Conference review: 2018 AIPPI World Congress, Cancun


Olga Sirakova

Conference review: 2018 AIPPI World Congress, Cancun

mikolajn /

Olga Sirakova, Secretary General of AIPPI, looks back on a successful 2018 World Congress in Cancun, Mexico.

The 2018 AIPPI World Congress was held in Cancun from September 23 to 26. The days of the meeting went really fast, and we enjoyed it. What everybody took back home was the congenial atmosphere of the Caribbean-style meeting thanks to the efforts of all people involved in the organisation, and with special thanks to the Mexican group of AIPPI.

It was the first ‘no ties’ meeting, and we hosted a white-themed closing dinner complete with the traditional guayabera shirts and blouses. These were prepared by the Mayan community especially for the AIPPI participants, as were the Congress bags. Local people also helped us with some of the gifts for our speakers and panellists during the Congress.

This makes us feel that we have helped a little with preserving the Mayan traditions. A nod to the local culture was also made in the opening and closing entertainment shows, which revealed some of the rituals, dances and music of the Yucatan peninsula and of Mexico.


The sessions were well attended and the discussions were fruitful for all of us. AIPPI is a truly global IP organisation, and the issues discussed this year were no exception from the rule of covering as many current cutting-edge IP topics as possible. The programme included:

  • Six resolutions: the result of a very sophisticated and, for AIPPI, unique brainstorming of its members aiming to help harmonisation of national and international IP laws;
  • Thirteen panel sessions, including the following topics: “Artificial intelligence—the real IP issues”; “Standard essential patents”; “Personality rights”; “Linking into the digital era”; “Alternatives for enforcement: criminal and administrative proceedings”; “A balancing act—copyright versus other rights”; “Use it or lose it—genuine use of trademarks”; and “Surveying the field—a gold standard for survey evidence”;
  • Four pharma sessions: the pharma day has for years been a landmark of AIPPI; and
  • Three lunch panels, which included representatives from all IP5 offices (the US Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration) to provide an update on the important work being undertaken across the full scope of IP5 cooperation; the pop band The Slants; and a session on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. 

The programme featured more than 100 speakers and panellists from all over the world. They included representatives from the WIPO, WTO, EPO, EUIPO, CNIPA, JPO, KIPO, USPTO, IMPI, judges from China, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US, speakers from many different fields of industry, academics, lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys, and more.

I am sure everyone found the sessions of interest, learning from the best and meeting old and making new friends, even though it was sometimes difficult to choose between the sessions. An added attraction was that the convention centre was just metres away from the Caribbean Sea.

Next year the Congress will be held in London—from September 15-18,.2019—another great experience we invite you to share with us.

Olga Sirakova is Secretary General of AIPPI. She can be contacted at:

AIPPI, World Congress, Cancun, Caribbean, US Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office