Category Archives: &Law Updates

TT4 has landed

Waiting for IP Draughts when he arrived home last night were two cardboard boxes containing his and Victor’s complimentary copies of the fourth edition of Technology Transfer (TT4).

He is very pleasantly surprised to see the book in print, a mere fortnight after the proofs went to the typesetters. His past experience has been a lead time of 2-3 months. Just-in-time manufacturing has finally reached the publishing industry!

IP Draughts’ longstanding colleague and former trainee, Victor Warner, has been responsible for updating most of TT4, and he has done a very good job. Much has changed in the laws affecting IP transactions since the third edition was published a decade ago. (It is nearly 25 years since the first edition was published, then a paperback under the Butterworths imprint, and then called Technology: The Law of Exploitation and Transfer.)

First edition, 1996

As with previous editions, the book considers law and practice issues through the lens of particular types of commercial agreement, particularly IP licences and R&D collaborations. This is still a relatively unusual way to write a serious law book – many law tomes are focused more on the perspective of the courts, or of academic enquiry, rather than on the commercial transaction.

The book is available direct from the publishers here, or from Amazon UK here.

Similar approach to teaching?

IP Draughts would like to see commercial law taught this way in leading law schools – teaching legal principles from the perspective of real transactions, rather than the other way around. If this had been done when he first studied law at university he would have been far more engaged in the subject. He felt that university law favoured people with very good memories and a capacity for learning dry principles, divorced from their practical context. He doesn’t dismiss those abilities, but it is not the way his mind works, and he suspects there may be many others who share his views, and his way of learning and thinking.

He would like to put this idea into practice, possibly at UCL, but it really needs some sponsorship to set up an institute that would also provide a setting for debate between practitioners, academics and judges – similar to the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law, but with more of a transactional focus. Please let IP Draughts know if you think your firm or organisation might be prepared to sponsor such a venture.



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Filed under &Law Updates, Book review, Intellectual Property, Legal practice

Sexagenerians of the world, unite!

IP Draughts’ tripometer of life has recently shifted its gears. The second wheel from the right now displays a 6. If the algorithms of WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn will permit him to say so, he is now a sexagenarian.

He has been studying the law for over 40 years, and practising commercial and IP law for over 35 years. He enjoys his professional life, and has no plans to retire, or to stop his other current roles, including teaching and writing.

He would like the next 15 years or so to count, though. Not cruising along, but building on past experiences to take on new challenges. He has a few irons in the fire, such as trying to raise interest in developing international standards for IP agreements. And recently qualifying as a mediator. He has some experience of policy work and chairing organisations. And his client work has been taking some interesting new directions.

But where these strands will take him is unclear. Searching to find a project can be frustrating. It is great when a new project has started, and one can apply thought and effort to make it a success.

Please consider IP Draughts for any interesting new projects that you may have.



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It’s all go, in the IP world…

On the day after the night before – when the UK left the EU – there are too many distractions for IP Draughts to get maudlin. A small sign is the more than 50 work-related emails which came into his inbox yesterday.

  1. Technology Transfer, 4th edition: the final proofs of our ‘flagship’ book went off to the typesetters yesterday morning. It is now over 1,000 pages – a real tome. It is 10 years since the last edition, and much has changed in the law surrounding TT agreements. While you are waiting for it to be published, you could always read one of our other books.
  2. IP Transactions course: Or, you could book on our annual, 5-day course on IP transactions, which has its 8th outing at UCL Laws in April. Or, on one of our one-day courses at UCL, most of which can also be run as in-house courses.  Applications for the 5-day course are now coming in thick and fast – IP Draughts approved several applications yesterday.
  3. Consequences of Brexit for IP registrations. This is a huge subject, which we hope will be fully and appropriately addressed as part of the negotiations over the UK’s future relationship with the EU. One point of difficulty emerged last week – it seems that the European Plant Variety Office has a notice on their website, alerting organisations who have plant breeders’ rights that that they need to have a representative based in the EU, (i.e. not the UK) from the end of January 2020. Colleagues assure me that this is incorrect and that UK representatives are acceptable until the end of the transition period, i.e. the end of December 2020. Thanks to PraxisAuril for alerting IP Draughts to this issue.
  4. Model term sheet for spin-out transactions. While on the subject of PraxisAuril, IP Draughts is disappointed (to put it mildly) that certain members of the Board of PraxisAuril have delayed adoption of the model term sheet for university spin-out transactions that a working group of PraxisAuril finalised last year, after many months of work. The Board was consulted at various stages in the development of the term sheet, as were representatives of universities and the investment community. It is frustrating that there is an issue at this late stage in the process, but he hopes it can be resolved soon. Disclosure: IP Draughts and Paula Alessandro of QMUL co-chaired this working group.
  5. Mediation of IP agreements. Flushed with his success in passing the CEDR assessment to become an Accredited CEDR Mediator, IP Draughts has produced a Profile or flyer for his mediation services, and may in due course dedicate part of his firm’s website to ADR services. The Profile is available here: msa mediator profile 2020. Please consider naming IP Draughts as your chosen mediator in the dispute resolution clause of your contracts.
  6. Negotiation techniques – great book: IP Draughts is grateful to Gill Mansfield, whom he met when attending a mediation course at WIPO in Geneva several years ago, for her recommendation of the following book: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. The book is written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss. It is very readable, and IP Draughts thoroughly recommends it. Many of the techniques described in the book, such as active listening and asking open questions, overlap with the techniques that CEDR teaches on its mediation skills course. But the analogy shouldn’t be taken too far. Working as an outsider – mediator – to get two parties to agree is ultimately a different skill to working as a participant in a negotiation to get a good deal.

Finally, IP Draughts hopes that his friends and colleagues in the EU will continue to think of the UK as a reliable partner. More than half the population seems to want to be in the EU, and far more than half of business people and professionals do.


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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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