Category Archives: &Law Updates

Always hire people better than you

IP Draughts has usually tried to employ people that he thinks have more innate skills than him, more drive and a better personality. This was illustrated in a wonderful way last night, when IP Draughts’ partner (and former trainee) in Anderson Law, Paul Maclennan, won an award as “volunteer of the year” at the PraxisAuril annual conference.

For those who don’t know, PraxisAuril is the UK membership organisation for people in universities who are involved in interfacing with the commercial world, such as technology transfer managers. To quote the strapline on their website:

Our members enable universities and businesses to work in partnership, sharing research and developing discoveries for the benefit of society and the economy

Paul has been closely involved with the training committee of PraxisAuril, has chaired and spoken at their training courses (including courses that IP Draughts used to teach on) and has helped to train the next generation of trainers. The award is thoroughly deserved.

The award was announced at the gala dinner of the annual conference, which both Paul and IP Draughts attended.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see Paul win, as there was some high quality competition on the short list for the award. Fortunately, Paul had changed into a suit and tie (unlike IP Draughts), so his attire was immaculate!

IP Draughts was attending the conference to provide members with an update on a project being pursued by a PraxisAuril working group that he and Paula Alessandro of Queen Mary Innovation Ltd are co-chairing. Evidence of this presentation (just about) is below! The project is to develop some standard documents for university spin-out transactions, in consultation with representatives of universities and investors. We are nearly at the stage of having a term sheet finalised.

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Another step up the ladder

The 2019 edition of IAM Patent 1000 was published earlier this week. It is the only international set of rankings that focuses exclusively on patent lawyers and their firms.

Reading the names in the UK chapters of this publication prompts IP Draughts to reflect on something that is both banal and deeply personal: how, as professionals, we move up through the ranks, achieve greater or lesser degrees of success over a few decades, and eventually retire. Each fresh edition of a publication such as IAM Patent 1000 confirms this seemingly inevitable progression. People that IP Draughts respects and likes, such as Gill Grassie and Philip Westmacott, have retired in recent years, apparently at the height of their professional prowess. It is regrettable that there is no obvious career track into one’s mid-seventies for IP solicitors, unlike barristers who often become High Court judges, and sometimes end up in the Court of Appeal or (in the single case of David Kitchin) in the Supreme Court.

For the 2019 edition of IAM, IP Draughts is delighted to see that his partner, and former trainee, Lisa Allebone PhD is, once again, recommended as a leading UK practitioner for IP transactions. He hopes to see other deserving colleagues recommended in future editions.

IP transactions course

Several of IP Draughts’ stalwart colleagues on the annual UCL IP transactions course (which has been running now for 7 years) are recommended, including:

  • Mark Lubbock
  • Chris Shelley
  • Sally Shorthose
  • Matthew Warren

Book collaborators

He is also delighted to see that several of his international collaborators on his book on pharmaceutical agreements continue to be recommended, including:

  • Pamela Cox (USA – Illinois)
  • Christine Kanz (Germany)

BioLaw Europe

Another source of connections are the members of BioLaw Europe, an association of European lawyers that IP Draughts chairs. Members who feature in IAM include:

  • Stefan Kohler (Switzerland)
  • Denis Schertenlieb (France)

Bristows colleagues

It is remarkable, to IP Draughts’ mind, that so many of the patent litigators recommended in IAM are people whom he remembers as trainees or junior associates during the 7 years he spent at Bristows. Many of them are now leading lights at other firms. They include:

  • Simon Ayrton
  • Michael Burdon
  • Neil Coulson
  • Ralph Cox
  • Mike Gilbert
  • Penny Gilbert
  • Paul Harris
  • David Knight
  • Tim Powell
  • Justin Watts

The length of this list is testament to Bristows’ ability to recruit talented lawyers, in this case mostly during the 1980s and early 1990s. The firm continues to be a powerhouse of IP talent. But just think how much more dominant it might have been in the market today, if it had held on to some of the people in the above list. A strong culture is to be commended, but so is openness to new ideas and personalities.

