Friday, 29 February 2008
Following Jeremy's comment I am reposting the link here: http://www.legalweek.com/Articles/1100086/Links+tops+law+firms+in+'08+Superbrands+survey.html
If it still fails to work, then copying and pasting the link into your browser should work. It's worth looking at because there are a number of other related articles which may be of interest.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
"Scotland's Murgitroyd Group have acquired rival European patent and trademark attorney practice Kennedys Patent Agency Limited in a £3.4million deal.This raises interesting issues concerning putting a price on an IP practice -- an option that a sole practitioner may want to consider when either implementing an exit strategy or going in with another firm. Obviously it's not possible to know the details that drove the valuation in this instance, but it would be good to hear from readers who have had to put a value on their practices recently.
Under the terms of the agreement, £2.4million is being paid in cash, with the remainder being paid over three years.
Kennedys, who have additional offices in Aberdeen and Newcastle, were founded in 1997 by David Kennedy and Neil McKechnie.
With the exception of Kennedy and McKechnie, all of the firm's patent and trademark attorneys are remaining with the company.
Murgitroyd say the deal will boost their patent and trademark practices".
Thursday, 21 February 2008
In the meantime the Solicitors Regulation Authority - through the new Code of Conduct which came into effect on 1 July – has introduced a number of provisions designed to ensure that law firms are run as businesses – it being recognized that to survive in the new climate, law firms must be well-run, and financially aware.
There will undoubtedly be an impact on trade mark and patent attorneys too under the Legal Services reforms – especially once the multi disciplinary rules are brought into effect. So, perhaps when we next meet as a group the Legal Services Reforms might be a useful topic on which to have a speaker. We could then follow it with a discussion about the likely impact on us small niche firms? Anyone interested?
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
The profession is impatiently waiting for the new and improved electronic trademark filing system. One member, who was suffering posted this to the group:
I tried to file on on-line trade mark application yesterday evening, having failed to do it from the office because our firewall seems to be set so as to prohibit access to anything you might actually need for work. I navigated to the form on the Patent Office (you know what I mean) web site, and up came an error message telling me I had to use Internet Explorer!
I dashed off a quick complaint to the Webmaster, pointing out that not everyone in the world has sold his or her soul to Microsoft and a growing number of eccentrics use Firefox - some people even go so far as to use Apple products (non-PCs, perhaps?). When I think about it, requiring people to use IE amounts to forcing them to use Windows, and it is not the government's job to help Microsoft achieve world
I wondered whether anyone else in this group has faced similar
Mike Hewlett at the Patent Office replied first thing this morning to tell me that the online form will be replaced in April, and acknowledging its limitations at present, which was very decent of him. Perhaps others who feel as I do would like to lobby for the next version to be made a bit more compatible.
Meanwhile back in Newport they are planning their post Easter Workshops to
launch the new system. Details here. Book your
place by email to Online TM3workshops. So see you on Easter Tuesday in London with your Mac Air Book or your Linux Portable and lets see. For those who need Easter hols you can go to Newport
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Monday, 18 February 2008
Friday, 15 February 2008
At our gathering in London last night, Duncan Bucknell shared his insights withers onto the future of global patent litigation in the pharmaceutical field. You might have thought that the trademarks of vision as would be snoring but his vigour and commercial analysis of the issues kept is interested. In the subsequent lively discussion, we did identify that one unique selling point that solo practitioners have is their ability to show to the world a really recognizable position. Duncan's strength lay in his advance planning of the type of work and clients that he wished to focus on and then making sure that he did things, including giving away copious amounts of free relevant analysis on his website -things like his scorecards- that showed he did have the expertise and ability to help them. We all agreed that it is not enough to say you can do things-that has to be some way of demonstrating it.
Duncan acknowledged that he was a disciple of David Maister a marketing guru who also provides a lot of free information.
Another solo strength lies in being able to adopt ideas and implement plans quickly. None of those tedious law firm approval processes, marketing committees and budget approvals. A little chat with yourself and all is full steam ahead. I am sure that many of us will be pondering this morning whether we should put client guarantees on our bills giving the opportunity for the client to pay what he thinks work is worth if it is not happy with the total. The obligation on the client is to explain in full why he was not completely satisfied with the value received. This is something which allows a client to feel confident about what may be considered to be some sort of risk in taking advice from a smaller organisation.
A big thank you to CIPA for making their hall available to us and, of course, to Duncan for making the time in his schedule.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Under the new risk based approach, it is not always necessary to check identity when first instructed (even though as a matter of good practice, firms may want to continue to do so). However, much stricter identity checking and vetting of clients is required when you are doing “regulated” work, and to have an ongoing program of monitoring clients. An example of non regulated business is litigation. As I understand it under the new Regulations if a client initially instructs a firm on a litigation matter the firm need not do identity and other checks. However, if that client then instructs the firm to set up a new company or to carry out conveyancing work, these being both regulated work, a firm would then need to undertake vetting and checks and continuous monitoring. So, it is important to put in place systems and procedures to ensure appropriate checks are done later even if a client has been known to the firm for years. Does anyone know for sure whether patent or trade mark work is regulated?
