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Open Community Calendar
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Message from the President Keith Toms
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Message from the Editor
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Non-Traditional Pharmaceutical Trade Marks – Position Marks
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China IP Update: First Successful Patent Invalidation in China Based on “No Foreign Filing License”
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Inhouse Committee Meetings Summary
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Save the Date - Invented Here!
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Jonathan Barnett gives talk on “How Patents Drive Innovation and Growth: Insights from the Biotech and Semiconductor Industries”
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UPCA Overview
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List of Officers and Board of Governors and Committees
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Job Listings
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Volume 53, Issue 3
Dear Members of the BPLA,
I’m excited to see you all in person for the return of the BPLA’s Annual Celebration in Honor of the Judiciary. I hope you will all join me on September 13, 2022, from 6:00-8:00 pm, in honoring Judge Allison Burroughs with the BPLA’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that this will be the Association’s first in person signature event since the 2019 Annual Meeting. On the other hand, after two and half years of COVID lockdowns and restrictions, it’s also hard to believe that there is a glimpse of normality poking through the clouds.
While the BPLA has done a good job with virtual events, the pandemic has shown us that there is simply no substitute for catching up with old friends face to face. In addition to expressing our appreciation for Judge Burroughs’ service, this event will also be a reunion of the Boston Intellectual Property community, allowing us all to renew the bonds of friendship and collegiality that are at the heart of the BPLA.
We have changed the format for this year’s event to meet the moment. First, we will be outdoors for the full event, both to ease lingering COVID risks and concerns and because the Moakley Courthouse lawn, with its stunning view of the harbor, is one of the best spots in all of Boston. We are also forgoing the classic “sit-down” dinner and keynote speaker in favor of drinks, hors d’ouvres, and more time to catch up and reconnect.
Sponsorships are still available, so if you or your organization want to support the BPLA and this wonderful event, please let us know. The details can be found here.
Turning to the ongoing Naming Initiative, as the Editor’s Letter summarizes, the survey from our last newsletter showed strong support for changing the name of the Association to reflect our mission of promoting all forms of intellectual property. This is in line with the conversations I’ve had as well, with many members expressing their support for updating the name of the Association.
In parallel, the Open Naming Committee (“ONC”) has been hard at work in evaluating what name will best serve our organization if we make a change. After several meetings and extensive diligence and discussion, the ONC has recommend that the Board move forward with the name BOSTON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW ASSOCIATION and the acronym BIPLA.
I am also pleased to report that the Board has unanimously adopted the ONC’s recommendation and intends to move forward with presenting the change of name to the membership for a vote.
While the BIPLA name may seem the obvious choice to many, I think it is important to emphasize that the ONC’s recommendation was formed after rigorous diligence on a slate of nine name candidates. As someone who advises clients on brand transitions, I have a keen understanding that process is important to a successful naming project. Process helps put our preconceptions to the test, thereby maximizing the chance of making the right choice.
Taking that experience to heart, the ONC adopted a rigorous process for forming its recommendation. Its first task was to develop a list of the criteria needed in a name and the qualities our name should possess. With the criteria defined, the ONC brainstormed a slate of candidate names for further searching and diligence. From there, it narrowed the list to the top two candidates for full trademark availability searching before making its final selection.
Throughout this process, it became clear that BIPLA was the standout choice for several reasons. Most important, the similarity with the current BPLA name is a critical advantage, as that will help ensure continuity and preserve our Association’s goodwill through a transition. We are an organization with a proud history, so there is great value in a name that seems like an evolution of our brand identity rather than a “back to square one” rebrand.
The committee also seriously evaluated whether “Boston” was the right geographic term, given that our mandate extends to the states and territories of the First Circuit. The geographic alternatives, however, had their own baggage. For example, using “First Circuit” was ruled out as it incorrectly suggests that we are an appellate bar association (and for an appeals court that does not hear patent appeals). “New England,” in contrast, was both under and over inclusive of the First Circuit states, as it leaves out Puerto Rico and encompasses the Second Circuit states of Vermont and Connecticut; it was also similar to the name of the New England Law Intellectual Property Law Association.
In the end, none of the alternative geographic terms were a good fit, and none justified the continuity challenge that would be created if we move away from the use of “Boston” in our name. There is also value and cachet in our near 100-year association with Boston, which is a city globally known for innovation, its contributions to science and the useful arts, and to legal scholarship and policy.
The BIPLA mark also had the added benefit of being one of the clearest options from a diligence perspective, with few organizations ever using that acronym, and no ongoing uses as far as we could tell. The domain name also became available this month, so we grabbed it for the organization for the basic registration fee. (Kudos to Secretary Derek Roller, who snapped it up for us.)
Moving forward, it is my plan to propose a suitable Amendment to the Bylaws to change the name of the organization at the Annual Meeting, which will take place this year on December 7, 2022. We will have more detail on both the Annual Meeting and process leading up to the vote on the amendment in the coming weeks.
Best regards,
Keith Toms BPLA President
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