AIPPI’s objective is to improve and promote the protection of intellectual property on both international and national bases. It pursues this objective by working for the development, expansion and improvement of international and regional treaties and agreements and national laws relating to intellectual property.
It operates by conducting studies of existing national laws and proposes measures to achieve harmonisation of these laws on an international basis. Where appropriate, AIPPI intervenes with submissions before major courts and legislative bodies to advocate for strengthened IP protection.
This video by Isabelle Chabot is a great introduction to the work conducted by AIPPI.
Members of AIPPI are individuals interested in intellectual property protection on a national or international level.
They include lawyers, patent attorneys, patent agents and trademark agents, as well as judges, scientists and engineers. They also include corporations.
AIPPI is organised into 66 National and 2 Regional Groups and membership is obtained by joining one of these Groups. In countries where no Group exists, membership is obtained as an Independent Member in the international organization.
The primary international bodies of AIPPI are:
- the General Assembly, in which all members have a right to participate, and which is responsible for adopting and modifying the Statutes;
- the Executive Committee, made up of Delegates of all of the Groups – around 300 in number; this is the principal decision-making body of AIPPI;
- the Council of Presidents, made up of the Presidents of the Groups plus a representative of the Independent Members;
- and the Bureau which directs the activities of AIPPI; it is formed of sixteen members including the President of AIPPI (who chairs the Bureau) and two Vice Presidents; the Secretary General and two Deputies who, with two Assistants, are responsible for administration and representation; the Reporter General and two Deputies who, with four Assistants, organize the substantive work of the Association; a Treasurer General who is in charge of financial resources.
The General Secretariat and its staff have an office in Zurich, Switzerland.
AIPPI has the following Statutory Committees: the Programme Committee which recommends to the Executive Committee the subjects for study; the Finance Committee which acts as an internal auditor; the Nominating Committee which proposes candidates for the various elective offices; the Membership Committee which acts as a bridge between the membership and the Bureau; the Communications Committee which disseminates information about AIPPI and its activities; and the Venue Selection Committee which proposes venues for future AIPPI annual meetings (Congresses).
A World Congress open to all members is held annually, in September or October. Normally, up to 2000 members attend with accompanying persons.
At a World Congress, pending Study Questions concerning international law are discussed and decisions taken on a consensual basis. At the same time, a World Congress serves as a forum for an Educational Programme, offering a Professional Development Programme with valuable educational sessions.
The Executive Committee convenes at each Congress. The Council of Presidents also meets annually during each Congress.
Other Online Meetings are held throughout the year on various topics, for example Young AIPPI Members, or law development in smaller jurisdictions.
There are further in-person meetings organised by the National Regional Groups, for example the yearly Trilateral Meeting of the AIPPI National Regional Groups France, Germany and Poland.
Naturally, all AIPPI meetings, at which IP issues are discussed and worked on in small groups and in plenary sessions, interspersed with social functions, provide an excellent opportunity for members to meet and build personal and professional relationships.
AIPPI publishes (electronically) the results of its substantive work in a Yearbook, prepared after each annual World Congress.
In order to keep the membership informed, the General Secretariat publishes a Newsletter minimum six times per year. It includes executive summaries of the most recent international developments as well as articles on administrative matters.
This website has become an indispensable tool for anyone interested in intellectual property. The Library, for example, contains all substantive Study Questions which are currently being considered, as well as those which have been considered since AIPPI’s founding in 1897. The website also includes information on international, regional and national meetings, along with a list of officers and committee chairs and members. The membership portal under Login includes exclusive information to members and hosts the membership directory.
Under the supervision of the Reporter General and the Chairman of the Programme Committee, AIPPI conducts its substantive work, namely, the study of issues of topical concern in the IP world.
Once the annual work programme is established, Study Committees are formed to study each pending Study Question (SQ). The Reporter General team prepares Guidelines which the Groups follow in preparing their individual Reports. The Reports are then synthesized by the Reporter General team into a Summary Report. These Reports and the Summary Report are the basis for the Study Committees in the preparation of Draft Resolutions which are then discussed at Congresses. When a consensus is achieved, a final Resolution (Plenary Approved SQ Resolution) is prepared for adoption by the Executive Committee. Over 700 Resolutions have been passed by AIPPI. With those Resolutions, AIPPI has had a major influence on the development of international IP Law.
AIPPI’s Resolutions are published in English, French, Spanish and German and sent to WIPO, WTO, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, and patent and trade mark offices around the world.
