CITMA: Key Takeaways from the WebTMS Team

CITMA: Key Takeaways from the WebTMS Team

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CITMA Spring Conference: Key Takeaways from the WebTMS Team

The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys spring conference is a highlight in the WebTMS calendar. This year, in our campaign to connect with more customers and industry colleagues than ever before, we brought an extended team to experience the event. Samantha, Diana and Viviene from our in-house business development, training, and support team – all of whom have paralegal backgrounds – were joined by Richard and Robert from our technical team. With the conference themed around the role of AI and technology in the future of intellectual property practice, the team couldn’t have been better composed to make the most of the event.

CITMA has collated a round-up of the sessions here, and we’ve asked our team to share their highlights, too.  

The value of in-person events – with an international feel!

In a busy industry, CITMA is a superb opportunity to maintain relationships while clients are taking the opportunity to keep up with industry knowledge and trends, as Business Development Manager Samantha put it: “Everyone in the IP sphere is so busy, but CITMA is a great chance to catch up with clients while they’re away from the office and check up on any requirements in an informal atmosphere.” Sales and Training Specialist Diana agrees, adding that the quality of the event always ensures good attendance – and not just from UK-based delegates: “As a young IP enthusiast, the CITMA conference provides the perfect opportunity to meet with colleagues in the field. The high level of detail that goes into planning the talks, selecting the exhibitors, and putting together the ambiance always attracts a wide array of IP professionals from all over the world. I was pleasantly surprised to meet colleagues from Ecuador, Peru, India, Pakistan, as well as from a variety of European countries. Hearing their perspectives on the IP legal sphere was definitely one of the highlights of the event, along with the opportunity to practice my foreign language skills.”

Software Programmer Robert was impressed by the breadth of information in the presentations: “What surprised me was how they included information useful to experts in the space, but also to someone from a more technical background like me. I definitely got a lot out of it.”

Senior Developer and Project Manager Richard adds: “My IP knowledge increases with each conference, something that really comes in useful when discussing migrations of client-specific requirements.”

From AI to work-life balance – team highlights.

The WebTMS team found the sessions on AI and the IPO’s digital transformation project especially illuminating, offering inspiration for future software development.

Richard notes: “The discussion on AI and IP has given me food for thought on how we can incorporate machine learning and even generative AI tools into some of the features of future WebTMS updates.” Robert agrees, noting: “The focus on hybrid intelligence was a unique view and gave me a lot of ideas for implementing AI.”

EU Training and Support Specialist Viviene was fascinated to hear from Justice Muhammed Farrukh Irfan Khan of United Trademark and Patent Services on how AI will be used in UAE: “There are some very ambitious goals, such as establishing Dubai as the first blockchain-powered government and introducing AI-powered case filing services in the courts.”

The IPO transformation update alerted Richard’s professional radar: “The IPO mentioned the introduction of various APIs, and we will definitely be looking at taking advantage of these when they arrive.”   

Sam agrees that the IPO transformation update was immensely insightful: “It provided a key insight into how the future will look for any stakeholder that will interact with the UK IPO. They have focused on patents so far, but next up are trade marks, designs, and disputes. The plan is to make a one stop shop for all your UK IPO interactions, digitising as much as possible, with self-serve functions and online frameworks instead of paper forms. They also plan to introduce APIs that at first will allow you to pull data to update your IP Management System, but, later down the line,  have the ability to file and renew IP via a two-way API between the IPO and your IP Management System. It’s really important that IPMS providers are ready for when the IPOs offer these APIs, so we can ensure we support our clients in the best way possible. I was particularly glad to have our technical team in attendance for their valuable insight.”

Diana found time to talk with representatives from different charities, including Jonathan’s Voice, providing support to professionals in the legal industry. She learned that: “everyone agrees: the legal field has long been a rigid system with a work-life balance leaning too much in favour of work, which impacts people’s mental health. With an influx of diversity in the legal field I also noted a strong wish for a better balance and a more flexible working environment.”

Back in the office

On their return to the office, the WebTMS team will draw on what they learned at the conference. Viviene believes there will be a lot more to come on the AI topic: “I believe there are many benefits of introducing generative AI to our work, to improve client experience and support. I will definitely be following AI development closely.”

Robert was attending his first CITMA conference and found it a valuable insight into client priorities: “I will take away a  better understanding of the perspectives of those who use our system and hope to translate it into new features.”

Diana is excited to take what she learned about “how perceptions and approaches towards IP vary from country to country,” back into her daily work.

Overall, the team agrees that the conference was a highly valuable event with a distinct social vibe, too, which Samantha sums up: “The CITMA organisers are all very warm and welcoming. It’s a great social opportunity to catch up with friends and acquaintances, as well as make new ones. So it wasn’t all pure business!”