years of COVID lockdown, preventing us from holding in-person meetings, we were able to reconnect with our colleagues, at their London office. We had a well-attended, wide-ranging discussion on multiple topics affecting our respective IP systems. It was great to renew personal acquaintances, share views on important issues, and enjoy a meal together. Thank you to our colleagues at CIPA  for your warmth and hospitality. We look forward to our continued collaboration to improve the IP system for all stakeholders.”

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