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Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer

calton hillApologies for the lack of a posting last week.  IP Draughts and the Draughtatrix were enjoying themselves at the Edinburgh Festival.

The various festivals that go under the collective name Edinburgh Festival (including Festival proper, Fringe and Book Festival) are in full swing for the next few days.  Worth a trip.

IP Draughts recommends:

  • the Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer – a one-man play, set in the 18th century, about a failing Glasgow lawyer who is trying to marry off his humourless daughter and escape the clutches of a local businessman – very funny.
  • the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony – a gripping, edge-of-the seat performance, completely engrossing.
  • the Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show – a taster menu of comedians performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Of the comedians who performed when we visited this show, IP Draughts particularly enjoyed Joe Bor in his character as Jasper Cromwell Jones.
  • Calistoga – a Californian restaurant in a sleazy backstreet of central Edinburgh. Good value for excellent steaks and Californian wine.
  • A walk up Calton Hill – a very steep walk up to the top, but great views of the City when you get there.

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Thank you, m’Lord

my lordApologies for the lack of posts in the last two weeks.  IP Draughts has been rather busy dealing with a flurry of client matters and recruiting an additional IT lawyer.

Last week he also gave an all-day, in-house talk in Cambridge.  A big thank-you to the Research Contracts team at the University for making the visit so enjoyable.  He greatly appreciated the comments from several people about how much they enjoyed reading this blog, and how they passed articles on to colleagues when they found them interesting.

Lord Clement-Jones

Lord Clement-Jones

While we are on the subject of appreciation, IP Draughts is delighted, as a member of the Intellectual Property Working Party of the Law Society of England and Wales (IPWP), that an IPWP briefing paper has been extensively cited by Lord Clement-Jones in debates in the House of Lords about the Intellectual Property Bill that is currently progressing through Parliament.  Lord Clement-Jones expressed himself to be “indebted” to the Law Society for this paper during the Committee Stage of the Bill on 11 June, and he again quoted from it on the second day of debate on 18 June.

This leads on to a more general point, which is that the IPWP has been considering whether to run its own blog, to keep solicitors and others informed about developments in IP legislation, policy and practice in the UK and EU.  The blog would provide updates on the work of the IPWP, which seeks to represent the views of IP solicitors in England and Wales (often in conjunction with the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association and the City of London Law Society).  It would also enable a more direct engagement with English solicitors who are interested in this area, eg by enabling them to comment on articles on the blog.

Recent highlights of the IPWP’s work include:

  • Active involvement in the campaign to improve, and secure a UK involvement in, the Unified Patent.  This led to David Cameron negotiating high-level terms of the underlying treaties directly with his European counterparts.
  • Submissions on the IP Bill, mentioned above.
  • A campaign over several years to revise the ‘unjustified threats’ provisions of UK IP legislation, which was probably a factor in the Law Commission making it a current subject of review.  That review is ongoing and the IPWP will be making further submissions.
  • Attending meetings with Government ministers, officials and the IPO to discuss IP-related topics, including the implications for UK business if the UK left the EU.
  • Submissions on numerous other items of proposed EU legislation, including (to take one small example) the draft Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation, on which IP Draughts led.

talkIt seems to IP Draughts that an IPWP blog would be a useful way of engaging with others in the development of Law Society ‘positions’ on topics that can sometimes be overlooked by non-specialists, perhaps because the topics can seem rather technical and dry, or of limited relevance to mainstream commercial and legal life.  There are not, as far as IPWP is aware, any other similar blogs in other areas of the Law Society’s campaigning, and for some this might be regarded as a big step to take, requiring considerable volunteer effort with no certainty that any engagement will result.  IPWP members already commit a great deal of time to IPWP work.  Would running a blog significantly enhance the IPWP’s work, or would it be a damp squib?

What do readers think?

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International patent licensing rankings for 2013

top sixAlthough no official announcement has been made, the 2013 edition of IAM Patent 1000 is now available online.  This international guide to patent lawyers is one of the very few whose rankings coincide fairly closely with IP Draughts’ impressions of the market leaders in this field; all credit is due to the researchers.

