17-18 September 2016

The first day of the AIPPI World Congress was mainly dedicated to the study committee meetings regarding the Working Questions.

The copyright question was about “Linking and making available on the Internet”. Since the resolution on exception to copyright and permitted uses on the internet passed at the Hyderabad congress, there have been several CJEA rulings on the “making available right’ in the context of linking (i.e. Svensson C-466/12 of February 13, 2014, BestWater C-348/13 of October 21, 2014 and GS Media C-160/15 of September 8, 2016). Pursuant to this case law, hyperlinking to a copyrighted work can be considered as an “act of communication to the public” when it is communicated to a “new public” (Svensson and BestWater) or when the links have been posted for financial gain (GS Media).

However, this approach is not followed by other jurisdictions and legal practitioners remain divided on the matter, which was also reflected in the study committee. Not only were there discussions whether or not hyperlinking to a copyrighted work should be considered as an act of communication. It was also questioned whether or not framing and embedding should be treated differently from hyperlinking or deep linking. Countries like the UK, France, Argentina and Belgium are in favor of such a difference, since the impact on the exploitation rights of the copyright owner is different. To the contrary, countries like the US, Turkey and Sweden believe that all types of linking should be treated the same way for freedom of speech reasons.

In the evening, the congress opened officially with a magnificent opening ceremony on the catwalk. Flying musicians, billboard pictures capturing Italian history and a ballet dancer gave that extra touch to the grandeur of the festivities. The welcome reception continued on the same level of excellence by offering Italy’s finest cuisine.

The second day started off with a Brexit Session. Although many hypotheses were discussed, no indication whatsoever could be given on the actual consequences that are to be expected.

Subsequently, the Study Questions for the AIPPI World congress 2017 in Sydney were presented:

Option 1:    Inventor remuneration for multinational inventions
Option 2:    Patentability of computer implemented inventions
Trademarks / Designs
Option 1:   Use of consumer survey evidence in trademark proceedings
Option 2:    Bad faith trademarks
IP protection of media and IT
Option 1:    Big data – protection and ownership
Option 2:    Protection of graphical user interfaces
Option 1:    Quantification of monetary relief
Option 2:    Standing to litigate and effect on available remedies

Thereafter, a Belgian lunch was organized for which some of us had to occupy with all our belongings several tables and charmingly yet decisively expel others from joining us.

The afternoon program was filled with a variety of subjects: one could attend the plenary session on patents or one of the many panel sessions, e.g. on IP & Food, GI’s, Contributory Infringement and TPP/TTIP.

The second evening was all about glitter and glamour. Kicked off by the Women in AIPPI networking event in the famous Café Trussardi and followed by an unforgettable concert at the prestigious Scala.

19-20 September 2016

On the third day of the AIPPI World Congress in Milan, some more interesting panel sessions took place, such as the one on IP and Fashion. The panel gave their insights on the possible ways and the evolving approaches to protect fashion items. Also the significant differences between the US and EU approach was discussed.

In the afternoon the plenary session on the requirements for protection of designs took place. In particular, the resolution concerned the question whether a design which is solely dictated by its technical function, should be granted protection as a registered design. Although almost all groups acknowledged that their current law denies protection to a design with an appearance that is solely dictated by its technical function, some parts of the resolution were heavily debated. For Belgium, Fernand De Visscher took the lead and defended the Belgian position with great diligence. After three hours debating the designs resolution, a resolution was adopted.

The evening of the third day was the “reception”-evening. At least a dozen of different receptions of the various Italian (and non-Italian) law firms took place. After our first Italian ice cream during a meeting with an Italian colleague in the city center, the reception evening started with Portolano. As they were about to move offices, they invited their guests in their new office location: the Palazzo Borromeo. The building itself was constructed in the 13th century and still featured a nice Italian patio and several beautiful wall paintings. From the classic and stylish location of the Palazzo Borromeo, the reception-evening continued at Gianni Origoni, located in the Palazzo Belgioioso. This palace was a neo-classical building, constructed in the 18th century. The golden decorations, the columns and pilasters and the enormous frescoes amazed all of their guests, and then they hadn’t even started with trying some of the carefully selected wines and food. One thing we learned thus far: in Italy they have amazing office spaces.

Thereafter also Modiano and LGV Avvocati were on the list and the “reception-evening” was finished off by attending the reception / party of Chadha & Chadha.

The last day started off with an interesting mock trial on the UPC and some more information – or at least some more speculation – on the consequences of the Brexit on the entering into force of the UPC. Besides a lot of possible scenarios, no real prediction was made about the implications of the Brexit on the harmonization of the Unitary Patent Court.

For most, the congress came to an end with the closing dinner at the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca. After aperitivo in the entrance hall, dinner was served between the Seven Heavenly Palaces, a permanent exhibition by Anselm Kiefer. We can hardly accuse the Italians of a lack of style. With music during dinner shifting between far-too-loud and barely audible, dancing shoes began to itch. They were not left wanting for too long.