IP Draughts starts 2020 by reflecting on some events that he participated in during 2019. These were all non-paid events, usually running over several days, though in some cases a contribution to his travel expenses was made.
In January, he taught on the ASTP-Proton technology transfer course in Sitges, outside Barcelona, Spain. This course is mostly attended by university technology transfer managers across Europe and he has been a volunteer for ASTP for many years.
In May, he attended a course run by the UCL Faculty of Laws on Drafting Contracts in London, UK. He was not involved in organising or presenting at this one, though he did ask a couple of questions. The course covered several aspects of contract drafting and interpretation, and was designed to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners. It was well attended by both camps.
In June, he spoke at the PraxisAuril annual conference in Harrogate, UK. PraxisAuril is the ASTP equivalent for the UK and he has taught on their courses for many years. His subject was to report on a volunteer project that he co-chaired to develop a template term sheet for university spin-out investment.
In November, he spoke at the LIDC (International League of Competition Law) annual conference in Paris, France. He had been asked to be the international reporter on a project to compare the legal remedies, in different jurisdictions, for unjustified threats of IP infringement.
These events were in addition to regular volunteer activities, such as his membership of the Board of Directors of OBN (UK) Ltd, a company that runs networking events for the UK biotech sector.
He enjoyed attending and speaking at all of these events. But he is left feeling that there is a lack of focus in these activities, and that he would generate more long-term impact by running his own events for the international IP and contracts community.
He has in mind a regular series of debates and networking events for people who work in the field of IP and contracts, whether as academics or practitioners. This would be separate from the training courses that he already runs.
Topics might range from FRAND licensing to life science agreements, or from “big data” contracts to international standards for IP licensing, analogous to the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. Basic principles of contract drafting could be included, with a view to understanding the differences between common law and civil law approaches in the field of IP contracts.
In these and other subjects, the objective would not be to teach, but rather to get experts together to debate policy and practice issues, as well as difficult issues of doctrinal law. He has a track record of setting up events, including the popular 5-day course on IP transactions that has run for several years at UCL and will run again in April.
But he can’t do this on his own. He would need a core group of enthusiasts to help plan and organise events. He could probably persuade the UCL law faculty to host them, if they are of suitable merit, and perhaps law faculties in other jurisdictions, eg the University of Geneva. Sponsorship would probably be useful, perhaps from some leading law firms that specialise in transactional IP.
Your help is sought. What should he do to turn this dream into reality?