This year, two of the contributors to this blog feature in the UK rankings: Mark Anderson and Stephen Brett.  It is a double celebration for Stephen, who recently married and is about to come back from honeymoon.  Mark makes it into the “highly recommended” top tier category for IP licensing, one of only 6 UK lawyers to do so.

IAM’s encomium for Anderson Law LLP reads as follows:

A slew of satisfied clients enthuse about the “considered and prompt approach” of this small but perfectly formed group. It provides an “excellent service that considers legal and commercial implications – it competes with the big boys in terms of quality, but is frequently able to undercut them on price”. Mandates are received from both the business and research communities, with licence agreements, consultancy contracts and revenue-sharing contracts its bread and butter. The group’s illustrious founder Mark Anderson is “technically brilliant”; his exhaustive knowledge of IP licensing was recently recognised by the EPO, which commissioned him to prepare training materials on the subject. Fellow expert Stephen Brett concentrates his busy practice on commercialisation issues for universities and the NHS.

slewThank you very much to all the clients who provided these references.  They are very gratifying.  Now we have to live up to them – we will do our best to do so!

While on the subject of legal rankings, we should not overlook IAM’s companion guide to trade mark practitioners, WTR 1000.  Anderson Law’s consultant, Isabel Davies, features in the latest edition of this guide, with the following write-up:

“Grand name” Isabel Davies … “Incredibly experienced, dedicated and determined”, she enjoys significant prestige on the market.

Congratulations are also due to IP Draughts’ friends and colleagues who are volunteer speakers on the UCL course, IP Transactions: Law and Practice, who feature in these rankings, including:

Mark Lubbock of Ashursts

Ashley Roughton of Counsel

Chris Shelley of Manches

Sally Shorthose of Bird & Bird

Matthew Warren of Bristows



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Tripping over 100,000 views

smokesIP Draughts loves data.  This website of London data, updated every 10 minutes, is wonderful, and IP Draughts has bookmarked it, although it is not immediately obvious what he will do with the information.  It is useful to know the height of the tide at Tower Bridge, but it is a few years since IP Draughts last canoed on the river in London.  He has a vivid recollection of that occasion, particularly of being overtaken under an arch of one of London’s bridges by the Merrie Thames, a tourist boat, while simultaneously coping with a fast-flowing tide, some large waves, and an inquisitive labrador standing up in the canoe.

Similarly, it is interesting to know how many Boris bikes are out on hire, and what the air quality is like in Bloomsbury, even if IP Draughts can’t think of an immediate, practical use for this information.

So, please indulge IP Draughts for reciting some data about this blog.  Our excuse is that we have recently received our 100,000th visit to the site.  If this site were a supermarket, we might have offered the 100,000th visitor the opportunity to fill a trolley with groceries, without charge.  But (to state the obvious) we’re not a supermarket, and we’re not that generous, and anyway we don’t know who the 100,000th visitor was.

According to WordPress’s records, we have received visits from people in approximately 200 countries (how many are there?).  We are currently running at between 200 and 250 visits on most weekdays.

100,000There have been 268 postings, and 383 comments on the blog.  The posting on which most comments were received is When is a licence not a licence? When it’s a covenant not to sue.

The most popular pages on the blog since it was set up in 2011, other than the home page, have been:

Assignment and change of control: vital boilerplate clauses in IP agreements? 3,394
Postgraduate diploma in IP transactions – an update 2,813
Inappropriate use of indemnities 2,335
Shall or will in contracts? 2,218
10 words and phrases you should never use in IP contracts 1,982
Well stacked wedding cakes… 1,626
Top 10 howlers when preparing contracts for signature 1,494
Hold harmless revisited 1,465
Do you need a science degree to be a good IP lawyer? 1,185
Don’t sign a binding letter of intent! 1,148

Thank you to all our readers for your support.  Please let us know if there are topics on which you think we should post and which might help us to achieve 200,000 viewings.

Cead Mile FailteCead Mile Failte


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