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October 22, 2012

American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association Acquires Other Influential Intellectual Property Organization

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Two key U.S. intellectual property associations are merging. The American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (AIPLA) has acquired the former U.S. branch of the global Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI).

The AIPLA is also now the official U.S. affiliate of the AIPPI, and is known as the AIPPI-US Division of AIPLA. 

The acquisition took many months of negotiations, involving leaders of both groups.

As a result of the acquisition, AIPPI-US members, who meet eligibility requirements, will become members of the AIPLA. In addition, AIPLA members can join AIPPI International. AIPPI International currently has over 9,000 members from more than 100 countries, and the U.S. group has 276 members. 

"One of the hopes for AIPLA's new role as the national group of AIPPI, is that a number of AIPLA members will join the AIPPI-US Division of AIPLA to make it a more formidable force in the global association," AIPLA President William Barber said in a recent statement.  "This change is mutually beneficial and supportive, and as likely to augment AIPLA's traditional and steadily increasing influence on international issues such as substantive patent harmonization and worksharing among national and regional patent offices.”

AIPPI-US members will gather during AIPLA's Annual Meeting, which is held this week.  During the meeting, Jeffrey I.D. Lewis of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York, N.Y, will become the AIPLA’s new president. Lewis, who also teaches at Cardoza Law School, has been a member of the AIPLA executive committee. In his private legal career, he has represented many chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Rich Beem, the immediate past president of AIPPI-US, has led the U.S. group for the past three years.

In one of its major initiatives, AIPPI annually selects four "working questions" related to international intellectual property law. Each nation provides input as the global organization tries to reach agreement on an AIPPI resolution, which is later sent to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), national patent offices, and other organizations.

AIPLA has some 13,000 members. It is made up largely of lawyers in private and corporate practice, government offices or universities.  They practice or teach patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and unfair competition law, as well as other fields of law affecting intellectual property.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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