Category Archives: &Law Updates

Execution of Documents – third edition now available

drafting confidentiality agreementsEarly in 2003, IP Draughts and his colleague, Victor Warner, were chatting with the publishing manager of the Law Society of England and Wales. We were in the final stages of completing our first book with them, Drafting Confidentiality Agreements, which is now in its third edition.*



The conversation turned to an old-fashioned book that the Law Society then published, on the subject of oaths and affidavits. This could be done so much better, commented IP Draughts, and he explained how he thought it should be done, and how the subject should be broadened to cover other types of documents that a solicitor is called upon to draft and execute.

IP Draughts is more guarded nowadays, in his conversations with publishing managers.

Untitled-1Twelve-and-a-half years later, the third edition of Execution of Documents has just been published. The book now runs to more than 400 pages. It includes material that is relevant to IP Draughts’ legal practice, including how to execute contracts as deeds, how to execute powers of attorney, and the law on electronic signatures. Other parts are more relevant to litigators, including chapters on statements of truth, statutory declarations and affidavits. As a solicitor and notary, Victor was well-qualified to write the chapter on notarisation.

The broad, ‘general practice’ coverage of the book is perhaps what led the two leading UK journals for general-practice solicitors to review it. Reviewing an earlier edition, Solicitors Journal commented:

It is written in clear, plain language and in ample detail for its intended audience. This is a useful and practical reference book for practitioners containing many precedents, both traditional and modern. It is a first class ‘dipper’.

New Law Journal, the chief rival to Solicitors Journal, preferred the following comments:

This is, for a highly technical law book, a riveting read. Keep it on your shelves and you’ll be confident that you will have the answer to most issues about how to make a legal document work.

A book of this kind will never generate enough royalties to cover the costs of writing it. The market is far too small. But we get satisfaction from doing a job well, providing useful practice notes for ourselves and other solicitors, and seeing complimentary reviews.


*The first and second editions were written jointly by IP Draughts and his colleague Simon Keevey-Kothari, who now works at Carpmaels and Ransford.

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Tripping over 1,000 subscribers

1000IP Draughts is delighted to announce that this blog now officially has 1,000 subscribers, in addition to readers who are informed of postings via LinkedIn and some other sites.

Here are some more, useless statistics:

  • the blog has been running for a little over 4 years
  • there is no paid advertising
  • the site is within a gnat’s crotchet of 300,000 “hits” (page views)
  • it contains just under 400 articles
  • it has nearly 600 published comments
  • traffic is currently running at around 10,000 page views per month
  • in 2012 we won an American Bar Association award, as a member of its Blawg100 (the only site outside North America to receive this award)
  • the most popular article on the blog is about damages not being an adequate remedy in confidentiality agreements. This article has been viewed nearly 18,000 times and continues to be very popular.
  • sockThe countries with the most readers are the US and the UK; these countries have very similar numbers of page views. Next, but some way behind, come Australia, Canada, India and Singapore, and then a selection of European countries.

As ever, we are keen to hear from readers. Please tell us what you like and don’t like about the site.

Thank you for your continued support.


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Rankings for IP lawyers 2015

top dogRegular readers of this blog may recall that IP Draughts has strong views on the value of publications that rank lawyers. Most are a version of vanity publishing, where you pay the publication for an entry and in return are given a grandiloquent title, such as European Plant Varieties Lawyer of the Decade. Sometimes, the publication plays a dance of the seven veils, in which they tell you have been shortlisted or that you have won an award, but they are coy about what the award is, and invite you to pay for an entry in their publication. The award tends to evaporate if you don’t play ball.

In recent months, IP Draughts has received numerous awards or would-be awards from publications that he has not heard of (or has heard of only because they contacted him in earlier years). Emails from these publications tend to be quickly deleted.

It is tempting to damn all legal rankings as useless and self-serving. But that would be wrong. Some are very useful, and IP Draughts has used them to help him find lawyers in other jurisdictions or in other disciplines. As with restaurant reviews, the trick is to distinguish between the useful ones and the mere puffs.

Within the UK and Europe, and within the intellectual property field, he rates only three: Chambers Directory, Legal 500 and IAM Patent 1000. He has used all of these to find lawyers that he has subsequently instructed.

IP Draughts’ firm is still relatively small, though we have grown in recent years. So far we have taken the view that we don’t have a large enough client base to make submissions to all three of these directories. Making submissions involves naming client referees, who are often contacted by the publication in question. We prefer not to try the patience of key clients by asking them to act as referees for 3 publications. To date, we have omitted Legal 500 from our submissions.

iam 1000IAM Patent 1000 has just released its rankings for 2015. The paper copy of the 2015 edition arrived in the post today. At the time of writing the IAM website is still showing the 2014 rankings.

We are delighted to be ranked for UK patent transactions again. Mark Anderson and Stephen Brett receive individual recommendations. The editorial commentary on our firm for 2015 includes the following text:

 Now a decade old [actually two decades] and home to nine professionals [ten now, and eleven from August], Anderson Law has reaped the benefits of its carefully developed blueprint. It is one of the few UK outfits to specialise exclusively in transactions, serving a specific clientele composed of universities, research bodies and SMEs [and the occasional large, multi-national]. A nuanced understanding of the lifecycle of a startup ensures that its advice is on the money from inception to exit. Government bodies are another key source of instructions; in 2014 it drafted a suite of template agreements and guidelines for Enterprise Ireland…

“Everyone at the firm is knowledgeable, flexible, personable, and able to deliver a quality outcome on time and to budget.” [Thank you – that sums up what we want to do!]



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You can’t always get what you want (from your lawyer)

Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes...

Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes…

IP Draughts has just returned from Barcelona, where he attended the inaugural meeting of BioLawEurope, a referral network of European lawyers who advise the life-sciences sector.

The network currently comprises lawyers from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Many of the member firms are small, specialist practices. Many are listed in Chambers Directory and other reputable guides.

One of the conclusions that we came to at our meeting, was that BioLawEurope is not intended to be a vehicle for attracting new work – it is not a marketing organisation. If it is successful, it will help us to provide more and better services to our existing clients.

The value of such a network depends to a large extent on trust. Just as a client trusts you to provide a good service, you need to trust the other members of the network to provide an equally good service. If you refer work to them and they don’t provide a good service, your reputation suffers.

For this reason, we are not going to ‘promise the world’ for this network until we have had time to get to know one another better, and worked together on a few projects. Let’s take stock in 2, 3 or even 5 years’ time, and see whether it has been successful.

In the meantime, many of our clients are engaged in international activities, whether it be conducting research or clinical trials in several European countries, or licensing IP for an international territory. Despite some international harmonisation, many of the laws affecting such activities remain resolutely national. Even in the largest firms, multi-jurisdictional legal advice on life-sciences agreements is hard to obtain. And even harder to obtain to a consistent standard. For many large firms, there simply isn’t the volume of work in a niche area like life sciences, to justify hiring teams of specialists in every jurisdiction.

Some clients rely on the brand name of an international firm, and don’t think too closely about whether the service they get is consistent across jurisdictions. As the saying goes, no-one got fired for choosing IBM – or its equivalent for legal services. Many of the firms in the BioLawEurope network have made a living out of sophisticated clients who know what they want, and who find the best lawyer for the job, wherever they are located.

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