Saturday, 15 November 2008

Westlaw Inflation

The elite group of seventeen SOLO Westlaw IP subscribers have been receiving invitations to renew their subscriptions commenced last year. Now the Westlaw model is that they add new material to their databases each year so in principle the product becomes more valuable. There is also the question of entry level discounts so that a certain upward spiral is to be expected.
At 36.66% I fear some of you may be contemplating not renewing, which allows them to say that the reduced numbers justify the decision to increase the rate for the remainder. The drop out rate for law firm subscribers who have bought 17 seats is probably quite low so we are a special case.

What are we getting with Westlaw IP - access to some of the best IP books on the shelf - The CIPA black book, Kerly on Trademarks and Copinger are the ones I use most in my practice. We also get case law, which is up to date and includes EPO case law but not general English law which can be frustrating when dealing with a contract points, IP statutes including European material in updated form and a selection of journals including EIPR as well as Current Awareness. It is a very valuable library but even so when you are a SOLO practitioner the occassions for use mean the books stay on the shelve from time to time.

For those of you who weren't in on the recruitment campaign last year and are interested in subscribing at a decent rate even after inflation do get in touch. Sorry if you are a barrister or in a larger law firm or based overseas. If we increase the group size then we have greater negotiating power to flatten the spiral.

Because the absolute level of the subscription is confidential please restrict comments to the percentage increase you would bear to renew. Personally I will renew but I think if the group stays the same size we should be allowed to renew at a 20% increase instead of this rate. What do you think?


  1. Shortly before I was offered the Westlaw subscription I subscibed to the online version of PLC. At the beginning of October I received a renewal notice indicating that the price had increased by more than 10%. I queried the rise and immediately it was reduced to 5%! I would therefore encourage the other 16 subscribers to query the rise and push for a significant reduction - the service is very useful but not at any price.

    With regard to Shireen's comments about the looseleaf service, I have had my fingers burnt with this in the past and now make a point of avoiding looseleaf publications because they are very expensive to maintain.

  2. I would like - and I think I have mentioned this to some people in the past - to build up a collection of resources, including precedents, through the SoloIP group. If others feel similarly, then perhaps we could get something going.

    I also started an IP wiki a while back (, though I also registered a domain name - I think, but I never used it), and also abandoned it because of lack of time - perhaps again something to revive - but no point in doing so if Jane Lambert is also going to revive hers: one should be not only enough, but not too demanding if the group were to adopt it.