5-6/09/2018 – Washington DC Workshop on IP for Plants

5-6/09/2018 – Washington DC Workshop on IP for Plants

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC • Washington D.C., USA


There is no better gratification for our work than to hear how inspirational the workshop experience was for our learners and, in case of the September 5-6 event in Washington, D.C., the positive feedback was overwhelming. One participant’s review stated that she was immediately able to put some of the learned contents into action for her company. For us at CIOPORA, this is what the CIOPORA Academy is about: the result-oriented learning.

From the knowledgable speakers visiting from all corners of the US and from as far away as Chile, to versatile and practice-oriented contents, from a superb venue in the heart of the US capital kindly provided by the CIOPORA member Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney to the visit at the United States Patent & Tademark Office (USPTO) HQ in Alexandria, Va – the workshop was a great success for our program.

We woud like to heartily thank our hosts at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney; our expert teachers from Baker McKenzie, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Díaz Wiechers S.A., USPTO, and UPOV; the colleagues at USPTO for their warm welcome and engaging in an open dialogue with plant breeders; and, of course, the participants, whose committment to learning and expanding their knowledge on Plant Variety Protection and related topics made this event possible.


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On September 5-6, 2018, the CIOPORA Academy comes to the US capital to hold a 1.5-day workshop on Intellectual Property protection for plant innovations. The event will be the very first CIOPORA Academy workshop offering contents for the IP Advanced Level Certification which means more complex and strategy-oriented contents. Besides the intensive learning on IP, attendees will have an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues at the networking dinner on September 5.

NEW! On September 6, after the workshop, the group will be invited to join a meeting and a tour of the public facilities of the US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA.

The workshop is kindly hosted at the Washington DC Downtown Office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC (BIPC).



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September 5 – 6, 2018


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Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Offices in Washington DC, USA



In order of the scheduled lectures:

Dr. Christian A. Hannon

Dr. Christian A. Hannon

Patent Attorney in the Office of Policy & International Affairs at USPTO, USA

Dr Hannon serves as a Patent Attorney with the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) in which he represents the United States before UPOV.

Prior to joining OPIA, for ten years, Dr Hannon served as a patent examiner in the wireless telecommunications field. During his employment at the USPTO, Dr Hannon has served in the Office of the Secretary and Director as an expert advisor. He has also served on detail to the Office of the Solicitor and in OPIA prior to joining there full time.

Dr Hannon received his Juris Doctorate from George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, in 2012. Dr Hannon holds undergraduate degrees in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, in addition to an undergraduate degree in computer science from Elon University, NC.


Jessie Greenwald, Ph.D., J.D.

Jessie Greenwald, Ph.D., J.D.

Associate at Baker McKenzie Dallas, USA

Dr. Greenwald is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Intellectual Property (IP) practice in Dallas. She focuses her practice on IP, concentrating on transactional and patent matters, especially those pertaining to microbiology, biotechnology, and plants. Furthermore, she manages global PVR, Plant Patent and Patent portfolios across 22 jurisdictions, prosecution of utility patents involving genetically modified plants and plant products, and develops legal strategies for a client in the area of biotechnology. Prior to entering law school, she earned her doctorate in Plant Pathology and Microbiology from Texas A&M University. Jessie is a member of the Texas Aggie Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.

Travis Bliss, Ph.D.

Travis Bliss, Ph.D.

Travis Bliss
Partner at Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP

Travis Bliss counsels a variety of clients ranging from individual inventors to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in nearly all aspects of Intellectual Property law. Travis prepares and prosecutes patent applications; litigates patent, Trademark, and other IP disputes in federal and state courts; represents clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board; counsels clients in a variety of IP issues, including due diligence, FTO, infringement, and patentability; and prepares and negotiates IP licenses. From a technology standpoint, Travis’s practice falls largely within the life sciences field and also includes a large focus on novel plant varieties in the agriculture, horticulture, and cannabis/hemp industries. Travis has been a lawyer member of CIOPORA since 2014.

Laura K. Pitts

Laura K. Pitts

Intellectual Property Attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, USA

Laura Pitts counsels clients on IP protection and enforcement strategies, manages clients’ global trademark portfolios and executes domestic and international trademark filings. Laura has experience preparing and responding to pre-trial, discovery, and dispositive motions in complex IP litigation and counterfeiting.

James Wilson

James Wilson

International Counsel, Tax, Baker McKenzie Washington D.C.

James Wilson is a member of the London and Washington, D.C. Corporate Tax practice groups at Baker McKenzie and handles international tax planning matters. James advises on all aspects of UK corporate and commercial tax. He concentrates on international tax planning issues with a particular focus on UK and European inbound planning for North American headquartered multinationals and multi-jurisdictional group reorganisations and restructurings. He is an Oxford Law Graduate and hold an Executive LLM Taxation Degree from the New York University.

