LES Singapore successfully hosted the first ever LES Asia Pacific Virtual Conference 2020 on Thursday 22 October and Friday 23 October 2020. The event was sponsored by Anaqua and Dennemeyer. We were honored to have LESI President Audrey Yap to give a welcome speech. Our Guest-of-Honor Mrs Rena Lee, Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore gave the Opening Address. This was followed by Mr Kenichi Nagasawa from Canon, Japan and also President-elect of LES Japan, giving a presentation on “IP Strategy in the “New Normal” Era. The LES Presidents from Philippines (Bienvenido Marquez), Malaysia (Anita Gerewal), Hong Kong (Charmaine Koo) and India (Richa Pandey) then presented on the challenges facing their jurisdiction, with LES Singapore President (Lionel Tan) moderating.
In keeping with tradition, a Business Plan Competition was held and it was sponsored by DSG Finance. 4 teams from India, Japan, Singapore and Philippines took part. The runner-up team was UNAWA (Philippines) who won US$1,000 and the winning team was asEars (Japan) who walked away with the US$3,000 first prize.
The High Growth Enterprise Committee presented on “Strategic value of IP for Innovation-driven SMEs and startups”. The speakers were Andre Gorius, Willem Bultius, Ilja Rudyk and moderated by Chiew Yu Sarn. The High Tech Industry had a fascinating role playing session on Standard Essential Patents with Sonja London playing the role of the Licensor and Marco Tong as the Licensee. Keith Lutsch moderated the panel and gave various scenarios to both panelists. The final session for the first day was by the Chemical, Energy, Environment and Materials Committee (CEEM) on “Hot Topics for CEEM in Asia Pacific”. The panel was moderated by Dallas Wilkinson with a engaging presentation by Vikran Duangmanee and insightful comments from Clive Erasmus and Wong Ningling.
On the second day, the Copyright Committee presented on “Copyright & Health in the time of Covid-19”. The high-powered panel comprised health professionals like Prof Paul Tambayah and Dr Goh Choo Beng and also leading legal scholars, Anand Grover and Patrick Cantrill. The panel was ably moderated by George Hwang. The final substantive session was by the Industry, University, Government Transactions (IUGT) committee on “How to achieve Innovation in the China-US trade war and other conflicts in the post Covid-19 era”. The panel comprised of Suresh Sachi, Duncan Ferguson, Alwin Wong and was moderated by He Cairan.
To close off the event, Georgina Wachtler from the YMC Committee, gave a presentation on the YMC activities to encourage young members to join. In a note of festivity, an IP Trivia quiz was held on the Kahoot platform, with novelty prizes for the top 3 participants. Various virtual networking sessions were also held after the event to allow attendees to meet up virtually in breakout rooms to introduce themselves and find out more about the various committees.
Over 200 plus participants had registered for the event with worldwide participation. There were large number of attendees from various countries in Asia. However, as this was a virtual event, there were attendees from European countries, like Spain, Italy, Russia and even Liechtenstein.
This was a highly successful event and despite the challenges presented in having the event as a virtual event, there was a good deal of interaction among the participants, with many valuable updates on various IP and licensing issues being shared and an appreciation of the challenges facing the Asia Pacific region and steps taken to meet these challenges.