Well, it has finally happened. The course that IP Draughts has been trying to set up since 2005 took place last week in Room 5 of the Graduate Wing of the Faculty of Laws of University College London, with the title Intellectual Property Transactions: Law and Practice. An initial cohort of 30 students was taught by 24 experienced practitioners, comprising 21 solicitors, 2 barristers and a retired Court of Appeal judge.
Students who attended the entire week’s course earned 29 hours of continuing education, and took away 5 ring binders of useful information about IP transactions (in total, 82 documents, most of them created specially for this course). For the really enthusiastic, there will be a 2 hour examination in 2 weeks’ time.
Based on the very positive feedback that has been received so far, it seems likely that the course will be run again and it may become an annual event. This should become clear in coming weeks.
IP Draughts learnt some truths about IP transactional practice during the course of the week. Some of these truths he kind-of-knew already, but the course brought them into sharper focus in his mind. In no particular order:
- A significant proportion of IP transactional lawyers in private practice focus on supporting corporate deals and have little experience of stand-alone IP transactions.
- The next most popular area of practice for IP lawyers in private practice is information and communications technology (ICT) transactions.
- Biotech and pharmaceuticals are regarded by some IP lawyers as a very specialist area.
- IP transactions involving universities are not regarded as relevant to their practice by some City lawyers – essentially because their high hourly rates mean that they have very little involvement with such transactions.
- There are some very bright people working at universities, including non-lawyers, who practise in the IP transactional field, and who can more than ‘hold their own’ with City lawyers if given the information and training to do so.
- Patent and trade mark attorneys working in industry are sometimes asked to advise on IP transactions even though they have no training in the subject; this course will assist them in their work.
- Risk allocation – particularly in the use of warranties – is of greater importance in corporate transactions than it is in many stand-alone IP transactions.
- There seem to be lots of Australians and New Zealanders who practise IP law in London. They are generally very bright and personable.
- Barristers are good at public speaking (big surprise… not!)
- Lawyers working on media transactions have the best slides.
- Lawyers working on IT transactions have the gift of the gab.
- IT lawyers don’t always recognise Sir Robin Jacob, and are quite surprised when he appears half-way through their lectures and sits down next to them.