Exclusively for Everyone: Oxymorons ‘R’ Us

Last week’s golden oldie seemed to be popular, so here is another article from this blog’s archive. This time on exclusive, sole and non-exclusive licences.

IP Draughts

In 2000, the UK department store, Marks & Spencer, unveiled a new strapline, Exclusively for Everyone, that was to feature in their advertisements for nighties for most of the Noughties.  Well, for all their products, really, but IP Draughts is susceptible to a finely-turned alliteration.

Every time he saw this strapline, the pedant in IP Draughts thought: you can’t be exclusively for everyone.  It is a self-contradictory statement.

Another phrase that induces this reaction in IP Draughts is sole and exclusive licence.  You can’t have a sole and exclusive licence.  It can be sole or it can be exclusive.  It can’t be both at the same time.

Usually, when the phrase appears in a licence agreement, the drafter intends to grant (or be granted) an exclusive licence.  IP Draughts has never encountered a drafter who argued to retain sole and exclusive when the potential contradiction was pointed out. …

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Mr Pettifog speaks his mind. Unfortunately.

miseryWhat is your tube, and how do I get on it, asks Mr Pettifog at partners’ tea last week. Misery Line, Hampstead branch, replies Old Unreliable wittily. I generally use the lift, he adds, taking a ginger hobnob from the tray.

A puzzled silence descends on the room. Eventually, Bright Spark speaks. Do you mean YouTube, she asks? Yes, that’s what I said, replies Mr Pettifog.

Was there something in particular you wanted to see?, asks Young Hope. It’s mostly videos of cute cats, he adds.

Oh, I just wanted to see if someone had recorded something, Mr Pettifog replies.

catYoung Hope and Bright Spark quickly look at one another. Bright Spark renews her cross-examination. Was it something you recorded?, she asks. No, I wouldn’t know how to, replies Mr Pettifog smugly. Then something you said, but someone else recorded?, asks Jim Rough-Diamond, joining the cross-examination tag team.

Oh, I don’t know, replies Mr Pettifog, attempting an air of mild boredom. Does anyone want that last cucumber sandwich?, he adds, trying to deflect attention from his earlier question.

While this is going on, Young Hope has opened his iPad and searched on the YouTube site. An Anglo-Saxon expression escapes his lips.  Could this be the recording you were interested in?, he asks, quickly making a remote connection to the tea room’s flat-screen TV.

Everyone in the room turns towards the TV. It shows a panel discussion at a conference. Three middle-aged, white men in business suits are sat at a table. Mr Pettifog is one of them. On the wall behind the table, the logo of World IP Professionals is clearly visible. A voice can be heard, apparently a member of the audience who cannot be seen on the recording. The voice asks: how can you reconcile the government’s decision to go ahead with ratifying the World IP Arbitration Treaty, which is subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, with the Prime Minister’s statements that the CJEU won’t have any jurisdiction in the UK after Brexit?

Mr Pettifog is the first to reply. Well, he says, we don’t trust a word that this government says, do we? (The audience laughs, and he warms to his theme.) And anyway, they’re too stupid to realise that ratifying the convention leads to CJEU jurisdiction. And so are the tabloid newspapers, and the oiks that write articles for them. (More laughter, some of it nervous.) They won’t be interested in this kind of subject, it’s far too intelligent for them.

The recording ends, and Young Hope switches off his iPad.

Jim Rough-Diamond is the first to speak. Oiks are too stupid to realise?, he asks.

chathamIt was a private meeting, subject to the Chatham House rule, replies Mr Pettifog sulkily. Whoever recorded it was clearly in breach of a legal duty. Can’t it be deleted from your tube?

Young Hope shakes his head. Mr Pettifog turns white, then hastily leaves the room. Partners’ tea resumes.

 

[Note: this is an entirely fictional story, inspired by a real-life incident, but with completely different facts, people, motivations and outcome, and written for humorous purposes only. No, really.]

 

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Academic inventors and investors: an eternal story

I thought this article deserved another outing; it is timeless.

IP Draughts

Click here to visit the home page of the KCL Institute of Telecommunications Click here to visit the home page of the KCL Institute of Telecommunications

W is a professor at King’s College London, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a prolific inventor.  He has developed a new telecommunications technology in collaboration with C, who is a businessman and former army officer.  W has demonstrated the effectiveness of his technology with a working installation that he has set up to transfer data between central London and a point approximately 20 miles to the West.  The installation proves conclusively both that it is possible to transfer data over this distance in a novel way and that there is a public appetite for the technology.

There is no reason why the technology could not be applied in a similar way over much longer distances.  The advantages over existing technologies are great, and there is a large, potential market.  W’s technology is well protected with…

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The burning issue for IP lawyers

ucl-lawsIP Draughts and his colleagues are putting together the final programme for this year’s outing of the week-long course, IP Transactions: Law and Practice, which will be held at University College London from 3-7 April 2017. This will the fifth year that the course has been run.

As part of a refresh of the course, we are replacing a few of the sessions, and revising some others. As a result we have a 30 minute slot at 4.30 pm on Wednesday 5 April, that has not yet been filled.

burning-bushReaders of IP Draughts are creative, thoughtful, intelligent people, with their fingers on the pulse of what is important and topical in the worlds of IP transactions. So, what would you suggest for this slot? Is there a burning issue that IP transactional lawyers should be familiar with? Assume that the rest of the course deals with conventional subjects like IP and contract laws, IP contract drafting, practice in different sectors, etc.

If no-one comes up with a better solution, IP Draughts may have to fall back on discussing the implications of Brexit, including the importance of not making politically naive comments in a public forum.

drafting-book-4th-ednThe provider of the best answer (either on this blog or provided privately), as judged by IP Draughts, will receive a free copy of our latest publication, Drafting and Negotiating Commercial Contracts (Anderson and Warner, 4th edition, December 2016, Bloomsbury Professional Publishing, 378 pages).

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