Alexandra Minkovich

Alexandra Minkovich

Counsel, Tax, Baker McKenzie New York

Alexandra Minkovich is a Counsel in Baker McKenzie’s North American Tax Practice. She has over a decade of experience handling a variety of tax, tax controversy and legislative issues. She also brings significant experience representing clients with respect to domestic tax issues, including advising financial institutions, and is well versed in administrative law. She is a member of Tax Sections of both American and New York Bar Associations. Alexandra holds a Master of Laws LL.M. Taxation degree from the New York University School of Law, a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Columbia Law School, and a B.A. of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

Juan Alberto Díaz Wiechers

Juan Alberto Díaz Wiechers

Attorney-at-law & owner at DíazWiechers S.A., Chile

Juan Alberto is a lawyer in both Chile and Mexico. His practice is focused on providing legal counsel and services in the Industrial Property field, specifically Plant Varieties, but also Trademarks, Denominations of Origin and Domain Names. Besides Chile and Mexico, he manages PVR portfolios across Latin America and worldwide. He is professor of PVR at the Catholic University of Chile and the Finis Terrae University, both located in Santiago de Chile.


Benjamin Rivoire

Benjamin Rivoire

Head of Seed Sector Cooperation and Regional Development at UPOV, Business Focal Point for UPOV PRISMA

Mr Philippe Benjamin (Ben) Rivoire joined UPOV in 2012, after having started his career in the fruit production sector in Spain and Africa and in the vegetable breeding industry. Ben is now the Head of Seed Sector Cooperation and Regional Development (Africa, Arab Countries) in UPOV. On the technical side, he is in charge of the support for the UPOV Technical Working Parties for Fruit Crops and Vegetables. On the development and regional side, he is contributing to the delivery of UPOV’s program of assistance in Africa and the Middle East and in charge of the Cooperation with the Seed sector. Last but not least, from the business perspective, he is in charge of UPOV PRISMA, the PBR On-line Application Tool, driving the Tool development in line with the needs and expectations of the applicants and the breeding industry.




DAY 1, SEPT 5:

08:30-9:00 – Registration

9:00-10:15 – Module 1: The triggering point of novelty in Plant Patents by Christian A. Hannon, USPTO

10:15-10:45 – Networking coffee break

10:45-12:00 – Module 2: IP Protection for Plants: Beyond the PVR by Jessica Greenwald, Ph.D., J.D., BakerMcKenzie LLP

12:00-14:00 – Lunch at McCormick & Schmicks’

14:00-15:15 – Module 3: IP Rights and Competition law in the USA by Travis Bliss, Ph.D., Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

15:15-15:45 – Networking coffee break

15:45-17:00 – Module 4: “Trademarks for Plant Products: International Registration and Trademark Strategies in Multiple Jurisdictions” by Laura K. Pitts, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

19:00 – 22:00 – Networking dinner at District Commons, an American Tavern.

DAY 2, SEPT 6:

8:00-9:15 – Module 5: “Plant IP and royalty taxation in a changing landscape” by James Wilson and Alexandra Minkovich, BakerMcKenzie LLP

9:15-9:45 – Networking coffee break

9:45-11:00 – Module 6: “General Scope of Plant Variety Protection and enforcement tools in Chile” by Juan Alberto Díaz Wiechers, DíazWiechers S.A.

11:00-11:30 – Networking coffee break

11:30-12:45 – Module 7: “UPOV PRISMA PBR Application Tool: The Basics” by Benjamin Rivoire, UPOV

NEW! 12:45 – 14:00Lunch at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC (BIPC)

14:00 – Take-off by bus from BIPC to USPTO at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

15:00 -15:30 -Security check

15:30 – 16:30 – Meeting with the Supervisory Examiners

16:30 – 17:00 – Self-guided tour of the National Inventors Hall of Fame

17:00 – Take-off from USPTO to BIPC, Washington D.C.

ca 18:00 – END


Visit at USPTO

After the workshop on September 6, you will be invited to join the tour of USPTO located in the nearby Alexandria, VA. Kindly organized by USPTO’s Chris Hannon and his colleagues, the tour will encompass a meeting with the Supervisory Patent Examiners Joe Zhou and Amjad Abraham and will end with a tour of the USPTO’s facilities.

We shall take off together by bus from the workshop location at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC (BIPC) at 2 pm after the group lunch. The estimated arrival time at USPTO is 3 pm. Please note that there will be a security check procedure at the entrance into the governmental building. Further instructions as to the security procedure will follow after the registration.


September 6, 2018, 2 pm – ca. 7 pm



Networking dinner

The CIOPORA Academy networking dinners are traditional platforms for professional exchange. While our topics are of a high importance to the industry and our workshops are focused on formal learning, we have found that in addition to theoretic contents and practical advise by our IP experts, experience sharing among colleagues can be extremely helpful.

In Washington DC, you will enjoy a three-hour private dining & networking event at District Commons,  an American Tavern. The participants will be offered a four-course dinner, wines and beers included. During the meal, you will have an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, chat with the lecturers and make new business contacts in a relaxed atmosphere. The dinner option can be booked separately.

After the workshop, you will have 2 h of free time to have a meeting, catch up with your emails or simply go back to your hotel and freshen up. The group will reconvene at the restaurant location at 7 pm. The CIOPORA Academy team thanks you for timely arrival.


September 5, 2018, 7 – ca.10 pm


Dress code

Smart casual


District Commons, an American Tavern