Author Archives: Mark Anderson

About Mark Anderson

I am an English solicitor (attorney) who qualified originally as a barrister in 1983. After working as an in-house lawyer and with Bristows in London, I formed Anderson & Company in 1994. Our offices are based in Oxfordshire, on the banks of the River Thames, 50 miles west of London. Outside work, I enjoy walking and canoeing. I met my wife Sara whilst cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats (1,100 miles) in 1991.

Put the dates in your diary (please): 4 & 16 September

courseThe first event in IP Draughts’ Summer and Autumn programme of courses took place earlier this week – Drafting Legal Clauses in Commercial Contracts. This course has been running in different formats for over 15 years.

The next events, subject to bookings, will be:

4 September – Contract Drafting: an Advanced-Level Workshop

16 September – Intellectual Property Licensing: an Advanced-Level Drafting Workshop

Further details on these events, which are held in central London, can be found here.

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Is it career-limiting to practise IP law?

This provocative thought is prompted by considering the careers of two prominent lawyers and judges, and comparing them with those of specialist IP judges. IP lawyers who become judges seem to reach a glass ceiling at appeal court level.

Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury

Lord Neuberger, before he became President of the Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger, before he became President of the Supreme Court

IP Draughts calls as his first witness Lord Neuberger, the current President of the UK Supreme Court. Lord Neuberger has the necessary skill-set to have been a successful IP barrister, and in fact he has been involved in judging some of the leading UK patent cases of recent years. His scientific aptitude is demonstrated by a chemistry degree from Cambridge, while his clarity of thinking and writing can be seen in his judgments and speeches. When IP Draughts ran Lord Neuberger’s judgment in the recent patent case of Virgin Airways v Zodiac through the BlaBla Meter, he scored 0.15, which is a phenomenally good score. Instead, fate took David Neuberger to Falcon Chambers, a set specialising in property law.

A few years ago, IP Draughts sought advice from specialist insolvency counsel on behalf of a university client. The question was whether patents could be assigned to a spin-out company on terms that enabled an automatic reversion of the patents if the spin-out company went into liquidation.  This is a notoriously difficult objective to achieve. Counsel’s best line of argument – an assignment of a determinable interest – relied for authority on comments from Neuberger J in a non-IP case, Money Markets v London Stock Exchange [2002] 1 WLR 1150, where he said:

It does appear well established that an interest granted on the basis that is inherently limited on insolvency is recognised by the court. In other words, a determinable interest, that is an interest with a limitation until insolvency, is valid, see the discussions in Snell’s Equity, Underwood and Hayton, and Professor Goode’s book and the passage quoted above from Fry LJ in Ex p Barter, ex p Black, ex p Walker (1884) 26 Ch D 510 at 519–520. It must, I think, follow that an interest granted on the basis that it is inherently limited on some other event is effective, even if that event occurs on or after an insolvency.

A full discussion of this legal issue must wait for another day. IP Draughts’ general point is that Lord Neuberger’s stellar career has intersected with IP at various places, but he has not been a specialist IP barrister. Might his career have been more limited if he had practised at the IP bar? Would he have become Master of the Rolls and then President of the Supreme Court? Based on the precedents of specialist IP judges, IP Draughts wonders.

Viscount Alverstone of Southampton

Lord Alverstone

Lord Alverstone

IP Draughts’ second witness may be less familiar to present-day lawyers: Lord Alverstone, who was Lord Chief Justice from 1900 to 1913. His witness statement takes the form of a book of memoirs, titled Memories of Bar and Bench, published in 1914. Some years ago, IP Draughts’ friend Edmund Longshanks QC gave IP Draughts a second-hand copy of this book. Before his elevation to the Bench, Lord Alverstone’s name had been Richard Webster. Webster had a very successful career as a barrister, appearing in most of the leading patent cases of the day, and taking instructions from clients as diverse as Lord Kelvin, Thomas Edison and Florence Nightingale (and from leading firms of solicitors such as Linklaters). The summit of his career as a barrister was being appointed Attorney General, at which point he had to turn his hand to prosecuting criminal cases, including that of the famous murderer, Dr Crippen.

Dr Crippen

Dr Crippen

In his book, Lord Alverstone emphasised the importance to his career of not allowing himself to be typecast as a patent barrister. He maintained a broad commercial practice before becoming Attorney General. For instance, he handled many railway compensation cases (compensating landowners whose land was taken over by the railways) and was leading counsel in a Board of Trade enquiry into the Tay Bridge disaster.

Admittedly the world was less specialised in the late nineteenth century than it is today. But the lesson that IP Draughts takes from these two examples is that if you focus predominantly on IP law, you may find there are some natural limits to your judicial career, no matter how talented you are. IP judges in the UK seem to get no further than the Court of Appeal, while the summit of US IP judges’ careers may be to become Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It would be interesting to see a specialist IP judge in the Supreme Court of either jurisdiction.


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Interview with UCL Teaching and Learning

ucl teachingRecently, IP Draughts was interviewed by UCL’s Teaching and Learning group about his views on professional training courses. This morning, he learnt from a tweet from UCL Faculty of Laws that a write-up of the interview had been published.

