Sunday 13 February 2011

Hargreaves and the SME Litigants

Not many IP Cases get this level of Publicity.
(c) Ben Sutherland 2008
As the 4 March deadline for the submission of evidence to the Hargreaves IP Review, one senses that there may be a bit of concern that real evidence is a bit thin on the ground.  A meeting has been convened on the evening of  23 February at which ITMA and CIPA have been inviting members to fill their respective 30 places. If you pay to be a corporate member of either august institution and want an invite get on to your favoured one at once, since neither is advertising the event on their website.
There are also supposed to be 30 places for SME representatives, who will therefore be outnumbered.  I wonder who is arranging their delegation but I suspect we can expect some criticism about the cost of litigation. It is not reported whether solicitors are invited but since it is in Freshfield's offices, there may be some and so it may not be too easy to say only they are the only expensive ones.
What are the changes in the law that could make litigation more accessible. The Patents County Court looks promising and if No Win No Fee offers are available from litigators, those with strong cases should be able to find representation. Defendants may find it harder to get representation that way. Hopefully no-one will be wasting too much more time talking about insurance. Perhaps Hargreaves can rely on the Amedee Turner report to the European Commission as evidence that that is a dead end.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Groves' Dictionary: available at last!

As a contributor to this blog, Peter Groves is far too modest to blow his own trumpet, but this missive crossed my path the other day and it seemed too good for me not to share it with SOLO IP readers:
"From 1-click and the ActionAid Chip to zwart maken, Peter Groves’ Dictionary of Intellectual Property Law' (Edward Elgar, 28 February 2011, £70) provides IP professionals and other interested parties with over 1,000 definitions covering most of the expressions that they might encounter. 
Dubbed by one lawyer ‘the Dr Johnson of intellectual property’, Groves’ work is not merely informative but also entertaining, erudite and occasionally acerbic.  [Perhaps it would be fairer to say that Dr Johnson was the Peter Groves of lexicography ...] ‘Compulsively readable’, wrote another reviewer, in an email headed ‘Darn you, Peter Groves’, complaining that he was supposed to be studying a patent specification. Law books don’t have to be dry-as-dust, nor do they have to be for lawyers only [I like to think of the oeuvre of John Grisham as 'law books', at least so far as work avoidance rituals are concerned -- and they're not dry]. 
You may not believe this, but patent law just got sexy,’ wrote The Lawyer back in 2004, commenting on a couple of cases in what we then called the House of Lords. To lawyers working in this area, what was hard to believe was that the rest of the world hadn’t already noticed. Compared to most other areas of law, intellectual property law as a whole – copyright and trade marks as well as patents – has been sexy for a long, long time [can we make an exception for supplementary protection certificates and semiconductor topography rights, which defy any categorisation as being sexy?]. 
One reason for its sexiness is the way government and business have embraced the idea that IP is valuable and important.[It's not just a caressing embrace; the sexiness of "three strikes" sounds decidely sado-masochistic] In our everyday lives we engage with IP every day, downloading copyright material from the Internet legally (or not), going for the branded goods in the supermarket (or not) and doing thousands of other little things that involve it. 
Yet to say that there is widespread ignorance about intellectual property is a massive understatement. What is said and written on the subject is more urban myth than solid legal understanding. Ordinary people – those who aren’t IP professionals [and the occasional judge ...?] – often have a hard time telling patents from trademarks from copyright. Many lawyers don’t know the difference, either. There’s no dictionary of intellectual property law to tell them what the words and expressions mean… until now. Peter Groves, a solicitor with 30 years’ experience of intellectual property, several books and many articles to his credit, and hundreds of hours of lecturing under his belt, has spent much of the last few years putting one together. 
Intellectual property has a vast, perplexing and diverse vocabulary, and this enriching Dictionary provides a starting point for understanding new concepts and crafting precise definitions to meet the needs of a particular case. Not only are new words and phrases being coined as technology changes and the law follows, but also the international scope of intellectual property means that IP lawyers will encounter foreign words and phrases. 
With over 1,000 expressions defined clearly and entertainingly, this book should be the first reference point to understanding intellectual property terminology. It will be particularly helpful to practitioners when they encounter expressions they have not seen before which they need to understand the true meaning and definition of. Students finding unfamiliar terminology and concepts will also appreciate the instant explanation available from this essential resource. ...".
We hope that Peter has organised a special discount for sole and small IP practitioners, who will get a particular pleasure reading it while they wait for the next piece of serious client work to come it ...

PS you can buy it from the publisher for just £63 here.