Meet Flip Petillion
Speaker at ACI’s
Flip regularly speaks on various IP and IT topics and has published
several articles. He is on the editorial board of IRDI and is chief editor
of RABG, two leading Belgian law journals. Flip is member of various
national and international IP associations, including INTA and
Mr. Flip Petillion
Partner at Crowell &
Flip Petillion is a litigation partner at Crowell & Moring Brussels. With
more than 25 years of experience, Flip's practice has been devoted to
IP, IT, media and communication, with a heavy emphasis on
International Dispute Resolution, IP litigation and counseling for corporate
clients in various industries.
Flip co-chairs the TLD and Domain Names practice that advises on TLD
applications and represents clients in disputes on new extensions. Flip
is arbitrator and panelist with WIPO, NAF, CAC (Czech Arbitration Court)
and CEPANI (Belgium's Arbitration and Mediation Center). He is an
official mediator with Cepina and WIPO.
Flip received his J.D. from K.U.Leuven University, magna cum laude, in
1987 and was admitted to the Brussels bar in 1988. Flip also obtained
postgraduates in international economic law, Dubrovnik University, 1988;
in telecommunications law, K.U.Leuven University, 1998; in
telecommunications, strategy and regulation, Ghent University, 1999.
Tell us about yourself:
I received my J.D. from K.U.Leuven University, magna cum laude, in
1987. I also obtained postgraduates in international economic law, in
telecommunications law, in telecommunications, strategy and regulation.
I regularly lecture on various IP and IT topics and have published
several articles. I am on the editorial board of IRDI and is chief editor of
RABG, two leading Belgian law journals.
In my spare time, I like to play golf and enjoy a nice glass of wine in my
garden. Once a year, I try to take a week off to discover beautiful
landscapes across Europe.
What is a day like in your field?
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ day in my field. Not a single day is
the same. As the Chair of the Brussels IP practice, I regularly have
meetings with my team members about ongoing matters in a variety of
fields. I regularly have conference calls with clients and study files in
which I act as counsel or arbitrator. In the evening I try to work on
publications and presentations. Today, I’m speaking at ACI’s conference
about license termination and contract re-negotiation. Tomorrow,
I’ll review my colleagues’ contributions to a publication on my
flight back to Brussels.
during contract negotiations, because everyone is excited about
starting with the new project. However, it is much easier to agree on
escalation procedures at the start of a project than when a deal has
gone bad and parties are positioning themselves in their trenches.
What do you like about working at your company?
As I just pointed out, no single day is the same and this variety is
exactly what appeals to me the most.
Crowell & Moring Brussels has a strong Belgian and European client
base, and our US offices give me the opportunity to cross the ocean for
professional purposes. My colleagues are all outstanding legal
practitioners and there’s a good atmosphere between the people in
Brussels, London and the US.
Therefore, the first question that I ask myself when negotiating a deal
is: “How will I ensure continuity when the deal ends?” This is often
more important than defining the exact scope of the agreement at the
start of the agreement. Indeed, a contracting party will more easily
agree to add more services to a deal than to grant you more rights
when you want to walk away.
Therefore, don’t sign a deal if you don’t know how to walk away from
What would you change in the industry?
The industry is constantly changing. Nowadays, we witness that parties
are becoming more and more litigation adverse, while being increasingly
demanding. This sometimes creates tension between contracting parties.
If agreements are not rightly balanced, parties often spend too much
effort in patching up a deal gone bad, rather than in focusing on the
underlying frustrations. Such can be avoided by focusing on balanced
and pragmatic escalation clauses.
What is the tip/best practice you would like to share with your peers?
My best practice is related to this, namely plan for termination when
negotiating the deal. This may seem counter-intuitive, but in a rapidly
changing society, everybody knows that a contract will end one day. You
better be prepared for that day. Termination clauses are often neglected
Speaker at ACI’s 17th Annual
The Practical and Tactical Art of the Deal in Software
Agreements - Cloud, SaaS, Open Source & Licensing