IP Law Europe Summit: Future Of Legal Profession In The Digital Age, Unified Patent Court 04/07/2017 by Elise De Geyter for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)MONTREUX — The legal profession is experiencing a “radical change” due to technology, a globally known author told the recent European IP Law Summit in Montreux, Switzerland. Technology has become “affordable” and professions “unaffordable” in a technology-based internet society, he said. Separately, a Belgian appeals court judge laid out details on the Unified Patent Court of Europe. Montreux – View of the Alps from event hotel. Setting up for Montreux Jazz Festival in foreground. The IP Law Europe Summit 2017, organised by marcus evans summits, took place from 19-20 June. In-house intellectual property counsel, law firms, IP attorneys and legal service providers gathered together for discussions about the key drivers shaping the IP industry. The summit included keynote and case study presentations, and master classes. IP portfolio optimisation practices, IP management tools, the fight against counterfeit goods, a global brand protection strategy and the efficient organisation of the IP department were some of the topics covered during the summit. Below are two examples of the speakers at the event. [Note: the summit was chaired by Intellectual Property Watch Director William New, but was not affiliated with IP-Watch.] Future of The Legal Profession Daniel Susskind, career development fellow in economics at Balliol College at the University of Oxford and co-author of The Future of the Professions, how technology will transform the work of human experts, gave a presentation about the future of the legal profession in the digital age. Susskind told the event that all professions today are remedies for the limited understanding of human beings. Each profession is responsible for its own knowledge. The relevant question is not whether the technology will replace the whole legal profession, but how specific tasks and activities of the legal profession will change, he said. There are two possible futures for today’s professions, according the Susskind. The first future would entail the use of technology to mainstream and traditionalise the ways in work is done, he said. The second possibility is the active replacement of the work of the traditional profession by technology, and this will be the future that dominates in the long run, he said. A lot of lawyers see their work as craft, but it does not need to be treated in that way, according to Susskind. A lot of legal work is relatively routinized and process-based, he said, adding that there has recently been more legal compliance work than ever before. A lot of leading law firms are already competing with each other with artificial intelligence, he said. Judges may say that their work requires the exercise of judgment and that robots will never be able to act as judges. But he said the relevant question is not whether robots can exercise judgment in the same way as judges. The relevant question is whether a machine could better address the problem of ambiguity and uncertainty than judges, he said. He added that it has been illustrated that machines are better placed to deal with uncertainty than humans. Big data yields insight, patterns and correlation, he said. Lex Machina is a machine learning tool which provides legal analytics and predicts the outcomes of patent cases by analysing information from millions of pages of litigation information, Susskind said. Lex Machina does not perform legal reasoning and does not know anything about patent law, he noted. Susskind told the conference to stop thinking in terms of the different existing professions and institutions. He concluded that we have “to start with a blank sheet of paper” and “solve problems in very different ways.” Unified Patent Court Samuel Granata, judge of the Court of Appeal in Antwerp, Belgium, presented on the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is established by the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement). The court of first instance of the UPC will consist of central, local, and regional divisions, Granata said. The central divisions are located in London, Paris and Munich. The branch in London will be the most important as it competent for human necessities, Granata said. There is “a lot of goodwill in the UK” to enter into the system of the UPC, he added. Granata underlined that the procedure before the UPC is “front-loaded” and that the preparation of the case by the parties will be “really important.” Lawyers will lose the control over the case once the procedure is started, he said. Granata said that the procedure will exist of three different phases, namely written, interim and oral. The proceedings are consecutive, Granata said, adding that there is a separate procedure for infringement and validity on one hand and damages and costs on the other. The preamble of the UPC agreement states that the court aims to deliver a decision about the infringement and the validity within one year, Granata said. He added that it is “not that easy” and requires that the parties work together with the court and set out the full case as early as possible during the procedure. The judge rapporteur, who is “the case manager,” is “a key player” in the procedure, according to Granata. The judge rapporteur can take a wide range of decisions, which will be looked upon very carefully by the different stakeholders, according to Granata. If harmonisation is the aim of the UPC, it will be really important that the judge rapporteur does not take decisions by himself, but refers the decisions to the panel, he said, adding that this would avoid forum shopping. There is both a court system and an alternative dispute resolution system (ADR) under the wings of the UPC, Granada said. He predicted that it will be “really important” for the judge rapporteur to find a balance between being a judge and trying to reach an out-of-court settlement between the parties. Elise De Geyter is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch and a candidate for the LLM Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the National University of Singapore (class 2017). 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