The world of intellectual property is constantly evolving. New designs, creations, inventions, literary and artistic works, names and images all need the correct protection to allow creators, owners and stakeholders to benefit from their product. With more and more IP to be protected and the landscape ever-changing, so is interpretation of the law around it. In an area that moves so quickly and where the application of the law is so complex, IP lawyers play a crucial role in good rights management. The nature of IP and what is worth protecting is evolving and their specialist advice is invaluable.

For their advice to be effective, however, practitioners must be constantly on the ball and looking out for new developments and trends. Simply advising on the basics is not enough to put your client in the best possible position, nor is any brand exempt from pitfalls and contestations. And when it comes to taking formal action against infringement, it can be a tricky road to navigate – one that nobody wants to go down if they don’t have to. IP practitioners need to be up to speed on developments and the latest judgments and then interpret them as to how they may influence their client’s IP management. Of course, being up to speed isn’t a fail-safe way of avoiding troubled waters, but it certainly puts you in good stead. So, what is there to look out for?

Artificial Intelligence – What Do IP Lawyers Need to Know?

There’s one fascinating topic that’s attracting a lot of attention lately in the world of IP: AI. Artificial Intelligence – everyone seems to be talking about it but what exactly is it? What does it mean? And perhaps more aptly, what do IP lawyers need to know about it? There’s a lot for IP practitioners to get to grips with: there are new questions arising around liability, infringement and licensing of AI systems, not to mention the questions around who owns what.

But is this just a passing phase you might be asking? It’s safe to say it’s not. The UK government has recently announced its ‘Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal’, which announces an investment of over £1 billion; an affirmation that it’s here to stay. With this will come more cases, more questions to be solved and more complexity around the area – there’s even talk of it reducing litigation. In short, it will pave the way to a distinct need for advice from specialist IP practitioners. It’s also highly indicative of the UK’s direction after Brexit, meaning IP practitioners should be paying close attention.

Protecting IP from Cyber Threats

Another issue that’s gaining traction in IP, and is particularly ripe at the moment with the latest news breaking about Dixons Carphone, is cybercrime. It may (or may not) come as a surprise that cybercrime is now the most prevalent crime in the UK. Lawyers are certainly feeling the heat. Did you know that cyber criminals stole more than £11m of lawyers’ clients’ money last year? And that 62% of law firms reported a cyber-attack in 2015?

From an IP perspective, it isn’t merely the money… it is the loss of valuable information that is so highly confidential and key to your client’s assets. A cyber-attack could lead to a loss of clients’ trust and seriously damage your reputation if not managed correctly. For an IP practitioner dealing with highly sensitive invaluable information that is key for the commercial and financial growth of their client, the threat it poses to IP is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, protecting a client’s assets should be at the heart of their work. And with two-thirds of cybersecurity breaches being a result of individual errors… IP lawyers should not be downplaying responsibility.

The relationship between IP practitioners and cybercrime is twofold, though: on one hand, there is protecting their firm and client’s assets from a cyber-attack, but on the other hand, there’s advising their clients on an attack. In today’s technological world where cybercrime is on the rise, it’s going to prove to be a significant asset if they are also in a position to advise their client on the impact of an attack.

Protection, Exploitation and Enforceability

There’s also the obvious need to keep up to speed on the latest developments across trade marks, design rights and copyrights around protection, exploitation and enforceability. Choosing a name to trade mark, knowing what can currently be registered and what can’t, and knowing how the different rights overlap can be confusing. Nando’s, Knead, ‘Prick’ tattoo parlour and Crocs to name a few examples from this year, all highlight the need to have the correct trade mark registration.

In designs rights news, KitKat, Louboutin and Red Bull have also gone through difficulty this year protecting their IP. There’s a lot to be learned from these cases, and with several recent court decisions and jurisdiction issues too, it’s key for IP practitioners to understand their impact on practice. Seeking protection for IP and developing a brand can be a complex process that produces its challenges, but acting for a client when you’re in the know will be a huge strength that will set you apart.

Intellectual Property Law Conference 2018

If you’d like to learn more about how to turn current challenges in IP law into strengths – and the challenges on the horizon, why not attend our Intellectual Property Law Conference 2018? It will provide an invaluable opportunity to get up to speed on the most recent developments and latest thinking. Our expert speakers include some of the leading lights in IP, and will take you through the significant latest developments you must be aware of – and what they mean for your practice.

From interesting cases in ‘exotic trade marks’, to hearing the latest on the UPC now the UK has ratified, to building a plan to protect your IP from cyber threats, to understanding the scope of protection and enforcement, this conference has your burning questions covered.

Whether you’re a practitioner working in-house within a small, medium or large organisation, in private practice advising on these issues, or simply wanting to do more with your IP but are not quite sure where to start, attending the conference will give you invaluable insight, inspiration and a chance to network with fellow IP practitioners.

Highlights include:

  • Benefit from guidance on leveraging your organisation’s IP
  • Discuss what recent judgments mean for your practice
  • Understand the impact of Brexit on EU and UK IP law
  • Benefit from Q&A time with our experts
  • Learn, share knowledge and network with fellow IP practitioners

The conference takes place in central London on 28 June 2018. To find out more and see the full agenda, visit our website: