The Licensing Executives Society Report for 2005 was published yesterday. I was pleased to see that GB and Ireland were still the largest branch in Europe with 633 members though we are only a notch ahead of Germany with 618 and their membership is increasing while ours is falling. Japan has overtaken us for second place in the world.
Financially, the LES worldwide is healthy enough with a substantial surplus of income. I noticed some interesting new committees in which I hope to get involved such as dispute resolution and industry university liaison.
An interesting new initiative is a task force on SME (small medium enterprises) which is considering new programmes aimed specifically at attracting new members.
The LES has changed a lot in the 20 years that I have been a member. When I joined it was a good mix of entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals. Nowadays, it is made up almost entirely of professionals. The most active branch when I joined was in Manchester. It was run by a remarkable man called Eddie Duff who used to work for VUMAN (the Victoria University of Manchester). We had some really good seminars. I remember debating with Henry Carr (now a silk) and Richard Sutton of Dibb Lupton on whether there was any need for specialist IP counsel outside London which provided excellent insight into Mancunian psychology.
The Manchester branch has never been the same since Eddie retired. It now appears to be reduced to running repeats like the BBC in summer. Liz Ward however is putting on some really good events in Leeds. There are also a lot of tempting events in Scotland.