Dear APAA Members, APAA Friends,
It is with a heavy heart that the Executive Committee/Advisory Committee (hereinafter, “ExCom/AdCom”) and I must inform you that we have decided to postpose the 71st and 72nd APAA Council Meeting and the 19th General Assembly in Gold Coast (hereinafter, “APAA Gold Coast Meeting”) originally scheduled for Nov. 13-17, 2020. We know that the APAA Members & APAA Friends were all looking forward to this event and regret having to disappoint you. This decision was not an easy one to make, but we believe that it is the right choice. I, personally, am deeply grateful to the ExCom/AdCom members and the APAA Australia Group for their dedicated work, and also to the Council Members for their wise guidance and support.
As you all are well aware, January of 2020 was marked with the emergence of Covid-19, which quickly escalated to pandemic levels and lock downs in many countries. As I pen this letter, there are signs that the pandemic has been brought under control, but there are still many countries that are locked down and, furthermore, there are concerns over future outbreaks in Africa and the southern hemisphere.
While there is a light at the end of the tunnel with regards to Covid-19 and we might be able to hold an APAA Gold Coast Meeting this year, there are still hurdles to overcome such as the economic recovery and international travel issues. Due to these obstacles, we are forced to assume that the number of attendees to the APAA Gold Coast Meeting in November 2020 would be poorly attended. However, simply cancelling the November meeting would obligate us to pay cancellation fees, resulting in significant losses to the APAA.
The ExCom/AdCom fully understand the importance of the APAA Meeting. Our APAA Members and APAA Friends are bound by ties of friendship. It is clear to me and all, I believe, that our comradery is sustained by our annual APAA Meetings. That said, the core aim of these meetings is to provide rich and relevant learning opportunities. One other responsibility that the ExCom/AdCom has is to protect the APAA from large financial losses. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave to solve all of the problems but, unfortunately, life isn’t that simple.
In the midst of the pandemic, the ExCom/AdCom and the APAA Australia Group brainstormed solutions from every possible angle conceivable to formulate the best possible solution for the APAA. The APAA Australia Group negotiated with the contracting entities in Gold Coast and was able to secure a full wavier for the cancellation fees, provided that we postposed the APAA Gold Coast Meeting instead of cancelling it.
With this, the ExCom/AdCom decided to propose, to the APAA Council, the postponement of the APAA Gold Coast Meeting. We felt that this was the best way to balance the tradition of our annual meeting, our commitment to providing meetings of substance, and our responsibility to protect the APAA from damages. After hearing our proposal, the APAA Council wisely voted to postpone the APAA Gold Coast Meeting. The ExCom/AdCom firmly believes that the APAA Council made the right decision.
As such, I would like to announce that the 71st and 72nd APAA Council Meeting and the 19th General Assembly in Gold Coast in Australia is officially postponed until Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 or 2, 2021.
Gold Coast is a safe and amazing location with expansive beaches. Going forward, we will occasionally make announcements about the exciting and content-rich program of the APAA Gold Coast 2021 Meeting. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Until then, we hope that the APAA Members and APAA friends will continue to establish and build relationships through networking, information exchange, and other APAA activities. For example, prior to the APAA Gold Coast 2021 Meeting, we are planning on holding the APAA PATENT SURGERY (patent training course). Also, we are considering holding a TRADEMARK CARAVAN (trademark training course). Our e-Newsletter containing information on IP will be sent to all APAA Members as scheduled. While we aren’t able to meet together physically, all APAA Members can contribute to the APAA by submitting and sharing IP related information. Public Publication is the channel for such contributions.
I hope to see as many of you as possible in the APAA Gold Coast 2021 Meeting. In the meantime, I hope you will all stay healthy and safe.
President of APAA
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May 17, 2020