December 2019

President’s Message
Attending Productive Meetings With WIPO And LES (U.S.A. and Canada)

Fiona NicolsonBy Fiona Nicolson, President, LES International

I am writing this column as I travel back to London after a very productive meeting with Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the LES (U.S.A. and Canada) Annual Meeting. WIPO and LESI signed a MoU a few years ago and it is still in place. LESI's Past President, Arnaud Michel, who kindly helped to arrange the meeting, also attended.

It was interesting to hear of WIPO's current initiatives, such as the release of a publication on Artificial intelligence (AI)—a topic which affects all of us whether professionally or privately— Also, to hear about two other interesting initiatives including 'WIPO Green,' an environmental initiative—which is going from strength to strength—and 'Re-Search,' a consortium including WIPO, other NGOs and the pharma sector which is helping to drive research into new drugs including neglected tropical diseases.

At the meeting, we discussed ways we could contribute to these initiatives and other WIPO projects.

I also provided an update on what's going on at LESI. It struck me that there is an amazing amount of positive activity and that is a result of all the passion and commitment of all of you, our individual LES members—and, particularly those who are involved in LESI leading or serving on Committees, on the Board or leading LES Societies around the world.

So, I wanted to say "thank you" for your hard work and dedication, which is so much appreciated as we strive to move this amazing organisation forward.

There are still five months left until our LESI Annual Meeting in Berlin and hopefully we can attain our goals for this year and be able to look back with a real sense of achievement. Together with the Long Range Planning Committee, the Board organised a strategy discussion in Phoenix during the U.S.A. and Canada meeting with a view to agreeing on action points and moving forward as soon as possible.

Since I last wrote this column, some other updates. I have had the privilege of visiting the following:

  • LES South Africa for their Annual Meeting. LES SA provides amazing educational courses and was a real pioneer in this area and has also just launched its YMC group;
  • Madrid where the LES European Meeting was a huge success and very well organised with great content on very topical issues including AI;
  • The YMC European Regional Meeting in London. Like Montréal in July was a sell-out and the sun shone for the whole meeting, which was quite extraordinary!; and
  • The LES (U.S.A. and Canada) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, which had over 500 attendees and a great vibe with some very thought provoking speakers including Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice who spoke on antitrust issues and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet.

Since September I have also had the privilege of being the guest at other sister IP NGO meetings. These have included:

  • The excellent AIPPI Annual Meeting in London, which attracted a large crowd of 2,600 people from all over the world; and
  • The AIPLA Annual Meeting in Washington during which we had a good meeting with the AIPLA Board to discuss ways we can work together.

In fact, LESI is all about collaboration at the moment and we have spoken with a number of other IP organisations who are keen to work with us—more news soon.

Also, the most exciting news of the last few months is that we have recruited Dana Robert Colarulli as our new LESI Executive Director. Dana is based in Washington and was until recently the Director of Governmental Affairs at the USPTO. He was there for nearly ten years after more than seven years at the IPO. We are delighted that Dana is working with us in this new role and if you haven't met him already, I hope you will meet him soon. We also take this opportunity to thank Chris Katopis for his long years of service with us and for introducing us to Dana. Chris is now at the USPTO.

Two more things:

Lastly, all the best to you all for the holiday season!

Best Wishes,

AIPLA and LESI leaders met in Washington D.C.
Photo by EPNAC

AIPLA and LESI leaders met in Washington D.C., from left: John Paul (LESI Treasurer), Vince Garlock (AIPLA Deputy Executive Director), Myra H. McCormack (AIPLA Past President), Lisa Jorgensen (AIPLA Executive Director), Joseph R. Re (AIPLA President Elect), Fiona Nicolson (LESI President), Meghan Donahoe (AIPLA Deputy Executive Director), Sheldon H. Klein (AIPLA Immediate Past President), Patrick Coyne (AIPLA First Vice President), Chen Wang (AIPLA Deputy Executive Director), Barbara A. Fiacco (AIPLA President), and Dana Robert Colarulli (LESI Executive Director).