Global economic integration is a commonplace occurrence for many years, but it progressively develops into new concepts. For intellectual property (IP), communication and exchange between countries is becoming more frequent, and global IP integration is becoming overwhelming. In this process, international organizations play a crucial role in navigation and integration. They can assist accelerating IP exchange and ensure a healthy development. When speaking of such international organizations, the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) is always on the top of the list.
AIPPI was founded in 1897 and is dedicated to the development, improvement, and legal protection of IP. AIPPI is a non-affiliated, nonprofit organization headquartered in Switzerland, maintaining approximately 9,000 members from over 100 countries and regions. The members of AIPPI include lawyers, attorneys and agents working across all fields of IP, in corporate and private practice throughout the world, as well as academics, judges, government officials and other persons interested in IP. AIPPI is organized into 66 national and regional groups.
AIPPI has a long history, but its presence is still ambiguous to Chinese IP practitioners, even in recent years. With China’s increasingly active involvement in international IP, AIPPI has gradually become well-known in China. At the AIPPI 2012 World Congress, AIPPI China won the bid for AIPPI 2020 World Congress, which means the meeting will be held in Hangzhou City in 2020. At the AIPPI 2014 World Congress, Ma Hao was elected as the Vice President of the Association, which made him the first Chinese member to serve in the Bureau as a leader ever since AIPPI was established. The forthcoming AIPPI 2015 Congress will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 10 to 14 October, 2015. Right before the Congress, China IP got the opportunity to interview Ma Hao, the Vice President of AIPPI, hoping to have a better understanding of this historical organization, which is influential around the world and becoming increasingly well-known in China.
Focusing on Practice and Building Communication Channel through Professionalism
From Mr. Ma’s perspective, there are a number of channels for communication between countries, such as trade, diplomacy, culture, technology, military etc., and of course IP is one of them. Functioning as such a kind of IP channel around the world, AIPPI is committed to improve and promote the protection of IP at both national and international level, in a very professional approach.
AIPPI has distinguished itself from other international organizations on account of its long history, internationalization, academic strengths, and broad platform. Among these features, the academic strength is incomparable. According to Mr. Ma, AIPPI is the first international IP organization in the world, and its annual Congress provides great networking opportunities. More importantly, it also provides a study and research platform. Every year, AIPPI solicits opinions from its member countries and regions and chooses four Working Questions for in-depth study. These Working Questions are quite pragmatic. Taking the forthcoming 2015 Congress as an example, the Working Questions cover four IP areas including patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret. They are: 1. Inventorship of multinational inventions; 2. Taking unfair advantage of trademarks: parasitism and free riding; 3. Exceptions and limitations to copyright protection for libraries, archives and educational and research institutions; 4. Trade secrets: overlap with restraint of trade, aspects of enforcement. Once the Working Questions are decided, research guidance for each question will be provided. Under such guidance, each member country and region will conduct research based on their status and will finally submit a report to the AIPPI. After the discussion and voting of each member country and region’s report, a Resolution is formed and distributed to IP administrations and organizations, both nationally and internationally. Due to the high reference value and coordination role the Resolution plays, some national IP administration offices and other international organizations attach great importance to it.
Activities Lead to Vitality
AIPPI and its national branch associations hold a variety of activities each year. The annual Congress is the most highlighted event. Apart from the in-depth discussions on Working Questions, there are also dozens of Panel Sessions on specific subjects in the Congress. As a bridge for international IP, the Congress also hosts networking events. The receptions for first-time attendees and women have already become the firm tradition. They offer networking opportunities by providing a forum to reconnect with existing colleagues and meet new ones, and to exchange information about business opportunities and working life as professional women practicing in IP.
Besides the highlighted annual Congress, there will be regional activities. For example, the AIPPI China- Japan-Korea Trilateral Meeting is held in turn by 3 countries every year to promote IP communication. And AIPPI China also holds AIPPI China Youth Seminar to cultivate and encourage Chinese youth to better express their opinions on the international stage. They need to deliver speeches on specific IP issues in English at the Seminar. Judges from the Supreme People’s Court of China and examiners from the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce have been actively involved in the 2015 Seminar.
Founded in 1982, AIPPI China was the first IP organization in China, composing of around 350 personal and group members from IP administrations, IP agencies, universities, research units, and enterprises. The former three presidents of AIPPI China are Ren Jianxin, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); Song Jian, former state councilor, vice chairman of National Committee of the CPPCC; and Wang Jingchuan, former Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The current president is Tian Lipu, who is also the former Commissioner of SIPO.
Due to the rapid development of its economy, China is becoming more influential on the global IP stage. Winning the bid for hosting the AIPPI 2020 World Congress is the best proof of this. Thousands of IP practitioners around the world will gather in Hangzhou City to experience the charm of traditional Chinese culture. We believe that the historic and robust AIPPI will surely generate spark in this age-old city, and will leave a deep impression on the attendees.
Outstanding Culture Lead to Persistent Development
Speaking of AIPPI’s culture, Mr. Ma told China IP that most of the people that work in AIPPI are volunteers. They are passionate about the voluntary work since they highly appreciate the value of AIPPI and feel very proud to be involved. This kind of satisfaction cannot be acquired from other jobs. At present, AIPPI is working on the amendment of statutes and regulations, making modifications on the organization structure, research approach and development directions to adapt to the quickly developing world. Mr. Ma hopes that more people will know and learn from the AIPPI research achievements, know the worthy work they’ve done, and finally devote themselves to AIPPI and the IP development as well. We believe that with possessing such a kind of culture, AIPPI will develop persistently and fulfill more responsibility in the future.