Panelists Giuseppe Mazziotti, Ros Lynch, and Allie Renison discussed post-Brexit options, priorities, and strategies for global businesses during the European IP Summit at Boston College Law School. (Lee Pellegrini)

Boston College Law School, in partnership with Boston-based law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, coordinated a two-day conference focused on the complex global intellectual property issues facing U.S. businesses operating in Europe and the UK.

The European IP Summit, hosted by the school on October 4-5, drew more than 100 attendees, including professors, think-tank scholars and lawyers, business executives, and government representatives, to each day’s panels. Speakers on the seven panels included the attaché to the U.S. from the European Patent Office, a former federal appellate judge, a former International trade commissioner, and the director of IP enforcement and Her Majesty’s Consul General to New England, and local IP authorities.

The summit was the first event of the academic year for the school’s Program on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, launched last year and designed to build bridges between BC Law and the innovation and entrepreneurship communities in Boston and beyond.

“The IP Summit brought together a remarkable combination of government officials, members of industry, attorneys and academics,” said Edward J. Kelly JD’93, a partner in the IP practice at Ropes & Gray.

“It also provided a relaxed but serious-minded environment that allowed the audience to explore facts, opinions and predictions about Europe’s evolving legal and political IP landscape. The presenters were candid, direct and knowledgeable. In the end, the summit showed that Europe sees the import of IP to its economic success and Europe may be leading on important issues like privacy, patent law and data rights.”

The conference panels kicked off with a particularly thorny topic: the UK’s exit from the European Union, and its impact on IP rights across all sectors and industries.

“The discussion showed the extreme uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its consequences, given the unsettled political landscape in Britain, and the changing EU leadership,” said BC Law Professor David S. Olson, the PIE faculty director. “While Britain remains open for business, successfully navigating the shifting relationships between Briain, the EU, and the world is a top challenge for global businesses.”

The content-rich panels addressed topics such as managing risk in cross-border technology and life science transactions; best practices for General Data Protection Regulation compliance and responses to cyberattacks; data protection; the interaction between competition law and European IP rights; and issues and challenges related to the proposed 25-country Unified Patent Court.

“I was very pleased that we hosted a conference on such important issues in IP and business in the context of the relationship between the U.S. and Europe,” said BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau. “We live in a quickly evolving period in terms of innovation, how businesses start and grow, how capital flows, how the benefits of business and innovation are distributed, and how multinational firms react to nation-state changes to regulations and taxes. The extraordinary discussion brought insights to these important topics.”

—Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | October 2018