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Workshop overview

The RNAi patent landscape is a complicated maze of overlapping rights.  Therefore, to maximise the return for R&D effort it is important to have an understanding of the ways in which patents can protect RNAi technologies and to develop a strategy for navigating through the existing landscape.  This workshop will explain the basis of obtaining IP rights in this area; outline the mechanisms by which rights can be enforced, challenged or used; and provide a platform for a discussion of the patenting opportunities that RNAi presents.


About the workshop hosts

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Dr Marc Wilkinson, Senior Attorney

Marc is a Senior Attorney in the Life Sciences group at HLBBshaw.  He has a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Sheffield and a PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology from University College London.  Prior to joining HLBBshaw, Marc worked for GSK and was Head of the Cell Biology group at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.  Marc has experience in the drafting and prosecution of patent applications, in both a domestic and international capacity. In addition, he has been pivotally involved in a number of technical cases before the Opposition Divisions and the Technical Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office. Marc has also provided assistance and advice in restoration and entitlement cases, as well as in national infringement and revocation proceedings working as part of a multinational litigation team.  At HLBBshaw, Marc has experience with a diverse array of technologies including RNAi, humanised and monoclonal antibodies, transgenic technologies, induced pluripotent stem cells, gene therapy, nucleic acid microarrays, diagnostic assays, microfluidic devices, PCR assays & reagents, and medical devices.

Dr James Legg, Associate Attorney

James is an Associate Attorney in the Life Sciences group at HLBBshaw.  He has an MA in Natural Sciences and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge.  At HLBBshaw, James' work includes advising clients on how best to protect new technologies, drafting and prosecuting UK and European patent applications, and supporting opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office. His current clients range from start-up medical device companies to multi-national biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.  James has experience with a broad range of technologies including RNAi, phage display, oligonucleotide arrays, PCR based assays, antibody based assays, biologic and small molecule therapeutics, medical adhesives and medical devices.

James Legg photo


About HLBBshaw

HLBBshaw is a high reputation IP law firm with specialist teams covering all major technical areas and with offices throughout the UK.  As a firm, we have a particular strength in life sciences.  As well as drafting and prosecution work, we have a very strong oppositions and appeals practice, led by Richard Bizley, and represent a number of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies at opposition and appeal hearings at the European Patent Office.  Our strength in oppositions and appeals goes back many years, to the 'Harvard mouse' or 'Oncomouse' case in the early 90s, the early PCR cases and recombinant technology cases, such as Biogen's ?-IFN case, ZymoGenetics' Protein C case and Serono's gene activation patent.  In addition, we represented ZymoGenetics in the seminal Zcytor1 receptor case (T 0898/05) which has recently been used to support the decisions of both the UK Court of Appeal and the European Board of Appeal in the Neutrokine-  case (Eli Lilly v HGS).  In more recent years, we have represented PDL BioPharma in humanised antibody cases and Syngenta in one of the first RNAi cases to be considered by the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office.

Workshop programme

8:30 Registration and coffee

9:00 Welcome and introductions

9:10 The basics of protecting biotech inventions

9:50 Protecting RNAi technologies and the current RNAi patent landscape

10:30 Morning coffee

10:50 Asserting patent rights, defences, opposing patent rights, counter-attacks and licensing

11:30 General discussion: Patenting opportunities for RNAi and predictions for the future

12:00 Close of workshop


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CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SMI Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

CPD Certificates

We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@smi-online.co.uk

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