At the end of his judgment in IDA Ltd and others v The University of Southampton and others  EWCA Civ 145 (2 March 2006) yesterday, Lord Justice Jacob said that the entitlement case before the Court of Appeal was "particularly apt for early mediation". He added that such mediation could well go beyond conventional mediation (where the mediator facilitates a consensual agreement). He had in mind the process called "medarb" where a "mediator" trusted by both sides is given the authority to decide the terms of a binding settlement agreement."
As I noted yesterday, the Patent Office has gone into the mediation business. As I also opined the service is by no means cheap. After learning of the Patent Office's service I circulated the notice to colleagues in the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators for their views. One comment that is perhaps worth repeating is that parties to a dispute before the Comptroller do not have to choose a Patent Office mediator and that hearing officers are required to provide with a list of bodies from which to choose. One of the bodies on that list is the Chartered Institute's IP & Electronic Media panel which has done a lot of work in this area.