Category Archives: courses and training

Course on IP transactions: quinquennial review

In April this year, University College London’s Faculty of Laws ran the fifth, annual outing of  Intellectual Property Transactions: Law and Practice. This 5-day course qualifies for 29 continuing education hours.* We have approximately 30 volunteer speakers on the course, and typically the students number in the mid-30s. The course seems to be well-established and to be achieving its purpose, which is to provide a mixture of doctrinal and practical teaching for early-stage practitioners in IP transactions. We hope it will run for many years to come.

Date for your diary: the course will run next year from 16-20 April 2018. Details, including a link to the course brochure and application form, can be found here.

After 5 years of the course, IP Draughts hopes readers will indulge him in some reflections about establishing and running what some attenders have described to him as the only course of its kind, anywhere in the world.

IP Draughts had thought about running a university course on IP transactions for many years. In 2003, he decided to do something about it. He sent out lots of emails to people who might be interested in hosting or participating in it, including law schools and business schools. He received good feedback from potential speakers, but nothing concrete from any institution that might host it.

He decided to approach IP law professors at leading UK universities. He had polite conversations with several, but nothing of substance resulted until in 2006 he contacted the late Hugh Laddie, former patents judge and then a newly-appointed professor of IP law and UCL. This led to some positive discussion in 2008, but very sadly Hugh died before the idea could be taken much further.

In 2010, IP Draughts contacted Robin Jacob, who had just been appointed as a replacement for Hugh Laddie as professor of IP law at UCL. Discussions followed over the next 2 years. Meanwhile some momentum had built up in finding speakers, helped by some very positive write-ups on the IPKat blog. (IP Draughts attributes these write-ups to having been one of Jeremy Phillips’ students in about 1981.) We also had some discussion on this blog. In 2012, we held a successful meeting of potential speakers at UCL, hosted by Robin Jacob.

Finally, the course started in 2013, and received very good feedback. It has run every year since then. UCL Laws seems to be very happy about it.

Here are some reflections.

  1. It took 10 years to get the course started. As someone with no academic track-record, but plenty of experience of teaching commercial courses for practitioners, IP Draughts found it very difficult to get universities to understand how good the idea was and why it would be beneficial to the faculty to run it. The route-in proved to be to engage with IP professors who straddled the academic and practitioner worlds, in the form of two IP judges who, on retirement, had moved into academia. Even then, it took several years of discussion. Universities just aren’t naturally set up to take practitioner courses seriously, no matter how much they may protest to the contrary. It is only a few, such as UCL, that have the outward-looking interest, and employ the necessary staff, to run courses of this kind – Lisa Penfold, take a bow.
  2. A key to making this course work is to have an individual directing it, who has a clear idea of what he wants to do and who understands what the intended audience wants and needs. In principle, this function could be done by a committee, but it is important to have a strong, directing hand. This feeds into the structure and content of the course, the appearance and content of course materials, and generally in the ‘tone’ of the course. From the outset, we have ensured that speakers don’t just give their ‘standard’ talk, but instead focus on topics that fit with other topics that are discussed throughout the week.
  3. At the same time, we do respond to feedback, and have tweaked the content over the years. This will always be a work in progress, but we hope we have got the basics right.
  4. Another important element is the setting for the course. Although it is normally held at the law faculty, for the last 2 years we have had to find alternative accommodation while the law faculty is renovated. This year’s outing, at another academic department, was more successful than last year’s, at a busy hotel. There seems to be something about the academic environment that encourages concentration and learning.
  5. So far, we have avoided making the course part of the ‘official’ courses of UCL – degrees and diplomas. This was recommended to IP Draughts during the planning of the first year’s course. There have been some benefits in this route, as it avoids us having to fit within university procedures that may not have been designed with a practitioner course in mind. But on the other hand, it would be good to give students the option of making the course part of a larger LLM or diploma course. The Oxford IP diploma course has gone the other route, of being an official diploma course of the University of Oxford, and IP Draughts understands that this has created some tensions. We are keeping this topic under review.
  6. IP Draughts is grateful to UCL Laws for welcoming the course, and recognises that they are ahead of many other, leading UK universities in running practitioner-led courses. And he welcomes positive noises from the central university hierarchy about engaging with practitioner training. But he feels that they (and other universities) have yet to engage fully with practitioners. Practitioner training and research are still a sideline, nice to have for the revenue it generates, and for demonstrating ‘impact’, but it shouldn’t get in the way of the ‘higher calling’ of the academy. In IP Draughts’ opinion, a practitioner focus has just as much place in a university as a pure academic focus, and should be given equal treatment.


