ATLANTA—Womble Bond Dickinson and Dennemeyer IP Group teamed up to present a half-day CLE event on the latest developments and effective strategies in trademark, patent and IP ethics law.

The “Tackling Changes in IP: A Practical Blueprint” event, which took place April 11 at Womble Bond Dickinson’s Atlanta office, featured three panel discussions as well as a trademark roundtable and a patent roundtable that dug further into the issues discussed in the panel sessions:

Trademark: Playing Brand Offense and Defense. This session focused on developing an end-to-end portfolio strategy. Panelists addressed offensive and defensive tactics and managing a trademark and copyright portfolio nationally and internationally.  The panel delved into new problems presented by social media and filing strategies in China.

Patent: Craft and Draft an Enforceable Patent Portfolio Strategy. This panel examined changes facing patent holders, both legal as well as in e-commerce and brand interaction. Specific discussion topics included:

  • What about trade secrets? How are you incorporating this into your overall patent strategy?
  • IPRs and the PTAB - How has this impacted enforcement? How are you addressing challenges in the process?
  • Global enforcement - What are you keeping your eye on and preparing for? [Unitary Patent Court, Brexit, China, etc.]
  • Dealing with a shrinking budget and ballooning portfolio.

Best practices - if you had one tip for the audience for an effective patent portfolio strategy, what would it be?

IP PIs: When (and When Not) to Hire an Investigator. A private investigator can be a valuable asset at getting to hidden truths that provide information necessary for a company to make sound business decisions.  But what are the ethical guardrails of which attorneys, both in-house and outside, should be aware?  The panel (consisting of both an attorney and a private investigator) covered the pluses, minuses and the grey area surrounding the sometimes difficult choice of hiring a PI.

Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Laura Kees organized the firm’s participation in the “Tackling Changes in IP: A Practical Blueprint” event and moderated the trademark panel discussion. Other Womble Bond Dickinson speakers included attorneys Jamie Connelly and John Cox, Ph.D. Client Service Director Rudy Gaines also served as a moderator.

Other speakers included Newell Brands (Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Graco, etc.) Patent Counsel Reagan Charney, Ph.D.; Oxford Industries Inc. (Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide, etc.) Assistant General Counsel Mary Margaret Heaton; Nokia Patent Counsel Byron Holtz; Emory University Patent Counsel Randi Beth Isaacs; Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Senior Counsel Jeanene Jobst; Dennemeyer U.S. COO Cary Levitt; Coca-Cola Company Trademark Counsel Yoo-Sun Park; and Forager Information Services Owner/Investigator Christopher Rodermond.

Attendees included in-house attorneys from numerous Fortune 500 and middle market companies in the Atlanta area.