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Sarah Cox’s experience of the IPTA Conference

“As a newly Registered Attorney, May 2014 was my first opportunity to attend the IPTA (The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia) Annual Conference.  After making the long and somewhat time-consuming journey from Perth to Cairns, I was rewarded with two days of business sessions which were interesting, informative and really worthwhile.

The attendees heard from a variety of industry professionals, ranging from Australian Barristers to overseas Attorneys and IP Australia employees to members of the Professional Standards Board.  The topics covered included multi-jurisdictional patent litigation, code of conduct compliance, New Zealand practice, and Designs and Patent protection and challenges in Asia.
One of the standout presentations, in my opinion, was one entitled Trade Mark Remedies.  As expected, it was on the remedies available to a Trade Mark owner in the case of infringement of their Registered Trade Mark.  The presenter summarised findings in numerous Trade Mark infringement cases to inform us on how the courts award injunctions, damages, an account of profits etc. as well as giving examples of where infringement was either present or absent, the results of which were often surprising.  Placing parallel stripes on a sneaker does not automatically constitute infringement of Adidas’ Registered Trade Mark!

Another topic, presented by a Barrister who specialises in IP, consisted of a roundup of recent case law.  A handful of interesting cases were discussed but the most memorable involved the applicant of a self-filed patent application.  The applicant was not able to gain acceptance of his application so took the matter to court but was unsuccessful. 

My personal take-home message from that matter was that while some applicants may think the cost of using a Patent Attorney is prohibitive, their knowledge and experience, and especially their drafting ability, is well worth the cost.  If you want your patent to be granted, you have a far better chance for success when you engage a Patent Attorney.

The conference social events were also a great opportunity to meet other Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, especially those from the east and overseas.  There is a lot of experience and knowledge available for sharing in the profession and events like these make that easily available.”