19 September 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

Marques 2019: the future of technology and IP practice

The influx of new technologies into IP law brings with it many opportunities to improve efficiencies, but must be focused squarely on providing tangible benefits for clients and practitioners alike, said a panel at Marques 2019 yesterday.

In a discussion examining the impact of technological change on the practice of IP law, speakers from legal and corporate backgrounds highlighted how technology has, in some cases, brought as many challenges as it has opportunities.

“There’s a tendency to get excited when new technology comes out, and law firms have to be really careful not to buy things for the sake of buying them,” said Ginevra Saylor, director of innovation programmes at Gowling WLG in Toronto.

Commenting on deciding which innovations to integrate into the business, she said that “it always has to be tied back to solving a problem for a client; if it’s not going to strengthen that relationship, then you have to question the value”.

One such innovation which has become more and more commonplace in the industry is e-billing. David Taylor, partner at Hogan Lovells in Paris, said his experience with the technology had been decidedly mixed.

“You have some clients who use it and it’s wonderful, the billing is smart and efficient,” he said.

In other cases, he said he had  experienced “incredible inefficiencies” with other clients who were in the habit of rejecting bills “over and over”.

Adrienne Gormley, vice president for global experience and head of EMEA at Dropbox, speaking on her own behalf, acknowledged that technology had to be designed and applied correctly in order to be of any benefit.

“Dropbox should be helpful, not another app that you have to figure out how to use,” she said.

She was adamant, however, that technology is the future for the industry as long as it is customer-focused.

“We’re constantly looking at workflows and how to make them efficient for us internally, and how we can help our customers get back to the job that they’re trying to do,”

“We were founded in the digital age, we have no paper tradition,” she said.

While the IP industry has embraced new technologies to an extent, it is important not to become “complacent”, said session chair Gregor Vos, partner at Brinkhof in Amsterdam.

Lawyers, he said, did not always “take enough time to think ahead” when it came to implementing new ideas and technologies.

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