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Sir Colin Birss, Judge at the Patents Court

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Stephen Jones, CIPA President

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Julia Florence, CIPA Vice President

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Chris Mercer, CIPA Honarary Secretary

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Grant Philpott, European Patent Office

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Nigel Swycher, Aistemos

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Alasdair Poore, Mills & Reeve LLP


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Dr Ludmila Striukova, SKEMA Business School

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Belinda Gascoyne, IBM Europe

Sir Colin Birss

Sir Colin Birss is a judge of the High Court of England and Wales.  He was called to the English Bar in 1990 and practiced in intellectual property law.  He was appointed Standing Counsel for the Comptroller 2003-2008 and took silk in 2008.  In 2010 he left the Bar to become the new judge of the Patents County Court and Chairman of the UK Copyright Tribunal.  His appointment to the Patents County Court (now Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC)) coincided with the introduction of major procedural reforms.  In 2013 Colin Birss was appointed to the High Court.  He sits in the Chancery Division and is one of the judges nominated to sit in the Patents Court.  He is also General Editor of Terrell on the Law of Patents.


Stephen Jones, CIPA President

Stephen is the current President of CIPA and was formerly editor for 15 years of the CIPA Guide to the Patents Acts. He is a UK and European patent attorney and trade mark attorney. He is also an accredited mediator and a solicitor-advocate. During a career spanning nearly 40 years he has has practised with major international law firms, with one of the leading UK patent attorney firms and in house at a major industrial company. Stephen was most recently a partner and then consultant at Baker & McKenzie where he worked for 17 years. He is a visiting professor at the University of Law (formerly the College of Law), a visiting lecturer at University College London and tutor on the IP Diploma Course of the University of Oxford. He is also a Council Member of AIPPI UK.



Julia Florence, GlaxoSmithKline / CIPA Vice President

Assistant General Counsel (Patents)

Julia is a senior patent attorney at GlaxoSmithKline and has extensive experience of managing IP portfolios for pharmaceutical products at all stages of development.  This includes working with SPCs as well as advising on other types of exclusivity available for pharmaceuticals.


Chris Mercer, CIPA Honorary Secretary

Professional Career: After university, Chris joined the patents department of the National Coal Board where he trained for and passed all the CIPA examinations. On qualification, he joined Carpmaels & Ransford and became a partner in 1989. Chris retired from the partnership in 2010 and became a consultant to the firm. His practice is mainly before the EPO and latterly he has concentrated on oppositions and appeals at the EPO. During his career, Chris was involved in large scale, multi-national litigations and obtained his litigation certificate as a result.

He has also been involved with providing education, having been a tutor on the JDD P6 course for many years and more recently on their Paper C course. He regularly lectures for the Informals. Chris has been a JEB examiner and was the epi delegate for the revision of the EQE. He is now a member of the Supervisory Board for the EQE.
Positions Held: Chris at present is the Honorary Secretary of CIPA. He is a Past President of CIPA and was formerly CIPA’s Vice-President for two years. He has been a member of Council for over 15 years. He is a member of CIPA’s Patents, Litigation, Regulatory Affairs and Congress Steering Committees.

Chris was a Vice-President and then President of epi and is currently a member of epi’s Council and Board and a member of epi’s European Patent Practice Committee. He is one of epi’s representatives on SACEPO and regularly meets with the Chairmen of the Boards of Appeal at the EPO. Chris is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the EQE. 

Grant Philpott, European Patent Office

Grant Philpott is the European Patent Office‘s (EPO’s) chief operating officer for patenting in the information and communications technology (ICT) field and is responsible for approximately 2,000 patent examiners, managers and administrative staff. During his 28 years at the EPO, he has worked across a range of technical fields, including mechanics, industrial chemistry and ICT. He has been a member of the committee responsible for organising the European qualifying examination for patent attorneys, and worked in the controlling office and on several automation projects. Previously, he held managerial positions, including principal director of the computers and telecoms operational areas and director of the EPO’s semiconductor patenting directorate in Munich. Before joining the EPO, Mr Philpott spent three years as director of the Brazilian subsidiary of a German small to medium-sized enterprise, and nine years as an engineering officer in the British Army. He has a master’s from Cambridge University.

Nigel Swycher, CEO Aistemos

Nigel Swycher is the founder and CEO of Aistemos, an IP analytics and strategy company with headquarters in London. Nigel is committed to providing more accessible information about technology protected by patents globally. Our product Cipher harnesses AI and machine learning to understand who owns patented technologies, to enhance the competitive intelligence available to R&D, M&A and strategy teams at the heart of the deals that will transform the sector. Nigel is also a director of ORoPO (the Open Register of Patent Ownership) and is a recognised by IAM Strategy 300 as an expert in the field. (www.cipher.ai)
Prior to Aistemos, Nigel had a long career in the law first as an intellectual property partner with leading law firm Slaughter and May and later as head of technology at Olswang.

Alasdair Poore, Mills & Reeve LLP 

Alasdair is Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Mills & Reeve LLP, advising on protection of intellectual property and technology contracting especially in the IT and public procurement sectors. He is a past President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and Editor of the CIPA Journal. 
Alasdair has a mixed Natural Sciences and Law degree, following which he qualified as a barrister, before joining Shell’s Patents and Licensing Department, working in London and Canada, before moving into practice practice as a lawyer and patent attorney. He specialises in advising on the use of IP, patent, trade mark and registered design filing and protection, licensing, franchising and exploitation, and corporate due diligence and IP in spin out and start up companies, and on IP litigation and disputes resolution, especially in the High Court, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, and patent and trade mark offices including the European Patent Office and Community Trade mark Offices, and mediation. My work often involves Universities in the UK as well as private sector clients from spin out companies to major IP intensive multinationals, advising on intellectual property policies, ownership issues, collaboration and research agreements. He was on the Working Group preparing the rules for the PCC (now the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court), and sits on the IPEC Users Committee and Intellectual Property Court Users Committee.
Alasdair is also Deputy Chair of the Litigation Committee of CIPA, and member of CIPA’s Trade Marks and Patents Committees.

Dr Ludmila Striukova, SKEMA Business School

Dr Ludmila Striukova is an Associate Dean of Innovation Academy at SKEMA Business School. Previously Ludmila held positions at University College London, King’s College, the LSE, and Euromonitor. Her research focuses on disruptive technologies (3D printing, Internet of Things, blockchain), big data, business model innovation and intellectual property management. Ludmila has been regularly invited to give talks at industry events and has been a mentor of several start-ups.


Belinda Gascoyne, IBM Europe

Belinda is Senior IP Law Counsel at IBM where she heads up the EMEA IP Law team, providing all aspects of IP Law support. Belinda is a Chartered and European Patent Attorney with a background in Physics and has wide practical experience in drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications as well as in IP strategy, patent management and copyright issues. Before joining IBM in 2004, Belinda worked in private practice in London.
Belinda is also actively involved in policy matters and is currently President of the IP Federation, a member of the techUK IPR Committee, the Digital Europe Patents Working Group, and a director of ORoPO – the Open Register of Patent Ownership.