Whether in the professional field or any other community you feel a part of, being actively involved in an NGO Board shares a few common parameters for me. Firstly, it stems from the principle of volunteering. This means contributing in both visible (time, intellectual effort) and invisible aspects (managing interpersonal-intercultural relationships, making efforts to find common ground, and seeking what is new, efficient, and beneficial without compromising the credibility of a 126-year-young organisation) while putting the overall benefit ahead of the individual interests. The second common parameter, at least for me, is the high priority of “self-realisation.” There are undoubtedly many ways to feel fulfilled professionally and personally. On the other hand, a sense of belonging is crucial for feeling successful and satisfied in various layers of your life and profession. Being actively involved as a volunteer in an organisation focusing on the IP industry, such as AIPPI, has always been a high-level act of “self-realisation” for me.
I have been in the IP field for over 25 years. I have pursued this profession as a patent and trademark agent, a patent department manager, a business developer, an internal process implementor, a trainer, and a partner, and now as an IP consultant. One aspect I find challenging and also beautiful about this field is that your jurisdiction’s borders do not limit it. You must continuously learn, develop yourself, pursue what is changing, consider your client’s needs, consider fallback positions, and be agile enough to revise the plans while implementing them. Simultaneously, expanding your human and intellectual capacity requires a different perspective, such as sharing it, interacting with others in the ecosystem (sometimes with a colleague, sometimes with a patent Office), confirming the validity of your approach, or defending and advocating for your own position. AIPPI has taught me a lot and continues to do so with its unique understanding of organisational and operational structure, quality-driven approach to substantive matters, and communication among the members.
For over 16 years, I have tried to be a loyal member of AIPPI at the national and international levels. For the past six years, I have been working within the AIPPI Bureau. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessors in the Secretary-General Team and former Bureau Members who have given me a chance to take over responsibilities within the SGT track.
AIPPI is nourished through multiple channels thanks to its representation structure. ExCo (delegates), Council of Presidents, National and Regional Groups, and Independent Members are the components of this representation, which provides substantial input into the mission and goals of the AIPPI. For example, every year, support and proposals are sought from NRGs regarding the topics for the following year’s Study Questions. Another form of representation occurs through Study Question Committees and Standing Committees. We highly value the contribution of each member actively participating in these committees in one way or another in making AIPPI a reference point in IP-related matters and for law harmonisation. In parallel, for AIPPI to gain new membership, maintain effective internal and external communication and interaction with the stakeholders, engage and create well-deserved opportunities for young colleagues, be pragmatical for the industry actors and rightholders, provide academic and substantive benefits to legislation and enforcement entities and function in a healthy, robust manner, it needs support from different statutory and advisory committees. In my opinion, the role of the Secretary-General, together with the Secretary General Team and General Secretariat is to ensure smooth and sound functioning of this structure with all components, which is almost a full-time job.
As for what I can contribute to this organisation in this position for (hopefully) the next two years, I want to start saying something related to a more human dimension. I am aware that I am entering into a period of two years that will prioritise responsibility at the highest level, even over my professional work. First and foremost, I will try my best to ensure that the governance in the AIPPI International and collegiate working style of the Bureau and General Secretariat is as inclusive as possible while keeping the sense of responsibility at its peak. One should appreciate that assisting the smooth functioning of an organisation with over 8,000 members and a 126-year tradition both in the way of befitting its history and being open to innovative, new, and sometimes unpredictable yet worth-trying approaches, is not as easy as it may seem from the outside. The Enlarged Bureau consists of 16 committed, hard-working people. This means all these hardworking, intelligent, and determined individuals still originated from sixteen different cultures and diverse perspectives. We all want to serve a joint mission and have committed to working towards the objectives we declared to the organisation and the entire IP world under our Strategic Plan. Being a cementing element in this structure is my most humane goal, though I am aware that is a bit too ambitious at the same time!
Transparent, collective, and accountable governance eventually brings confrontation, compromises, and determination; this has been the case during my six years in the Bureau. Therefore, balancing the libra when needed, standing by decisions, and being accountable for them will be the working style I desire to follow and spread.
We observe that certain structures within the association need strengthening and more focus. We will see together what we can do in these two years, and I, within the Bureau, will follow the actions relevant to our Strategic Plan, which will be revised and published to be valid between 2024 and 2026.
AIPPI, within the last two years, caught the momentum of increasing the membership with plus in figures. The association also returned to its track after the pandemic in view of re-building relations with the governmental and nongovernmental IP organisations. I will take part in formulating projects that will assist in expanding the membership within horizontal and vertical scales. This covers helping create new groups, empowering the small-medium scale groups, and perhaps most importantly, maintaining new members with exponential engagement. The organisations take their powers from their membership, members’ network among the stakeholders, and to what extent their saying is echoed in the ecosystem. Therefore, being active in keeping continuous and consistent professional bonds with the entities and IP stakeholders will be another objective to pursue.
I also strongly believe that any action to adapt AIPPI to NGOs’ changing dynamics and roles in the IP ecosystem is one of the extensive goals of this association that we all should chase within the near future.
As I embark on this challenging yet gratifying journey as the new Secretary General, I am humbled by the tremendous opportunity and the responsibility it entails. I will consider my mission fulfilled with all my peers on this journey if I can leave a trail that deserves appreciation and impart a lesson to my successors under what we call “a success” or “a mistake.” I hope that together, we can craft a legacy that not only withstands challenges but also paves the way for a stronger, more resilient AIPPI.