It is characteristic of Jeremy Phillips to bring IP folk together. He likes to create communities, to get people talking to each other, and connecting them to the wider world of IP. He seems to be driven by his love of IP.
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.