Category Archives: News

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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Dramatising science and technology: can it be done?

This week, IP Draughts has been to two performances that tried, with some success, to entertain us with true stories about the development of technology.

The first of these was a trip to see the film, The Current War. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, it dramatises the rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the development of electricity networks in the USA. Specifically, it focusses on Edison’s advocacy of direct current systems versus Westinghouse’s espousal of alternating current. Tesla has a supporting role. JP Morgan appears periodically with his chequebook. Claims of patent ownership and infringement feature at various points.

Readers with long memories will recall IP Draughts’ disappointment with the film, The Descendants, in which George Clooney played a conveyancing lawyer and grappled with the rule against perpetuities. The Draughtatrix seemed to enjoy that one. This time, she cracked first, commenting during the film  that she didn’t care what happened next.

Nor did IP Draughts by that point. The problem was the script. IP Draughts has read several books about Edison and Tesla, and feels there is a great film to be made about their rivalry. But this wasn’t it.

IP Draughts is now on his annual trip to the Edinburgh Festival, and last night saw a Fringe show, Harriet Braine, Les Admirables. It was partly about famous women scientists and inventors. She chose Hedy Lamar and Ada Lovelace, among others, to illustrate her theme. Like the caption from the Punch cartoon, it was good in parts, and IP Draughts is glad he saw it, but it needed more editing and focus.

It seems that turning science history into high-quality entertainment is hard.

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Read our 600 posts

This image illustrated a blog post that referred to Mr Pettifog throwing badly-drafted contracts on the fire.

This blog has an archive of over 600 articles, most of which are just as relevant today as when they were written, up to 8 years ago. If you want to read some commentary on IP clauses, indemnities, or other contractual points, why not use the search function on this site?

Some of our posts continue to be very popular – it is a mystery to IP Draughts why some catch people’s attention and not others. Below is a screenshot from the admin pages of this website, showing the most popular pages overall, since 2011.

Go on, you know you want to…

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Birthday honours for IP

Congratulations to Hector MacQueen, Professor of Private Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has been awarded a CBE for services to legal scholarship, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019.

IP Draughts has come across Professor MacQueen as an IP specialist who has contributed to several public projects in the IP field, most notably as a member of the Scottish Law Commission. He is delighted to see Prof MacQueen’s substantial contribution to IP scholarship recognised.

With that exception, it is slim pickings in the Birthday Honours for IP or technology transfer, or indeed for law. Leaving aside awards for law enforcement, and for civil servants involved in the law, the most notable entry that IP Draughts found when searching for “law” was an award for services to lawn bowls. Congratulations to Tony Allcock, former world champion.

 

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