Julie Barrett-Major speaks at Queen Mary University

Reporting on the Queen Mary University’s Life Sciences, Cosmetics and Intellectual Property seminars for CNIPA

Consulting Patent Attorney Julie Barrett-Major recently gave two 3-hour seminars at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) earlier this month on Life Sciences, Cosmetics and Intellectual Property. The two seminars formed part of the QMUL’s programme of education and training for senior officials from China’s state IP organisation, CNIPA.

The QMUL/CNIPA course lasts for 16 weeks, with seminars on the statute and case law in UK and Europe relating to patents, trade marks, designs, copyright and trade secrets, plus specialist topics including the Unified Patents Court, practice in the US and Germany, commercialisation, licensing and international agreements.  Due to her specialist technical and commercial background, especially in cosmetics & personal care but also in pharmaceuticals & biotechnology, Julie chose to focus her presentations on these industry sectors and the commercial (including regulatory) aspects of protecting, extending and enforcing all types of IP protection.

It became clear during the discussions how much, particularly in pharmaceuticals, each government’s safety and efficacy regulations impact on the industry and render protection of their market not only important but essential for bearing the high costs and long time-lines involved. Apart from some general discussions on IP strategy, new areas for consideration by the participants included non-IPR methods of protection, such as regulatory data protection and market exclusivity, including a comparison between the EEA, US and China.  The overlap between generic names used for either cosmetic ingredients or medicinal compounds and the trade mark/brand name was another previously uncharted territory. The impact of biotech, especially genetics, and of artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning on the future of each industry was also discussed, and it was concluded that the need for patent attorneys and examiners to be able to ‘speak’ or at least understand different technical ‘languages’  will be extremely important.

Both seminars included practical examples/case studies, as well as statistics and trends concerning industry developments and patent filings across the world.  During these exercises, Julie noted that, whereas global patent filings in the pharma field have held fairly steady (with slight declines) over the last 10 years, those for cosmetics are generally increasing.  Chinese applicants are bucking the trend by substantially increasing patent filings in the pharma field, whilst lagging behind the likes of France, UK, US and Japan in cosmetics.

The taught part of the QMUL/CNIPA course finishes in week 12, with each participant devoting the remaining three weeks to finalising an essay on a relevant topic of their own choice and receiving feedback from course director, Professor Duncan Matthews.  Essay topics chosen this time ranged from a comparison of the concepts of ‘common general knowledge’ or ‘utility models’ in different countries, through licences of right, comparative patent examination, budgets and classification, IPR relief and remedies, claim construction, supporting data considerations and finally patentability of CII or AI-related inventions.

Julie wishes all participants an enjoyable finish to the course, success in their essay and many opportunities to explore the delights that London has to offer!

If you’d like to discuss any of the topics mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

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