On Tuesday 13 September we were proud to host our inaugural ‘Unscripted’ roundtable event at our new offices. The afternoon began with a discussion of the impact of Brexit on the IP profession, for which we were delighted to have some very well-known figures join us on the panel:
from left to right:
- Peter Finnie – Managing Partner (GJE)
- Patricia Hoyle – Head of IP (Evolva)
- Chris Adamson – Managing Partner (Adamson & Partners)
- David Barron – Head of Technology Patent Litigation (Gowling WLG)
- Susan Fletcher-Watts – Managing Director (Arrow IP)
Nearly 50 senior IP professionals joined us for the event and contributed enthusiastically to the discussion. The panel began by giving their perspective on the impact of Brexit on the IP profession (both the negative and the positive). Risks around UK R&D funding through fears of movement restrictions was one of the first issues highlighted and the discussion then moved on to the likelihood of increased consolidation in the UK private practice market and the possibility of new partnerships between EU and UK firms.
The panel recognised that US and Asian clients would benefit from clearer messaging from the UK profession on the impact of Brexit. Individuals on the panel and from the audience were able to give several examples of misunderstandings from corporate clients on how Brexit would affect UK firms’ capabilities to service their needs. The panel also recommended lobbying the UK government to ensure that IP was not too far down the pecking order of professions which the UK government has focused on protecting. This was endorsed by the audience and it was suggested that lobbying efforts should align with the government’s long-standing policy objective of driving economic growth through investment in science and innovation.
This led to a discussion on the multitude of IP professional bodies and the need for the two arms of the profession (attorneys and solicitors) to join forces and speak with one voice. The strength and quality of the UK profession was seen as something to be proud of and this reputation was confirmed by non-UK audience members.
The panel then moved on to discussing the impact Brexit would have on the UPC. Opinions differed amongst the panel and the audience as to the likelihood that the UPC would go ahead without the UK’s participation. But all agreed that it would be negative for the UK profession if it did. There was healthy debate on the timing and implications of UK (and German) ratification and some further discussion on whether the majority of big corporates privately wish the UPC to go ahead.
We concluded by recognising the value of the profession coming together to discuss this issue. Our guests felt that Adamson & Partners was well-placed to facilitate such discussions, and we will consequently be hosting a breakfast meeting later this year for all those that would like to continue their involvement. After the panel discussion we were pleased to entertain our guests on our roof terrace, and couldn’t have hoped for a more beautiful evening to do so. Thank you to the panel for such an interesting discussion and thank you for the contributions of everyone else who attended. It was a great evening and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.