The representatives of AIPPI act as its ambassadors, liaise with all important international Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations and promote mutual coordination and cooperation. AIPPI has regular high-level contacts with international and regional institutions. In particular, AIPPI has annual meetings with the Director General of WIPO, enabling AIPPI to take account of WIPO’s proposals in AIPPI’s working agenda, as well as with major IP offices. Furthermore, AIPPI meets regularly with officers of other NGO’s to discuss issues of mutual interest. AIPPI endeavours to promote the development of national law in International Forums and Symposia and by direct consultation, in particular in developing countries.
These coordinated efforts for improving and harmonising IP protection at international meetings often lead to relationships beyond the purely professional, which in turn deepen mutual understanding across national borders.
Some important examples are as follows:
- Promotion of Revisions of the Paris Conventions leading to enormous improvement in the protection of industrial property during the 20th century.
- The establishment of the Trade Marks Law Treaty (which is the result of an AIPPI initiative).
- The passing of Resolutions (such as the test for the experimental use exception in patent law) which are cited as authority on what the law should be in some jurisdictions.
- Delegations of AIPPI are recognized as active participants in all major international and regional discussions on intellectual property law projects like Patent Law Treaty, European Community Patent Convention, Directive of the European Union on Biotechnology, the Hague Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, to mention just a few.
AIPPI strongly encourages young members to participate in the work of the Association. Young Members are defined as those who are aged 36 or below, and they benefit from a reduced fee in relation to membership fees, the registration fee for the AIPPI World Congress and the eligibility to join the Young AIPPI Forum (YAF).
The YAF was first launched in 2017 during the Sydney Congress with an interactive session on networking in a multicultural environment. The aim of the session was to prepare younger members to take advantage of the AIPPI World Congress to meet other members from all over the world. This initiative continued in the following World Congresses. The YAF also provides a special space for Young Members to network with their peers, share experience and to build closer relationship with other members in their age group.
Best of Young AIPPI Activities 2022
Best of Young AIPPI Forum 2022
After two years of online YAF events, the session took place in-person during the AIPPI World Congress in San Francisco. The main purpose was to meet other young members, to exchange views and build connections.
Young AIPPI Summit 2022
In June 2022, AIPPI held the first Young AIPPI Members Summit online with global participation of young members and speakers. Young practitioners covered the topics of the Metaverse, licencing frameworks, life sciences inventions and leadership in the digital age. A great success to be continued.
Best of Young AIPPI Forum October 2021
The Resilient Professional is an interactive virtual seminar that addressed some of the challenges faced by young AIPPI members when balancing the demands and expectations of their work environments with their own circumstances and personal aspirations.
Set against the background of the pandemic and the so-called new normal, the session offered participants practical tools to address these challenges and enhance their resilience when undertaking this balancing act.
As with previous YAF sessions, participants had the invaluable chance to meet other young members and make new connections through the networking opportunity of facilitated smaller group activities and discussions during the seminar.
Best of the Young AIPPI Forum 2020
Who we are and what we do
Founded in 1897, AIPPI has adopted many Resolutions. Its annual commitment to a scientifically strict resolution process—using the expertise of about 8,000 IP professionals from very diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds as well as different legal traditions to advance the cause of IP rights for everyone—makes the association unique.
At the 2022 AIPPI World Congress in San Francisco, five Resolutions were adopted. You can read the full text of each one by clicking on the respective link below.
Please note that all AIPPI Resolutions, as well as thousands of other IP-related documents, can also be accessed in the AIPPI Library.
Patentability of Diagnostic Methods
Trade Marks and the Internet and Social Media
Protection of trade secrets during civil proceedings
Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution
Privileges relating to Settlement Negotiations and Compromise Offers
2022-23 Study Questions
At the 2022 AIPPI World Congress in San Francisco, the Reporter General team introduced the Study Questions selected by AIPPI’s Executive Committee for consideration during the 2023 AIPPI World Congress in Istanbul.
The 2022-2023 Study Questions are:
- Patents: Doctrine of equivalents
- Trade Marks: Proving trade mark use
- Copyright: Collecting societies
- General: Responsibility of online marketplaces for online infringement
John Osha, AIPPI Reporter General from 2018 – 2020, explains the processes behind the AIPPI Resolutions which are the centerpiece of the annual AIPPI World Congress. In their long history, AIPPI Resolutions have impacted on Intellectual Property law throughout the globe.
Learn about how the Study Questions are chosen each year, and how they are worked on by different groups to become draft Resolutions to be voted on at the AIPPI World Congress.
Protocol For Development Of A Resolution Derived From A Study Question
“An inventor protected everywhere and protected everywhere in the same manner, what a beautiful dream!
