Monday, 11 February 2008

How much is a subscription worth?

The Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, at £448 for 12 hard copies a year and online access to each issue and the archive, is relatively good value for money (it's roughly half the price of the European Intellectual Property Review). However that still places it out of range of most solo practitioners, for whom journal subscriptions are generally going to be a luxury rather than something you really need. The publishers, OUP, are shortly to be launching a 15% reduction -- but it seems to me that isn't likely to achieve anything. Firms that can afford the sub even at 15% off can certainly afford the full price, while the reduction isn't suddenly going to make it attractive to solo IP practitioners anyway since it's too small. I suggested to the publishers that anything less than a 50% reduction was not going to affect soloists' purchasing habits. Any thoughts or comments?


  1. There is something about a paper publication that makes for more comfortable study. I enjoy the chunky World Trademark Review and IAM but I don't pay for them.
    This month's WTR has a good article by SOLO member Roman Cholij about the Baltic states. Its eminently readable and nicely researched and informative and beautifully set out and printed. I wonder how long brave Estonia will remain the last bastion of trademark examination on relative grounds.
    IAM scores because it is very, very commercial. One of my colleagues in my pre SOLO days could not believe there was enough substance for a magazine on managing IP assets but Joff Wild just seems to find more and more as well as running his own blog which is of course free.

  2. If you can pull of a 50% reduction, I would seriously consider a subscription!

    Seriously, I think you are quite right in your comment. If I were to consider Greek Solo IP practicioners, your comment paints an even more accurate picture. There is no specialized IP journal in greece, only IP sections in the leading commercial law journals and a (quasi) relevant telecommunications, copyright, media law etc journal (with 4 issues per year). The subscrirption rates for these journals vary from 80 - 120 euros/year for solo practicioners. I think you can see the distance with the 450 pounds!

    For a practicioner like myself, with the desire to widen my practice internationally, a subscription in at least one of the well respected international european ip law journals, such as JIPLP or EIPR is a must. But, clearly the subscription rates present an obstacle. Of course, the large Greek law firms are subscribers (though I fear in some cases such journals are part of the scenery or the dust-collecting mechanism)

    What I think also makes such a journal less attractive for a solo practicioner is the fact that a good deal of the update on relevant issues can be found free over the internet. Of course, this still does not make up for the need of in-depth analysis you find in a journal, but it helps you stay out of the complete darkness.

  3. I think that there are other ways of staying current with the law than journals, and subscribing to one is a seriously low priority for me. I'd rather spend that £448 on finding ways to build new business than on one journal. It's much easier on my pocketbook and my bottom line if I just take some time out to go to the library and peruse several journals at once, for free, to see if there is anything worth reading as it relates to what I do.

    Setting up your own law reference library or journal subscription collection can very quickly turn into a very expensive proposition.

    One solution is that if several solo practitioners were to share office space they could pool together to purchase subscriptions and reference resources. Another might be some sort of central library.