The UK’s New Year’s Honours List for 2019 is published today. There are slim pickings for lawyers (other than those involved in “law and order”, i.e. the criminal justice system), and even slimmer pickings for IP lawyers.
The closest that IP Draughts was able to find to a bona fide IP specialist was David Gareth Watts, who has been awarded an MBE. The citation states that he is a business analyst at the UK Intellectual Property Office, and his contribution is summarised as “For services to the Economy, charity and Mental Health Services”. (What is it with the random distribution of capital letters?)
Congratulations to Mr Watts. The citation indicates that his contribution is wider than IP. IP Draughts has not been able to find much else about him. His LinkedIn profile (if IP Draughts has found the right one) is very brief.
Has IP Draughts missed anyone? He wondered about mentioning the knighthood for Professor Jonathan Montgomery, Professor of Healthcare Law at UCL, but it is rather a stretch; the prof is interested in ethics and regulation rather than IP.
IP Draughts acknowledges that there are many other areas of public life where contributions deserve to be recognised, and that IP law is a small part of the picture. But this field of law contributes significantly to the UK economy. The honours system is happy to recognise contributions to business from dozens of people whose jobs are as varied as florists and civil servants. There are even a few entrepreneurs in technology-based fields, eg Stephen Coleman, CEO of Codebase, who has been awarded an OBE for “services to Technology Entrepreneurship”.
In a list with around 1,150 names, it is disappointing that there aren’t a few more names from the field of intellectual property law.