— Eugéne POUILLET, first president of AIPPI, speaking at the AIPPI constitutive meeting in Brussels on May 8, 1897.
The AIPPI founders in 1897
“Let us today lay down the bases of an association which, begun in Brussels by a few men of goodwill, will gradually extend to cover the whole earth and, having become great and powerful, will always remember with gratitude the cradle from which it came.”
— Eugéne POUILLET, 1897.
AIPPI dates back to 1897, following the signature of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883. Following the initiative of leading legal scientists and practitioners, a founding meeting was held in Brussels on May 8, 1897 and in October 1897 the first Congress was convened in Vienna, with subsequent festivities in Budapest. Congresses were held annually in the early years, later alternating with “Reunions”, until the outbreak of the First World War forced an interruption in 1914.
The revival of the Association took place in 1925. Under the leadership of Swiss Patent Attorney, Eugen Blum, the centre of gravity of AIPPI moved to Switzerland. As a consequence of the Second World War, the activities of the Association suffered a second interruption from 1938 to 1946.
The development of AIPPI to its present form has been a continual one. From its roots in Western Europe, it has become a truly international Association, encompassing Eastern European countries, North, South and Central America, virtually all of Asia (including large National Groups in China, Japan and South Korea), Australia, New Zealand and much of Africa.
In its long history, AIPPI has adopted more than 700 Resolutions and Reports. The presentation of these Resolutions and Reports to International Governmental Organizations, in particular WIPO, has contributed considerably to the development, improvement and harmonisation of the international protection of IP.
Did you know?
Eugéne Pouillet, the first AIPPI President, at the same time was also President of the International Literary and Artistic Association (ALAI), a body founded by the famous author Victor Hugo in 1878 to promote international recognition of legal protection of authors for their intellectual work. Pouillet held the ALAI presidency from 1890–1905Congress report of the first ever AIPPI Congress held in Vienna in October 1897
AIPPI Strategy 2021-23
AIPPI’s Strategy comprises seven goals, each representing a specific strategy item. They were approved by the AIPPI Bureau in 2021. The full version is also available as pdf.
When many have been isolated and opportunities for a collegiate exchange of views have been extremely limited, keeping members in touch during the pandemic has never been more important. To this end, AIPPI has offered attendance to the 2020 Online Annual Congress (exceptionally) as well as a number of webinars at no cost to members. Post-pandemic, there is no reason to not continue with targeted webinars when warranted, e.g. on:
- Internationally significant hot topics and updates on developments
- Thought-provoking presentations designed to initiate discussion in national and regional groups on different areas of IP law
A key advantage of these webinars is that they enable members to reach a global audience, much greater than that enabled by webinars and meetings organised by national and regional groups.
It goes without saying that AIPPI is focussed on returning to in-person Annual Congresses as soon as that is possible (especially when, during the pandemic, members have in many cases been overloaded with webinar-based content). However, occasional webinars every now and then provide a complementary addition by allowing members to stay in touch on an international level between Annual Congresses.
AIPPI is also considering various other forms of online meetings, to better allow members to stay in touch in between Annual Congresses.
A benefit of AIPPI has always been that its Annual Congresses bring members together, at which they can informally share and exchange views on not only developments in the law, but also on IP practice management, the impact of technology, prosecution platforms, etc. During the pandemic there was no option but to provide opportunities for these discussions virtually, e.g. at certain virtual round tables at the 2020 Online Congress. It is envisaged that occasional online discussions to provide training and information sessions on current practice management could continue post-pandemic. This could include, e.g.:
- Changes brought about by COVID 19, and how IP practice may adapt to the new challenges
- Changes brought about by technology, how IP practices may adapt and if suitable embrace automation e.g., social listening, global prosecution platforms etc.
The continuation of such discussion appears a worthwhile endeavour because it allows the members of the association to stay more closely in touch, also in between Annual Congresses.
A number of issues, e.g. social listening, involve the consideration of ethical issues which AIPPI will be ready to comment on provided that a sufficient consensus of views is achieved within the association. Similarly, automated global prosecution platforms involve consideration of concerns about whether rights to represent clients before IPOs have been circumvented, and whether automated systems can be said to comply with such requirements. These are all facets of modern IP practice which AIPPI cannot shy away from, and to assist with the development of a consensus on these topics, online discussions (and discussions during Annual Congresses) will be a valuable tool.