Monday, 11 February 2008
This would be a great opportunity to get our point(s) of view across.
I would like to arrange a discussion meeting to which we could invite representatives of the SRA and the Ministry of Justice as well as a UKIPO to discuss what level of regulation is necessary and desirable to protect the consumer whilst encouraging the widest diversity of service offerings from competent providers.
Many of our members who practise overseas may be appalled to learn that helping others with trade mark and patent applications is not a reserved legal activity in England but that's the state of the law as it stands.
Friday, 8 February 2008
What this blog needs is a book review editor, who can build up (i) a list of readers who want to review IP books in areas of their interest or expertise and (ii) a list of publishers who want their books to be reviewed. Then all you have to do it put the two together. Any volunteeers?
Thursday, 7 February 2008
Intellectual Property Law and Taxation - a long running best seller in this esoteric but significnat field.
- Provides an in-depth analysis of both taxation and intellectual property law and how these two areas interrelate
- Analyses the recent legislative changes and the impact of those for both IP and taxation practitioners, specifically the Finance Act, Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005 and the Income Tax Act 2007
We're all up for the launch party..
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Of course businesses grew before professional advertising was permitted and they still do in those countries where there continue to be restrictions. The main mechanic is recommendation from clients. If a friend or business contact is prepared to give a wholehearted recommendation of someone they have worked with, it goes a long way. But do prospective clients ask around their friends and contacts any more. Judging by the number of times I have been asked if I know someone in this country or another, they probably do. To give a good recommendation for someone I need to have worked with them before.
LinkedIn allows you to publish a recommendation of a friend you want to support but such an open reference is very difficult to write.
Why not share your best story of how you have benefitted from a personal recommendation
Monday, 4 February 2008
It is hardly surprising in retrospect that it was Jeremy who initiated the first meeting for sole and small IP practitioners back in February 2006. A few speakers were invited along, and a group of us sole practitioners/small practitioners met at the Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell Green. I don’t know how I heard about the event. Was I reading the IPKat blog back then? Certainly it was early days for my business. I was still working from home. So the forum was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow IP practitioners who were at different stages on a similar journey.
Although many of us were thrilled to meet each other, I realised after a few months that if I didn’t do something about setting up another meeting, we would probably not meet again for a long time. So, I arranged another meeting at the Old Bank of England pub in June 2006. Some of the same faces turned up, and some totally new ones appeared. We sat in a circle and talked. Ideas for pooling resources to buy expensive resources, setting up a CPD club, or a forum to help with business development were aired. But everyone was very conscious of their own lack of time to do anything to progress any of the ideas. So it was that despite the buzz, and the initial flurry of email discussions that ensued, nothing happened again for another year. Then in July 2007 Barbara Cookson organised an event, hosted by Collyer Bristow. Allan James and Mark Jeffries from the UK IPO were invited to talk about the forthcoming changes in the UK Trade Mark examination procedures, and this drew quite a crowd of IP practitioners. It was clear that there was a lot of interest in doing something to form a group, although nothing concrete was decided.
In the 7 months since the last meeting, Barbara has set up a Facebook group, organised a special subscription to Westlaw for those of us who wished to subscribe, and has now organised the forthcoming event on 14th February. It is almost exactly two years from the date Jeremy organised that first meeting. At Jeremy’s suggestion this blog has been set up, and we are hoping to post content and links that are relevant to small IP practitioners, and hope to have lots of comments. Perhaps this blog was what was needed to keep the community alive and to help it to flourish in between physical meetings. I really hope so.
Sunday, 3 February 2008
The net is not geographically limited so neither is this blog.
In London we have had several face to face meetings and the next one takes place on 14 February 2008 at the Hall of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys at 95 Chancery Lane. The guest speaker is Duncan Bucknell who is coming all the way from Australia. He is a solo IP Strategist and publisher of the IP Think Tank blog.
He will discuss some recent trends in IP Strategy across the globe and what to watch in 2008. He will give us an insight into how the sole practitioner can promote a practice offering strategic advice to top of the range clients based on expertise, freedom from conflict and the promise that work will not be delegated.
A roundtable discussion will follow. All participants can share their concerns about working alone and the solutions they may have found work to provide the comfort that clients holding the decent legal budgets need to forge their relationship with a network of hands-on solo practitioners rather than Baker & Mackenzie.
We shall also be welcoming Gavin McGivern from Sweet & Maxwell who helped organise the Westlaw subscriptions. He will be showing the Lawtel Precedents and if anyone would like a trial password to see what’s there, just ask even if you can’t come to the meeting.
All this and you can still make it to a romantic venue to meet your beloved for 7:30. For the rest there are some decent drinking establishments in the vicinity to continue the debate.