Thursday, October 17, 2013

Musings From Copenhagen

On September 12 I had the privilege of speaking in Copenhagen at a business forum on navigating intellectual property issues when doing business in the United States. I was invited by the Danish American Business Forum and Biopeople, an organization established and funded by the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Higher Education.  

Here are a few reflections on my trip:

The Danes are extremely healthy and very, very good looking! This may be a result of their extensive use of bikes as a primary mode of transportation, or perhaps because they walk (and walk everywhere). Everyone looks like they just stepped out of Vogue or some other fashion magazine. It is amazing to watch the Danes jump on their bikes after work wearing finely tailored clothes.

American lawyers are treated with great respect by Danish businessmen and women. This may be because we are more experienced than Danish lawyers in handling disputes or identifying the potential risks and issues in putting together a business deal. There is just not as much litigation, or as many business disputes, in Denmark.

I shared the podium with two Danes. One was a Danish intellectual property lawyer and the other was the director of intellectual property and technology transfer at a Danish university. Interestingly, Danish universities face the same issues as tech transfer offices at American universities. How do you commercialize the results of research and development undertaken by students and professors? There was a professor and some graduate students in attendance so the discussion was lively. They were especially interested in the Myriad case, the United States Supreme Court decision that human genes cannot be patented.

You can view our powerpoints on the Biopeople website and watch a video that was prepared during a break in the workshop.

Biopeople is also organizing a trip to Minneapolis for interested Danish businesses on November 18-22. Some of those who attended the September workshop in Copenhagen may be taking this trip.  They will be visiting Medtronic, St. Jude, and other local life science related businesses.  On November 20, they will attend the Life Sciences Alley Conference Healthcare Transformation—Surviving the Shift

Now for some travel tips:

One of the most beautiful museums in the world is Louisiana, a one hour train ride from Copenhagen.

Forget about the Little Mermaid.  She is very little and not worth any extra effort to visit. If you feel compelled to see her, continue walking to Kastellet, a beautiful public park. 

Skip Tivoli Gardens unless you have kids and are looking for a Danish version of Disneyland. Tivoli is actually what inspired Walt Disney to open a similar clean and orderly amusement park in California.

Skip the hotels and find a nice apartment in one of the neighborhoods such as Vesterbro or Frederiksberg.  These websites usually offer many options.    

Forget the car. It is easy to get around the city by bus, metro, train or bike and you can walk to just about any point of interest. Purchase a city pass for unlimited rides on all public transit—including canal boats!

Go biking in Dyrehaven - the royal hunting ground and park where you will encounter large numbers of red and fallow deer. It is also home to the Hermitage Palace.  

See the Islamic Art that is part of the David Collection

Stroll through Frederiksberg Park, one of the largest green spaces in Copenhagen. 

If you are unable to get a reservation at  Noma, one of the top restaurants in the world, dine at any of the wonderful outdoor cafes at Nyhavn or go to Mother, an Italian restaurant in the meatpacking district that features the best pizza I have ever had.

Other fun eating options (assuming again you can’t get a reservation at Noma) include: 

Organic hot dog from a street vendor on Stroget
Breakfast at the cafe at the NY Carlsberg Glytopek Museum
Paradis ice cream 
Danish licorice

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