Category Archives: News

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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Feedback

After a flurry of posts over the Christmas period, IP Draughts is feeling lazy, so will just note some feedback on recent posts.

First, his poll on whether Captain May should enter the neutral zone to rescue the Kobayashi Maru – an imperfect analogy for the current political dilemma over Brexit. The results are in:

  • 55% of readers who responded to the poll favour abandoning the Kobayashi Maru / Brexit. If this involves a mutiny against Captain May, so be it.
  • 10% think she should continue with her deal with the Klingons / European Commission.
  • 17% think she should go all-guns-blazing into the neutral zone / no-deal Brexit.
  • 17% favour other solutions (with no single theme emerging, as far as IP Draughts can tell).

Readers of this blog may not be entirely representative of the country as a whole. The above figures add up to 99% due to rounding.

Next, you heard it first from IP Draughts. A week after his post on the legal aid solicitor who was ordered to pay back £22 million to the Legal Aid Fund, the national press has finally picked up the story and adorned it with colourful details about the central character, Mr Blavo. See, for example, these stories in the Times and the Daily Mail.

Finally, and again on the subject of polls, IP Draughts’ poll about unconscious bias against lawyers produced some interesting results.

  • 48% of people who responded thought many lawyers have highly relevant skills for chairing roles – a reassuring result for IP Draughts in his quest for an interesting chairing role.
  • 44% were neutral on the subject – they thought it depended on the individual. That kind of objective, analytical stance is also welcomed.
  • 6% were sceptical about lawyers as chairs of committees and boards.
  • 2% (1 person) had another answer, namely “Should make no difference, diffent people bring different skills.” IP Draughts is inclined to add this result to the “neutral” response mentioned above.

While the results sound very sensible to IP Draughts, he is conscious that the readership of this blog may have a different approach to some of the appointing bodies for chairing roles.

Best wishes for 2019 to all of IP Draughts’ readers, whatever their views.

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