Category Archives: &Law Updates

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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Would you like to be a member of the IP Law Committee?

law societyNow that the Kat is out of the bag, IP Draughts can confirm what he has known, or thought he has known, for several weeks: that he has been appointed as the next Chairman of the Intellectual Property Law Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales. The appointment is for a 3-year term, starting in September.

A Law Society press release on this subject was issued a few minutes ago. IP Draughts’ haste to mention the topic is because the Committee is also in search of new members. The deadline for applying is 5pm today, so if you are interested (and are a member of the Law Society) you will need to apply this afternoon. Details of the vacancies and how to apply can be found here. Expenses are paid (subject to loads of rules) and there is also an annual allowance of about £60o. (Wow!)

In IP Draughts’ unbiased view, being a member of the Committee enables you to make a contribution to the IP profession, and to influence new legislation in the UK, EU and internationally. If you have experience as an IP lawyer, have a mindset where you think about the legal issues involved, and are willing to contribute to discussions and position papers, you may well be the person we are looking for.

The background to this recruitment drive is that for the last decade (and earlier, but IP Draughts is not familiar with that period) the committee operated as a lowly sub-committee, and was largely left to get on with its work undisturbed by Law Society protocols. The work was done very well, and eventually (a few months ago) the Law Society recognised this fact, and decided to upgrade us to being a full committee. However, one consequence of the increase in status is that we are now required to comply with Law Society procedures for committees, including a requirement to retire members and appoint new ones in a 3-year cycle.

The formalities for appointing the Chairman are even more detailed than for members. As well as undergoing SRA checks, and approval by a Board of the Law Society, IP Draughts was required to take 2.5 hours of online training on the subjects Disability Confident and Unconscious Bias, and to pass two exams in these subjects, which he has done. At least IP Draughts is now fully conscious of his biases.

 

 

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