Many of you know that GenomeQuest provides patent experts a market-leading research platform on biological sequences. While we’re very much a standard in large pharma/AG globally and biotech in the US, we’ve recently begun a major initiative to engage and expand our biotech community in the EU.
In support of this initiative, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the International Patent Information (IPI) Conference in Barcelona this month.
My primary observations:
1. If the program management was any indication, the EU IP business is vibrant and in good hands. All the sessions and speakers were informative, thoughtful, and business-minded. And I found the leadership and energy of Ian Sinclair, a veteran of Pfizer, and Gerhard Fischer, Syngenta, to be especially compelling — wonderful to meet and exchange ideas with them.
2. The most informative (non-GenomeQuest of course) vendor presentation, in my opinion, came from Questel. Renauld Garat communicated and showed a dizzying array of important and impressive advancements to what is already an industry-leading set of patent information resources. Also great to meet his distinguished colleagues Martine Massiera, Anthony Gelot, and Roland Kissler.
3. The most informative user presentation, in my opinion, came from May Peng of Sanofi Aventis. Her dynamic performance offered practical advice of researching patent and prior art information coming from China, clearly an emerging world leader in patents (e.g., I understand that 1/3 of pharma patents now start in China).
4. Important to catch an IP5 update from Peter Kallas of BASF. IP5 is a consortia of the 5 largest patent offices: US, EU, China, Korea, and Japan. With 10 Foundation Projects, they seek to build a common platform and, specifically, have a 2020 goal to build a common classification system for US and EU.
5. Also great to hear an overview from Mike Fuller, from San Diego law firm Knobbe Martens, on the American Invents Act, which has significant implications to EU patent experts. I understand that it brings two significant changes to U.S. patenting in 2013: a. the first-to-invent requirement becomes first-to-file and b. prior art is broadened to include more materials and international disclosure.
6. Overall, in various discussions and in the career development workshop, I developed a far better appreciation for the painful time/document crunch experienced by patent experts. On the one hand, they have increasingly tighter schedules to meet, while, on the other, their global searches are producing longer candidate lists and, at the end of the day, taller and more daunting stacks of documentation to read.
(On the last point, GenomeQuest is hard at work on this precise problem. We want our interactive research environment to empower patent experts to quickly reduce search results to key targets, slash unnecessary research, and focus attention/reading on the materials that matter most. For us, the overall goal is to help patent experts meet or beat their schedules and deliver high-quality, accurate reports.)