Over the last century, it has been AIPPI’s objective to seek to harmonise IP laws to provide for a more consistent, predictable and uniform legal environment especially for international businesses. This effort has been very successful, but it may not always fully solve problems that accompany modern businesses and systems, which put new pressures on traditional legal frameworks, e.g.:
- The protection of intellectual creativity, in connection with online and streaming distribution of musical and video content
- The protection of intellectual creativity, in connection with the assembly and creation of large data sets which underpin the operation of AI systems
- The identification of IP protection mechanisms more appropriate to e-commerce platforms
AIPPI would like to move to the next level and consider whether the improvement of laws can assist with more effective protection of the products of intellectual creation where traditional approaches have become over-complex, relatively cumbersome and multi-layered which can be both expensive to enforce and expensive to defend against.
For example, copyright laws, first conceived several hundred years ago to protect intellectual creation in written and artistic works now find themselves shoehorned into a new role which is to protect musical and video works through online exploitation. The complexity of using traditional IP laws to protect new media works results in greater costs, which can itself create barriers to effective protection.
Similarly, the protection of large volumes of data, e.g. in AI systems, can be challenging using patents/copyrights/database rights. The data itself is mundane, being just binary ones and zeros, and the generation of data using neural network training can often be automated to large extent in the right conditions and thus the creation of the dataset might not even be carried out by a human. Identifying the protectable creative input is a difficult process and the IP protection should follow the identification of the creative input, rather than specific forms of IP being adapted to protect various aspects of the result of creation.
AIPPI position has been one of the strongest in the IP sector, with substantive Resolutions being arrived at, and distributed and advocated at IP offices and governments around the world. However, there are further opportunities to advocate AIPPI’s positions, including through amicus curiae submissions/neutral third party interventions.
Interventions are not always possible, and not all courts accept third party observations. However, in the past year AIPPI has intervened in the EPO in the context of double patenting and there is clearly more that can be done in that arena. This is a useful activity for AIPPI since new laws can be developed not only through the codification of laws following a Resolution, but also as a result of advocating a position and the development of case law that reflects AIPPI’s positions.
AIPPI has an operational Amicus Brief Committee as well as a large collection of operational Standing Committees. Together with the co-ordination of the Reporter General Team, these committees have proven in the past that they can produce amicus briefs and interventions, and are capable of increasing activity in this area going forward.
AIPPI intends to adopt more popular and efficient formats and approaches in disseminating information and materials in order to increase and modernise our online presence. For example, a more active use of social media, also on a more rapid basis to enable AIPPI to lead with “rapid reaction” messaging on developing topics (the recent TRIPs waiver paper and communication around that being a good example).
It is a reality now that conventional ways of distributing information are not enough. Twitter feeds, social media-distributed content and other electronic formats may well be the most popular and most well-followed content. This is therefore where AIPPI needs to be as well.
The electronic distribution of content will also assist with educating the public about IP, innovations and cultural development so as to extend AIPPI’s influence outside of its membership and even outside the sphere of IP stakeholders. There is, of course, a natural limit on AIPPI’s influence outside the IP field but there is also, conversely, plenty of room for AIPPI to comment more e.g. with links to press organisations who may be looking for input from time to time on IP on news items which have an IP aspect to them.
There will be a continued focus on updating and upgrading the overall image of AIPPI, e.g. via:
- A members directory (accessible to members and non-members, and including only those members who wish their details to be published)
- The encouragement, facilitation and – when appropriate – sponsorship of innovations and cultural development, especially in lesser privileged countries and areas
- Further improve AIPPI’s representation at WIPO, WTO, IP5, EPO, EUIPO, etc. on a substantive level to improve dissemination of AIPPI Resolutions and positions
- Further improve AIPPI’s coverage of issues important to the IP professions on every level, including in response to the changing technological landscape, and to ensure that AIPPI is at the forefront of advocating issues relevant to the IP professions
The General Secretariat, and in particular the Communication and Marketing manager, will be encouraged to develop and lead new marketing campaigns together with appropriate involvement from the Bureau and the Communications Committee.
AIPPI must always be prepared to adapt. AIPPI’s response in adapting to the pandemic has allowed AIPPI to develop and broaden its range of activities. This creates an opportunity, going forward, for AIPPI to continue to develop new events with, e.g.:
- Co-hosting events with other sister organisations in countries or regions in which AIPPI has lesser exposure, such as Africa
- Smaller but more frequent regional meetings, which may attract those who are not in a position to travel too far away from home
These additional events would be strictly additional, e.g. a strong focus would still remain on an Annual Congress, which is international in coverage, and contains AIPPI’s unique mix of content such as Study Questions, Resolutions and strong debate.