The annual AIPPI World Congress is the one moment in the year when members from all around the world come together to discuss hot topics in Intellectual Property.
It comprises four main components:
- the substantive legal work or harmonization programme
- the professional development component
- the management of the association
- networking opportunities
The congress schedule follows the same general structure from year to year.
The Reporter General team is responsible for handling the Study Question process. In 2020, the four questions under study were:
The work done at the congress relies on a considerable effort put in by dedicated members in each of the national groups to describe their country’s position on the topic under review and propose harmonization avenues. The draft harmonization resolutions are analyzed, discussed and formulated live by the representatives. The Reporter General ensures that harmonization resolutions are voted upon by the ExCo at the conclusion of the congress. You can read more about the Resolution process here.
Plenary Sessions where the resolutions are discussed and further amended if necessary. There is one plenary for each question and the outcome of these sessions are Approval or Dismissal of a Resolution for harmonization on each topic under study. Everyone is invited to attend the plenary sessions and may comment while the official delegates of each group may vote on the resolutions.
The Executive Committee, during the 2nd ExCo session, will adopt the resolutions.
An important component of the congress is the professional development opportunities. The Standing Committees and the programme committee work hard each year with the Reporter General team to identify timely topics of interest and select speakers which have an in-depth knowledge of the issues at play. The panel sessions are usually well attended and lively affairs.
An exciting new feature at the 2020 Online Congress was the Virtual Roundtable format. These small-format sessions were used to see colleagues and discuss current topics in an informal format. Each Virtual Roundtable has a host and a pre-designated discussion topic. The participants were limited to 15 people (plus the host) per Roundtable, to ensure an interactive discussion could take place. The host introduced the topic and moderated the discussion, but there were no formal presentations.
A few meetings serve to carry out the business of the association.
Sessions 1 and 2 of the Executive Committee meetings deal with Elections, Awards, Budget, Reports from the different bodies of the association, Discussions with the Groups and, as per the harmonization programme, Adoption of Resolutions. Every attendee is encouraged to attend as an observer. Please note, however, that only delegates nominated by their groups may vote.
A General Assembly is held when amendments to the Statutes and Regulations of AIPPI are needed.
Apart from the normal informal networking opportunities, special-interest meetings, such as the Women in AIPPI get-together and the Young AIPPI member Forum are also great occasions to meet new acquaintances.
After the Congress
When the Congress is over and everyone has safely travelled home, back to their practice, the national and regional groups continue the work of AIPPI locally. The resolutions voted upon by the Executive Committee are communicated to law-making bodies and IP-related activities are organised locally. National and regional groups also propose timely issues for the next Study questions, topics of the professional development programme and nominations for the committees. The guidelines for the next congress’ study questions go out before Christmas and members kick off the year working on the preparation of the national response to the questionnaires.