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German speaking members met in Austria

German speaking members met in Austria
Article by Jochen Hey

It has already become a tradition for the German speaking IPG members to meet for a regional IPG conference, which – also out of tradition – is held in German language. After Dortmund, Maastricht and Mannheim, a record number of 30 delegates from six different countries followed the invitation of the IPG member firm Hötzl & Partner to the beautiful city of Graz, which is the regional capital of the Austrian state of Styria. Graz was added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1999 and was selected as the Cultural Capital of Europe for 2003.

The social part of the conference started out on Friday, 7th October 2016 in the afternoon with a bus tour to the well renowned vineyard of Manfred Tement, about one hour south of Graz in close proximity to the Slovenian border. Walter Hötzl was able to arrange a private tour of the vineyard for IPG, followed by the tasting of Tement’s world class wines. Further on at the close-by tavern Pichler-Schober, the attendees got to taste the great variety of Styrian food (along with some additional Styrian wine). Everybody had a big blast when a personal friend of the Hötzl family, who accompanied the IPG delegates for dinner, unpacked his accordion and performed some classic Styrian tunes.

After a fantastic Friday evening, it was only a short night at Schlossberghotel. Hötzl & Partner have chosen this deluxe hotel as the conference venue very wisely due to its central location right in the heart of the city. As an interesting side fact, the Schlossberghotel is owned by Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor for Red Bull, who also uses the hotel to display his impressive private art collection.

On Saturday morning at 8:30am sharp the technical part of the conference began. The morning session was dedicated to the subject of transfer pricing. Our host firm secured a top-rank transfer pricing auditor from the Austrian tax administration as a speaker, who shared valuable first-hand insights on the transfer pricing documentation rules in Austria, followed by a lively discussion about the similarities and differences in other jurisdictions. After lunch in the hotel, the Saturday afternoon program was dedicated to intellectual property law. At first, a local lawyer provided the delegates with an overview of the various aspects of IP law in Austria. The afternoon program was concluded by IPG’s very own member Hubertus von Poschinger. Even the non-lawyers were fascinated by Hubertus’ thrilling presentation of a real-life court case on an infringed patent his firm won just recently.

After an intense and yet very interesting day of technical knowledge sharing, most of the delegates used the short break until dinner for a walk through the historic city of Graz. On Saturday evening, the hosts led the participants up on the Schlossberg (“castle hill”) for a reception and superb dinner with a spectacular view over Graz.

While a few participants had to leave quite early on Sunday morning, a decent group of delegates used the opportunity (and the nice Sunday weather) for a guided walking tour of Graz. The city was very crowded that morning, as the Graz marathon with a few thousand participants was taking place. But despite a few passionate runners among the IPG members, none of the IPG delegates was keen enough to participate in the marathon.

Everybody agreed that the Hötzl family and Beatrix Doppler from the host firm did a fantastic job in organizing the conference and deserve many thanks for their gracious hospitality. After all, initiatives like these show that IPG is a very vital association which does not only work on a global scale, but very well also on a regional level. 
Jacob Hötzl
Beethovenstrasse 25
8010 Graz
T +43 316 - 319 319
Jochen Hey
Hemmerichstr. 1
97688 Bad Kissingen
T +49 971 7129-0