Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Next week's European Commission webinar on SEP enforcement: speakers include USPTO official (and yours truly, too)

On Wednesday (May 19, 2021), the fifth webinar of the European Commission's popular series on standard-essential patent (SEP) topics will be held. Its title is "Enforcement of Standard-Essential Patents - current bottlenecks and possible solutions." In a previous post I mentioned I was going to be among the speakers.

Meanwhile, the EC's Directorate-General for the Internal Market (DG GROW) has published the agenda. After Judge Edgar Brinkman's (The Hague) welcome speech, Mary Critharis, the Chief Policy Offier and Director for International Affairs of the United States Patent & Trademark Office originally planned to deliver a keynote address. [Update] A few hours after this post originally went live, the Commission updated the agenda, and it now lists Patent Attorney Christian Hannon in Mrs. Critharis's place. He works for her. [/Update] I'm sure many of you will be as interested as I am in listening to Mr. Hannon's speech. After a recent decision by the DOJ to downgrade an implementer-hostile policy statement by Trump's antitrust chief, many want to find out about the Biden Administration's stance on SEP enforcement. IP policy in general, and SEP policy in particular, is shaped by multiple U.S. government agencies, among them the USPTO, of course.

An interesting fact about Mrs. Critharis's biography is that she "first joined the USPTO as a patent examiner in 1992" (and worked in that position for about eight years). Many (if not most) of the people who talk about SEP policy know very little about the technical side. It's obviously not a requirement to have read and understood at least one SEP before talking about valuation, injunctive relief etc., but a former patent examiner like Mrs. Critharis obviously knows what's actually found in those patent documents. [Update] And so does Mr. Hannon, who will appear on the USPTO's behalf. [/Update]

The first panel will focus on hold-up and hold-out. Ericsson's director of IPR policy Patrick Hofkens and Kather Augenstein (the firm that just represented Ericsson against Samsung in Germany) managing partner Miriam Kiefer will lkely disagree to at least some extent with the IP chiefs of Cisco (Dan Lang) and Continental (Roman Bonn). I do not know what positions on SEP licensing negotiations CMS attorney Aleksandra Kuznicka-Cholewa is likely to take.

Thereafter, at 4:15 PM Brussels time (10:15 AM EDT, 7:15 AM PDT), the second panel discussion will address "anti-(anti)suit injunctions."

I'm proud to be on this panel with Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann (Presiding Judge of the Seventh Civil Chamber of the Munich I Regional Court), Arnold & Ruess's Cordula Schumacher (Nokia's lead counsel against Daimler; we disagree on certain SEP-related questions, but I think she's great at what she does), and King & Wood Malleson partner Xu Jing from Beijing.

I'll put antisuit injunctions into the wider context of extraterritoriality issues in SEP enforcement and will propose a solution that any jurisdiction could implement unilaterally--and which would be perfectly symmetrical, meaning that it protects SEP holders and implementers alike against coercive action in foreign jurisdictions. As I'll take a rather broad perspective, I'll get to make the first presentation on that panel.

The third will discuss international arbitration and mediation. Lord Justice Arnold (England & Wales Court of Appeal) and Judge Sam Granata of the Court of Appeal in Antwerp (Belgium) will be joined by Cleary Gottlieb's Maurits Dolmans (who also spoke at my 2019 Brussels conference), WIPO deputy director Ignacio de Castro, and David Perkins, an independent arbitrator and mediator.

A high-ranking DG GROW official, Kamil Kiljanski (Acting Director GROW C), will bookend the webinar with his closing remarks at 5:50 PM Brussels time (11:50 AM EDT, 8:50 AM PDT).

You can register here.

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