Thursday 27 October 2011

Mediation, IP practice and the good of one's soul

If only ...!
When an actor is out of work, he is never said to be unemployed: the polite euphemism is that he is "resting". Euphemisms for "unemployed" extend far beyond the sphere of thespianism, though. Thus a footballer who is no longer selected to play for his team is "regaining match fitness"; a politician who is voted out of Parliament is "considering his options"; IT consultants are "between projects", and so on.

Recent conversations with intellectual property practitioners -- both those who are unemployed and those who are underemployed -- have caused me to wonder whether we too have a euphemism for this condition. It's called "doing some mediation".

It's true that there are some fortunate souls who excel in this area, bringing not only satisfaction to those who engage them but creating and sustaining an income stream that, if not constant, is at least relatively stable and predictable. Many others, it seems, are only really dabbling in mediation as a means of keeping their hands in, retaining their sanity and temporising until something better comes up.

There are some good courses on mediation both within the IP sphere and outside it, and -- while there is little case law on the topic unless you count domain name dispute resolutions --while there is also a small but growing body literature on the subject, it seems to me that there is not much that's available on the subject which is so close to so many people's hearts, and that is their wsallets. How do you bill for your services with genuine conviction and turn IP mediation into a real living? Or is it, like a practice based on a minor IP right like registered designs, always likely to be the icing on the top of the cake rather than the cake itself?

Saturday 15 October 2011

IP/IT lawyers in India

I am trying to find a reasonably priced IP/IT lawyer in India to review an NDA and later, if my client proceeds with developers in India, a development agreement for an IPAD game.  This is essentially just a rubber stamping exercise as the document is written under English law, and drafted by us.  I would not expect to pay a lot for lawyer in India to read the drafts in order to let me know whether there are any changes required to comply with local laws. As I myself virtually always works to fixed fees, based on an hourly rate of £250, it came as a surprise to find Indian lawyers charging more like £450 an hour.    Does anyone know a commercially minded, less expensive IP/IT lawyer in India?  

Thursday 6 October 2011

Ipsum is now facto

After Ipsum, the IPO's next service is going to be called
Possum. The 'Po' bit stands for 'Patent Office' -- but
readers are invited to guess the rest of the acronym ...

In April, Filemot posted a piece on SOLO IP which mentioned the virtues of Ipsum; she also trialled the Beta version (see IPKat review here). Today there's more news, this time from the IPO, in the form of a media release:
"New online patent inspection service launched

UK business could save nearly £100,000 per year thanks to a free patent system launched by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The new online service, called Ipsum, will remove the cost to businesses of requesting patent documents; instead they will now be available for free at the click of a button.

The service is open to anyone, benefiting businesses researching patents, patent attorneys working for clients protecting their IP rights and potential inventors looking for the best way to find information on patent applications. This can help them understand why a patent was granted or rejected or know more about particular patents.

Previously each document requested by a business would cost £5 and by the time it had been delivered it might already be out of date. Ipsum is updated in real time so businesses will now have the up to date information on patent applications they need. ...
The service is available on the IPO website –".
Important information for SOLO IP readers will be found on the Ipsum website:
"Our search services are usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for 2 hours at the weekend, usually on Sunday 20:00 - 22:00 (UK time) [that's a shame, bearing in mind how many sole and small practitioners seem to be online on Sunday evening, playing catch-up or readying their desks for their Monday tasks]

If you have any questions about intellectual property, or if you just need to speak to us, please contact our Information Centre on 0300 300 2000 or +44 (0)1633 814000. Our office hours are 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays [how many of our readers have such an easy time of it?].

If you notice a problem with this service, please contact us using the form below. Maintenance staff are available 08:30 to 17:00 Monday to Friday. Problems outside these times may not be rectified until maintenance staff are next available".

WIPO 'British Day' for Patents

WIPO is holding a day of discussions for UK patent practitioners on 13 October - next Thursday. At least it will if enough people sign up for it. The IPKat publicised it this morning, and I'm doing my bit too - having signed up to it myself. Details from It's at teh UK IPO's London place in Bloomsbury Street.