The full, published text of the interview follows. It reads much more coherently than it was spoken, thanks to some deft editing and reorganisation of material by the article’s author, Luke Davis of UCL.

tweet ucl (2)

 Just two years since its launch, the Faculty of Laws’ intensive five-day continuing professional development (CPD) course on IP transactions has already collected an impressive array of accolades.

As well as scooping the inaugural CPD and Short Course prize at the 2014 Provost’s Teaching Awards, Intellectual Property Transactions: Law and Practice also won praise at the 2013 Law Society Excellence Awards. Students seem to rate it highly too, with the last intake of participants giving it a score of 3.67 out of four.

So who better than course designer Mark Anderson to reveal the hallmarks of an effective course? Here are his five key points

1 Be niche

“This year, one of our practitioners travelled from South America to attend the course. She told us that she had done lots of research and this was the only course she could find on this topic. We actually believe this is the only course of its type in the world.

“Focusing on a very specific area – in this case intellectual property transactions – not only minimises the competition; it also means we can focus on the topic in depth.”

2 Be focused

“I’ve been attending CPD courses since I qualified as a lawyer back in the 1980s. At that time, the typical model was an all-day session, and I found an awful lot of were very mediocre.

“You could have up to eight speakers a day, and they would all do their own thing with no unifying focus. That’s something I tried hard to remedy on the IP Transactions course. I design the programme and give clear guidance to contributors on the required content. We all use the same templates for the course documentation, which also helps to give an impression of coherence to the students.”

3 Be good value

“I came away from those early CPD courses and thought, I’ve only taken away two nuggets of useful information in a day – and if I’d already read the textbook on the topic, I might not have learned anything at all. That doesn’t justify the cost of the course. What people want to know is how to apply the knowledge in real life.

“A target for anyone giving a 45-minute talk is to provide the top half-a-dozen really valuable bits of information. Real value means teaching things you could only learn from practitioners.”

4 Be interactive

“We aim to make the course lively, interactive and intense. We do that by using a mixture of lectures on the law, lectures on the practice and workshops in which participants can apply that knowledge.

“Each workshop is introduced the day before as part of an initial group discussion. That means that at least twice a day students have to interact and speak out.”

5 Be practical

“Teaching based on real life situations is far more effective than focusing on the theory in isolation.

“In the workshops, we draw up practical scenarios and then pose a series of questions as to problems that may arise. In the past I’ve also invited attendees to work in a real-life situation, for example, by forming two teams to represent different organisations that are negotiating a contract.

“I’ve found that this method still allows you to communicate the same level of technical academic knowledge – in this case, intellectual property and commercial laws. 

“Some people find it easier to learn starting from the practical application, rather than from the textbook, though the learning points may be the same. This method is especially effective when teaching a CPD audience, who already have some practical experience of the subject.”

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Second reminder: course programme 2014

Buy the book and be well prepared for the course...

Buy the book and be well prepared for the course…

Here are details of some one-day courses that IP Draughts will be running over the Summer and Autumn.

Please let Mark know if you are interested, particularly for the first course, which needs one or two more people before it can go ahead on 19 August.

Drafting Legal Clauses in Commercial Contracts

Over many years, this has been one of the most popular courses that IP Draughts has run. In the morning we focus on warranties, indemnities and liability clauses.  In the afternoon, we turn to various boilerplate clauses including entire agreement clauses, termination provisions and choice of law and jurisdiction.

This one-day course will be run on 19 August 2014 at the UCL Faculty of Laws in London. Course programme here.

Contract Drafting: An Advanced-Level Workshop

And don't forget to buy this one as well...

And don’t forget to buy this one as well…

This course focuses on the techniques of contract drafting. It is suitable for practitioners who have studied contract law and have some experience of drafting, and who wish to develop their drafting skills away from the ‘heat’ of negotiations. Participants will have the opportunity to draft and discuss wording in a non-judgmental setting.

This one-day course will be run on 4 September 2014 at the UCL Faculty of Laws in London. Course programme here.

Intellectual Property Licensing: An Advanced-Level Drafting Workshop

This course combines a discussion of the substance of IP licence agreements with a detailed look at the drafting of the terms of those agreements, including grant clauses, payment terms, performance obligations and warranties. It is not specific to any market sector, and much of the discussion is relevant to most sectors, but in the examples that are used there is an emphasis towards technology licensing rather than arts-based licensing.

This one-day course will be run on 16 September 2014 at the UCL Faculty of Laws in London. Course programme here.

To book on any of the above courses, please send an email to

Other courses

While on the subject of courses, don’t overlook Ken Adams’ course on Drafting Clearer Contracts, which will be run for the first time at UCL on 3 November 2014. Ken is a US attorney and contracting drafting guru, who has spent many years refining his thoughts on how to draft contracts clearly. These thoughts are set ou in his excellent book, A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. IP Draughts agrees with most of what Ken says about contract drafting, and is delighted that he has brought his course to the UK. Details here.

Finally, if you would like an intensive, week-long course on IP transactions, which provides 29 CPD points, please consider attending our multi-award-winning course, Intellectual Property Transactions: Law and Practice, which will be run again at UCL in 2015.  This time, we are running the course a little later in the year, from 20-24 April 2015. The course has won a Provost’s Teaching Award from UCL in 2014 and a Highly Commended in the 2013 Law Society Excellence Awards. Last year’s course brochure here.

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