Other names on the IAM lists (UK and overseas) are familiar from former dealings on transactions or policy work. It would be tedious to list them all.

Not appearing in the IAM lists is no disgrace – there are many talented lawyers that IP Draughts knows who would be at home in the company mentioned above.

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New partners in Anderson Law


Following our news, a few weeks ago, that Anderson Law’s offices had moved to the Manor House at Howbery Park, in Wallingford, IP Draughts can now report another development.

With immediate effect, Stephen Brett and AnnMarie Humphries have become partners in the firm. They join Mark, Paul and Lisa. IP Draughts is delighted that Stephen and AnnMarie have agreed to be partners in what is now a five-partner firm.

Stephen Brett has been with Anderson Law as a consultant since 2011. He was previously the senior in-house lawyer at what is now called Oxford University Innovations, for a 5-year period. He has a first degree in law from the University of Oxford and an LLM in computer law from Queen Mary, University of London. As well as working with the range of clients that Anderson Law has, he has developed a specialist practice working with NHS Trusts and government agencies.

AnnMarie Humphries joined Anderson Law as a trainee in 2011. She had previously spent 9 years at Unilever in various senior management roles, having started as a management trainee. She has a masters degree in chemical and bioprocess engineering with environmental management from the University of Bath, and is currently studying part-time for an LLM in intellectual property law from the University of Edinburgh. As well as working with the range of clients that Anderson Law has, she has developed a specialist practice working with computer games companies on transactional and regulatory issues.

One of AnnMarie’s first duties as a trainee was to design this website!

The firm has grown steadily since IP Draughts started it in his front room in Richmond, London, nearly 25 years ago. In 2000, the firm moved to Shillingford in Oxfordshire. In 2011, we converted to an LLP, when Paul became a partner. A couple of years later, Lisa joined the partnership.

We now have 12 people, and 2 new trainees will be joining us later in the year. This makes us one of the largest transactional IP practices in the country. Our main client groups include:

  • growing, high-tech companies (including life-science companies)
  • computer-games companies and their investors
  • universities and hospitals
  • government agencies
  • overseas law firms

Our core values are simple: technical excellence, high standards of service, and a straightforward approach, delivered by engaging lawyers who have good industry knowledge.

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A new era for Anderson Law

It has finally happened. The removal men came this morning and took the contents of Anderson Law’s offices away. As IP Draughts writes, the office is being reassembled at Howbery Business Park, in Wallingford, three miles away.

IP Draughts moved from London to Shillingford in 2000, and built a new house and office there a couple of years later. While that office was being built, we managed to squeeze four desks into an outbuilding in the garden, known as the Pigeon Loft (for the obvious reason that a previous owner had used it as a pigeon loft). Julie Hutson, then IP Draughts’ trainee, and now an in-house lawyer at the Wellcome Trust, had one of those desks. IP Draughts and the Draughtatrix lived in a caravan in the garden for a year.

Since then, the office has grown, and we now have 12 employees, with another two to start later in the year. It was time to find larger accommodation.

From today, the office is to be found in the top floor of the Manor House, a grand Victorian mansion at Howbery Business Park. Our rooms probably started life as the servants’ bedrooms. The house was built by a Member of Parliament in about 1850; he overreached himself with his building project, and ended up in a debtors’ prison in Oxford. In the mid-twentieth century, the house and its land was acquired by a government research station. Nowadays, the research station is a private company and is also the landlord of numerous companies that have offices and laboratories across the site.

We will have access to some spectacular conference rooms. If you would like us to run meetings there, such as negotiations, mediations or training, please let IP Draughts know. The site also has a restaurant and cafe, a gym and a nursery school.

IP Draughts will continue to use the Shillingford office as a home office, while also maintaining an office at Howbery Park.

The new office address is:

Anderson Law LLP, Manor House, Howbery Park, Benson Lane, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BA.

Telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged.

UPDATE. Here are some photos of IP Draughts new office, and the view from his window.

 

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