Thursday 10 June 2010

Supply of IP services and the BSI

Wearing my IPKat hat I recently blogged on the subject of professional standards, asking: "Do you provide services relating to IP rights? Do you -- or your clients -- ever wonder if you're any good?" This was prompted by the publication by the British Standards Institute (BSI) of a request for comments by 31 July 2010 relating to its draft specification for the provision of services relating to intellectual property rights. The draft standard, BS 8538, can be reviewed if you register with the BSI here. It features an explanation of the scope of the proposed specification and a list of terms and definitions, then tackles (i) principles for ethical behaviour and (ii) process for service provision. There then follows a bibliography and an annex relating to non-disclosure agreements.

It seems to me that the quality of professional standards in the supply of IP services is a matter which requires particular attention among smaller practices, where time is a precious and often scarce resource and where compliance with legal and professional requirements can be onerous even in the absence of optional extras like BSI standards. If any debate on this issue takes place, can someone let us know? If there's sufficient demand, perhaps SOLO IP should hold an informal meeting to discuss the topic. Thoughts?

Sunday 6 June 2010

IP CPD, coming to a set of earphones near you ...

Our esteemed SOLO IP colleague Peter Groves is far too modest to blow his own trumpet on this weblog, but the information below (largely reproduced from a recent post on the IPKat weblog) looks like good news for IP practitioners who do not work for large practices or for companies with the resources to send them off to fancy conferences and seminars in order to satisfy continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

In short, IP practitioners in the UK can secure CPD credits by listening to a monthly podcast and completing a short multichoice questionnaire. The IPso Jure Lawcast is produced each month by Peter, a solicitor with nearly 30 years’ experience in the field and the author of several books and many articles, covering the important developments affecting practitioners in England.

The May 2010 programme (now online) covers, inter alia,
(i) a failed attempt to use the tort of causing unfair harm by unlawful means, where there was no IP to rely on;

(ii) the Advocate General finding levies on equipment and media incompatible with the Information Society Directive;

(iii) a replica of Henry the vacuum cleaner that infringed no design rights but fell foul of passing-off law;

(iv) the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal rejecting the referral of questions about computer-implemented inventions;

(v) a patent application being found obvious against a Pedrick patent and

(vi) the Court of Appeal reluctantly following the Court of Justice in L’OrĂ©al v Bellure.
The audio files can be downloaded free of charge, but for CPD you’ll have to register and pay a modest fee (£25 plus VAT per programme, £240 plus VAT a year (12 programmes each worth one hour CPD), £200 plus VAT for the first year if you subscribe by the end of June). You can try as much as you like without having to buy anything.

Links to the audio files, and the accompanying notes, are here, where you can also find the full terms and conditions. The Lawcasts are accredited for CPD by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and solicitors can do 12 hours CPD per year by distance learning means. Barristers, patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys can also meet some of their CPD requirements this way.