Dear ECTA members, delegates, guests and friends,
A very warm welcome to the city of Prague! The theme of the conference ‘Exploring IP Magic’ coincides with Prague’s nickname, the City of Magic. Prague was without doubt glowing when Rudolph II., the Austrian emperor moved his imperial court from Vienna to Prague in 1583 making Prague again the capital of Central Europe. As one of Europe’s greatest patrons of art and science, Rudolph hosted artists such as painter Arcimboldo of Italy or Hans von Aachen of Germany, alchemists like Edward Kelly of England, astronomers such as Tycho de Brahe of Denmark and hundreds of others from all over Europe making Prague a city of creativity, knowledge and inventiveness.
Almost 500 years later, we are thrilled that IP lawyers from around the world will come together in Prague to experience the magic together. After all, have we all not experienced that helping clients to create and protect their intangible assets often involves art, magic and alchemy in various forms and ratios?
The world of IP is constantly changing and the conference topics will reflect new trends and developments. The speakers will enlighten us on IP issues in the online world, EU design reform and anti-counterfeiting, bad faith, brands and sports, non-agri GIs, works of applied arts and geographical names in trade marks. The conference will conclude, of course, with the ever-popular EU case law update.
The conference venue is the Prague Congress Centre located on a hill overlooking the city and the Prague Castle panorama. There are two adjacent hotels for those wishing to stay close to it. The conference centre is easily and quickly accessible from the city centre by metro or taxi as well as ridesharing with Uber or Bolt.
High above the city, the Prague Castle is a symbol of Czech statehood and the world's largest ancient castle complex. A truly loyal servant to the city, the Charles Bridge is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe. The medieval astronomical clock on the Old Town Square displays time and date as well as the position of the sun and celestial bodies, lunar phases and Christian holidays. If you arrive on the hour, you will witness the sculpture depicting the Death ringing a bell and the 12 Apostles parading past the windows above the clock nodding to the crowd below.
A stone’s throw away from the Prague Congress Centre, is Vyšehrad (in English ‘The High Castle’), the ‘other’ castle of Prague located on a cliff above the river. Founded in tenth century as the residence of the first Czech king, it was turned into a military fortress in seventeenth century to protect Prague from the south. Vyšehrad offers panoramic views of the city and tranquillity off the beaten track of the tourist crowds.
Welcome Reception will be held at the Žofín Palace located on the Slovanský (Slavic) Island on the Vltava river with a view of the Prague panorama. The Palace is an integral part of Prague’s classical music heritage and hosted concerts by Ferenc Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner, as well as Czech composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonín Dvorák.
Thursday evening at ECTA has been traditionally reserved for tasting local culture so we booked a beer restaurant, the Red Stag. Located downtown Prague in the former Anglo-Czechoslovak Bank, it offers numerous elements of Cubist architecture, the world’s tallest beer tower and bank vault. Expect plenty of food, beer and fun.
The Gala Dinner will take us to the National Gallery at the Trade Fair Palace. Originally designed for trade fairs, it is a gem of Czech Functionalist architecture from 1928, praised by famous French architect Le Corbusier. It is home to the modern collection of the National Gallery Prague. The imposing building was the largest edifice of its kind in Europe at the time and should ideally serve for our closing festivities well into the night.
We hope that all of the above together will create the perfect setting for another great reunion of the ECTA family.
We sincerely look forward to see you in Prague where magic happens.