Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Licensing Executives Society wants to 'make the world better through [patent] licensing'

In less than two months, many of the thought leaders in intellectual property, including Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, will meet in Moscow at the 2014 Licensing Executives Society (LES) International Conference. Hopefully no politician will pressure any of those high-profile attendees to cancel their attendance because of the Ukraine/Crimea issue, which simply has nothing to do with intellectual property.

The choice of venue is interesting. There is growing interest in intellectual property protection in Russia, which is potentially a huge market.

The LES is a global organization that brings together lawyers and corporate executives working on technology transfer. The President of LES Russia, Gorodissky & Partners' Sergey Dorofeev, is a Russian patent and trademark attorney with a particular focus on technology transfer, i.e., licensing in order to share innovation without having to resort to litigation.

As I write this post, LES USA & Canada is holding its first-ever mid-year meeting in New York City. The LES announced, on short notice, a keynote address by Judge James F. Holderman, United States District Court Northern District of Illinois, on "F/RAND Licensing: A Federal Judge's Perspective". I blogged about Judge Holderman's WiFi SEP rate-setting decision in October.

I don't travel much, so I won't be at this week's New York meeting nor the Moscow conference in May, but since this blog is read by so many actual and potential members of the LES, I did want to draw attention to these events and the important work done by this organization.

By the way, several members of the leadership of the German chapter of the LES have been mentioned on this blog in recent years. While everyone prefers licensing over litigation (except for a few trolls whose business model is to bring nuisance lawsuits and settle for a "license fee" below the cost of a proper defense), the latter sometimes can't be avoided.

The President of LES Germany, Bardehle Pagenberg's Peter Hess, is a patent attorney I think particularly highly of. I mentioned his work on a few occasions in connection with Microsoft's German lawsuits against Motorola Mobility, but that's just a small part of the work Mr. Hess does. At an appellate hearing in Munich a news agency reporter whispered to me: "This attorney is damn good! He explains things in a way even a layperson can understand." And Microsoft indeed fended off Motorola's related appeal last year. The Bardehle firm has offices in Munich (headquarters), Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Paris, and Milan. It has won multiple awards over the years relating to patent prosecution as well as litigation.

The names of other key players at LES Germany have also been mentioned on this blog before. Reimann Osterrieth Koehler Haft's Klaus Haft, a physicist and attorney at law, has represented Nokia in various key cases (such as against Apple a few years ago) and recently obtained and enforced an injunction over a standard-essential patent against ZTE. Boehmert & Boehmert's Christian Appelt is a patent attorney who represented Microsoft against Motorola Mobility (offensively and defensively) in Mannheim, as did Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Professor Peter Chrocziel, a patent litigator and antitrust expert.

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