2015 Spring Conference

Spring Conference 2015 report

The 2015 Spring Conference was a complete success – ITMA got it right on every count, from the food and entertainment, to an impressive venue and informed speakers.

First off on Thursday was the Hon Mr Justice Richard Arnold, whose keynote speech on the conference theme of IP convergence emphasised the importance of harmonisation of legislation and case law in the EU. Steve Rowan (UK IPO) followed, announcing that a record 50,000 trade mark applications were filed in the UK in the last financial year. The UK IPO is moving towards convergence with the EU in a number of IP areas. In fact, that morning the consultation on the proposed designs opinion service was launched and it was confirmed that the UK will seek to join the Hague International Design System.

José Miguel Lissén Arbeloa (Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados S.L.P.) then updated us on the amendments to the European trade mark system, which will improve consistency and provide further harmonisation of EU laws. The reform package should be final by December 2015. Mark Bearfoot (Harley-Davidson) and Sarah Jeffery (GSK) gave an insightful presentation on the strategies involved in capturing counterfeits both inside and outside the EU. We learned of the difficulties faced in seizing goods and enforcing legislation, in particular in Africa.

Next, Cameron Gowlett and Duncan Mee (Cerberus) informed us about the perils of conducting investigations, with some evocative visual aids. Afterwards, the Iron and Smith case was examined by Péter Lukácsi (SBGK). He spoke about the importance of CTMs with reputation, territorial scope and the questions referred to the CJEU. Following a tea break with indulgent cake pops, Matthew Dick (D Young & Co) spoke of the dangers of converging trade marks, focusing on the Yourview v Youview case.

On Friday, Dominic Farnsworth (Lewis Silkin) gave a presentation that covered gaming and the law. The case involving the Lady GooGoo game, in relation to which Lady Gaga successfully proved trade mark infringement, was a talking point at the tea break.

Amanda Michaels (Hogarth Chambers) and Clare Jackman (Norton Rose Fulbright LLP) gave a fantastic talk on the convergence of approach to shape, sound and movement marks. Chris Schulte (Merchant & Gold) then entertained us all with his witty presentation on viewing the EU Specsavers case through the lens of the US mutilation doctrine, and we all learned about “squint tests” and “phantom marks”. Next, trade mark use issues in Europe were highlighted by Anne Marie Verschuur (NautaDutilh NV) and the final speaker was Debbie Roenning (WIPO), who updated us on the expansion of WIPO Members and some improvements that are on the horizon, such as the possibility of the removal of “central attack”. Chris McLeod closed the conference and everyone who attended left in agreement and complete harmony.

Report from Triona Desmond, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP


ITMA Gala Dinner 2015 report

Events organised by ITMA never lack vibrancy and those accompanying this year’s Spring Conference were no exception.

With the conference commencing on Thursday morning, the evening before provided a suitable time for an unofficial kick-off. Sway Bar provided a welcome mix of Victorian grandeur and modern chic and certainly ‘set the bar’ for what was to come. The playfulness and prestige of Madame Tussauds are undeniable.

Indeed, it must rank as one of the world’s most famous museums. And at Thursday’s Gala Dinner guests were ‘chauffeured’ to the opening drinks reception on a ‘Spirit of London Ride’. This may have had particular impact on our overseas colleagues as it provided an insight into the history of the host city.

Following the enlightening ‘cab ride’, guests were able to share a refreshment with the stars. With this in mind, the evening may have set a new record for the number of selfies taken at an ITMA event.

Alongside the star spotting, Chris McLeod addressed the attendees in his usual witty manner and guests also had the pleasure of the company of Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for IP. In her speech, she endorsed the work of ITMA and the IPO, and praised IP specialists for the valuable work they do in assisting businesses to protect their IP assets.

Report from Mark Caddle, Withers & Rogers LLP