* For those UK legal professionals who are still required to do a set number of hours. UCL Laws is registered for CPD purposes with the Law Society, Bar Council, and CIPA.

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Autumn CPD courses – advance warning

IP Draughts is currently giving a series of one-day courses at the UCL Faculty of Laws in central London. The remaining courses are:

22 June – Drafting Legal Clauses in Commercial Contracts

26 June – Drafting, Understanding and Working with Contracts – An Advanced-Level Workshop

3 July – Advanced IP Licensing

This week’s course, and as far as IP Draughts knows, the other two mentioned above, will be held at the law faculty’s temporary offices at Bidborough House in Bidborough Street, just down from St Pancras station. These offices have air-conditioning! Details on how to book can be found at the links on this page.

This posting is also to give advance notice of an Autumn series of courses, also to be run in central London through UCL Faculty of Laws, and which are scheduled to be:

26 September – Drafting IP Terms in Research Contracts

3 October – Advanced IP Licensing

10 October – Drafting Legal Clauses in Commercial Contracts

17 October – Drafting Contracts with Universities

24 October – Drafting Clinical Trial Agreements

31 October – (1) Working with Confidentiality Agreements, and (2) Working with Research Collaboration Agreements

Except for the 31 October event, all of these courses have been run before at UCL Laws, and details can be found in the archive section (see top right hand of the CPD page of their website). The programme for the 31 October event has yet to be finalised but will consist of a half-day on confidentiality agreements and a half-day on research collaboration agreements.

If you are interested in the Autumn programme, please check on the UCL Laws website in the next week or two for further details including how to register.

Finally, IP Draughts would like to give advance warning of another panel discussion event on contract drafting, involving Ken Adams, IP Draughts and a selection of excellent speakers. It will be held on the evening of Tuesday 7 November 2017. Some readers may recall last year’s equivalent event, Dysfunction in Contract Drafting, which has been saved for posterity on YouTube.

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Contract seminars over the next few weeks

IP Draughts will be running a series of one-day seminars at the UCL Faculty of Laws over the next few weeks. The full list and dates appear below.

Or, at least, they will run if we get sufficient numbers of bookings. Some, such as Advanced IP Licensing, and IP Terms in Research Contracts, always seem to be popular. Others, such as Introduction to Contracts and Advanced Contract Drafting, are less predictable in their appeal.

Which is a shame, as IP Draughts thinks they all provide lively and useful training for their intended audiences. Perhaps the UCL Laws mailing list, which is skewed towards IP practitioners in view of the popularity of IBIL (Institute of Brand and Innovation Law) events, doesn’t pick up enough general contract audiences.

Some of our courses run more frequently as in-house courses than as public courses. If you have at least 3 or 4 colleagues who want to join you in attending a course, it may be more cost-effective, and time-effective, for IP Draughts to visit you to give a seminar. In the last few months, he has given in-house talks to companies, universities and NHS Trusts, in locations as varied as Cambridge, Coventry, Eindhoven and London, and has discussed the feasibility of running seminars in Dublin and Edinburgh.

The next batch of courses will be:

25 May – Introduction to Contracts (designed for non-lawyers and trainees)

30 May – Advanced IP Licensing (for experienced practitioners)

6 June – IP Terms in Research Contracts (for lawyers and commercial managers)

13 June – Drafting Clinical Trial Agreements (for lawyers, commercial managers and trial managers)

22 June – Drafting Legal Terms in Commercial Contracts (for practitioners who want to understand better topics such as warranties, indemnities, entire agreement, law and jurisdiction clauses, etc)

26 June – Advanced Contract Drafting (for experienced practitioners who want to focus on improving their contract drafting generally)

Details of these courses, location and cost can be found on the UCL Laws website here.

UCL Laws is registered as a CPD provider with the SRA, Bar Standard Board and IPReg.

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Good luck in your exams

Next Monday, some of this year’s students on the UCL IP transactions course will take a 2-hour exam. The exam asks a series of practical questions about different aspects of IP transactions. It is marked ‘blind’ in accordance with UCL Laws standard procedures, and according to a marking scheme that IP Draughts has produced in consultation with a couple of the other lecturers on the course.

This is the fifth year of the course (and the following exam). In total, about 200 people have taken or taught on the course since it started in 2013.

A date has already been set for next year’s outing of the course – 16 to 20 April 2018 – though the course brochure will not be preparing until later in the year. It is likely to be similar to last year’s brochure, a link to which can be found at the end of a web page here. If you are interested in attending, please contact Lisa Penfold at UCL Faculty of Laws.

IP Draughts wishes the best of luck to those who are taking the exam this year, and looks forward to meeting you at UCL on Monday.

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