IPR Summer School 2019
The IPR Summer School was held for the sixth time in Helsinki welcoming 30 students from different countries to Helsinki.
The IPR Summer School started on Sunday, the 2nd of June, with the opening ceremony at Hanken School of Economics, including lectures about artificial intelligence (AI) and IP following discussion with snacks and drinks. Leo Leppänen, doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, started with an introduction to artificial intelligence as a term with a look at history of AI, what can be done with AI now and some ideas about the future of AI. We saw and heard interesting examples of AI generated works, some of which are inseparable from works created by humans. Juha Vesala, postdoctoral researcher from the University of Helsinki, continued with AI by introducing challenges that AI presents to the IP system. As the current legal concepts have not been designed with AI in mind, fast technological development may cause problems.
On Monday the week started with a study visit to Teosto, Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society. We learned about Teosto, but also more generally about CMOs or the Collective Management Societys in Finland. The topic of collective societies raised questions and discussion.
After the study visit we had a seminar on UDRP or Mediation and Arbitration in co-operation with WIPO. Senior Legal Officer Leena Ballard from WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center introduced the students to the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options provided by WIPO and especially the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution (UDRP). The domain names are, unlike trademarks, global and unique registrations registered on a first-come first-served basis. The domain names can be valuable assets and WIPO is the leading global UDRP provider. The students got to rehearse the Three Elements of UDRP in practise with educational examples.
The day ended with a visit to A Grid – start-up and innovation center in Aalto University. A Grid houses over 100 start-ups and different kinds of accelerators, such as Aalto Startup Center and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Business Incubation Centre Finland, which helps start-ups find their potential in the space industry. One of our hosts, Advisor Jari Rantala from Aalto Startup Center, introduced us to how their Business Generator program helps start-ups to grow.
A closer look at specialised IP courts
On Tuesday the students participated in a trademark case clinic with Professor Katja Lindroos from the University of Eastern Finland. The case was from the General Court of European Union, Case T-795/17, Carlos Moreira v EUIPO. The case was about the EU trademark “NEYMAR” registered by Mr. Moreira. The students assessed the details of the case and how likelihood of confusion should be interpreted.
In the afternoon, we had a seminar on the Finnish and Swedish Market Courts. The Finnish Market Court was established in 2013 and the Swedish Patent and Market Court in 2016 to concentrate on IPR related cases to a unified judicial system with specialized judges. Judges Anne Ekblom-Wörlund and Reima Jussila from the Finnish Market Court and Chief Judge Anders Dereborg from the Swedish Patent and Market Court presented the similarities and discrepancies between the two courts.
The second part of the seminar consisted of the Finnish and Swedish attorneys’ experiences of the Market Courts. Attorney-at-law, Partner Markku Tuominen from Rochier Attorneys Ltd., Finland, highlighted his positive experiences with the Market Court. Attorney-at-law, LL.D. Dan Eklöf from Sandart & Partners, Sweden, discussed his experiences with the Swedish system. European Patent Attorney, Senior Partner Christoffer Sundman from Seppo Laine Oy, Finland, mentioned that the decisions are well-written and justified.
Here you can listen to a clip hosted by Henrik Thorson where Judge Anne Ekblom-Wörlund and Attorney-at-law and Partner Markku Tuominen are talking about the Finnish system with the special court for IP cases.
IP and environmental sustainability is a global discussion
Wednesday morning started with a seminar on Nordic IP. Docent Max Oker-Blom from Hanken introduced the students to the background and history of Nordic co-operation within intellectual property rights. Next, Professor Niklas Bruun from Hanken held a presentation focusing on patent law in the context of Nordic countries. The final presentation by Associate Professor Johan Axhamn from Lund University was about Nordic co-operation in copyright matters.
Here you can listen to a short discussion about the existence of Nordic IP, recorded after the seminar with LL.D. Johan Axhamn, Professor Niklas Bruun and Docent Max Oker-Blom, hosted by Henrik Thorson.
In the afternoon, the students took part in the seminar on IPR and environmental sustainability that was held in the Language Centre Festive Hall of University of Helsinki. The topic is very important and current, since one of our biggest societal challenges nowadays is how to move from current economic and innovation structure towards a structure that is more environmentally sustainable, and in this context, IPRs may play a very important role. The seminar was divided into two sessions which both ended with panel discussions on the topics.
Dr. Lucila de Almeida, Research Associate at the FSR Energy & Climate, Robert Schuman Centre, European University Institute, talked about environmental sustainability and private law. She pointed out that enhancing environmental sustainability is an obligation of states, not individuals or legal entities.
Associate Professor Inger Berg Ørstavik from the University of Oslo further discussed the role of IPRs in the renewable energy sector. She outlined how IPRs can create solutions to protect innovations, but on the other hand, IPRs can also be a barrier to transfer technology or barrier to essential incentive. She raised a concern that IPRs are not included into the climate change instrument at international level, and highlighted that IP and sustainability is a global discussion. She argued that the sustainability goals demand investment in the renewable energy and dissemination of technology and in that goal, intellectual property rights have to play an important role in order to promote investments in innovation and dissemination. Comments to the presentations were given by Partner Ella Mikkola from Bird & Bird Attorneys and Senior Legal Counsel Jalmari Sasi from Neste Corporation.
Rosa Maria Ballardini, Associate Professor from the University of Lapland, and Taina Pihlajarinne, Professor from the University of Helsinki, shared some of their thoughts related to sustainability and European IP Law, a topic which they are researching together. They discussed the role of IPRs in order for IP to foster “strong” sustainability – strong sustainability aims at integrating business into environmental systems by challenging existing structures. Ballardini and Pihlajarinne pointed out that there are already some provisions that take into account social values in society in an IPR context, such as rules concerning patentability and trademark registration like ordre public and morality. Ballardini and Pihlajarinne suggested that it might be possible in the future to include sustainability in the interpretation of those concepts, which would mean banning protection of inventions or signs that are considered as unsustainable.
Marianne Hollands, a lawyer and a European Trademark Attorney at Berggren, working also with the Finnish Anti-Counterfeiting Group, shared her information on counterfeits and their environmental effects. She discussed the impacts of destruction and disposal of counterfeits since the destruction methods can be harmful to the environment and human health.
From patent protection to plant variety – understanding the different types of IPRs
On Thursday, the patent case clinic was held by Director Pia Björk from the European Patent Office. The case clinic was about patenting programs for computers and artificial intelligence. The students discussed the patentable subject matters and the definition of a technical invention.
The day concluded with a seminar on Overlapping Intellectual Property Rights. Each intellectual property regime has its own purpose and the regimes should be independent systems. In reality, the rights are overlapping in many ways, which creates complexity to the IP system.
Ulla-Maija Mylly, Turku Institute of Advanced Studies (TIAS) collegium, Postdoctoral Researcher from the University of Turku, talked about overlapping rights of the software features. Professor Nari Lee from Hanken had a specific topic of Patent and Trade Secret Overlaps in Personalised Medicine. Dhanay Cadillo Chandler, Postdoctoral Researcher from University of Turku, talked about the pharmaceutical patents.
The intensive and interesting week of summer school ended on Friday, the 7th of June, with a case clinic on plant variety and a lecture on geographical indications held by Professor Pilar Montero and Professor Maria Pilar Iñiguez Ortega from the University of Alicante. After six days of listening to inspiring experts, it was clear that everybody had not only learned much about IPR, but also made some new connections and friends. We are looking forward to the next IPR Summer School!
About the writers
The authors worked at IPR University Center in the summer of 2019.