Tucked away on the IPO website is a short announcement that Ian Fletcher has left the Patent Office to take up an appointment as CEO of the Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation for the Government of Queensland and that "Sean Dennehey has been appointed Interim Chief Executive and Comptroller-General pending the appointment of a substantive replacement for Ian Fletcher."
First things first. I've never met Mr. Fletcher but I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him every success in his new job. I hope he watches out for the sharks (including those on two legs) and doesn't get too sun burnt.
Now to the nitty gritty. "Why" asks patent agent and solicitor Barbara Cookson on twitter"is Sean's appointment only interim?" And I agree with her. I have met Sean and heard him speak several times and can think of nobody BUT NOBODY who would be better qualified to do the job full time.
The contexts in which our paths have crossed include
- A presentation to the IP Bar on proposals for a European patent court which industry and particularly SME in this country sorely need. Sean has done a lot of work on that.
- Software and business method patents: Sean is aware that services are important to modern developed economies such as our own but in contrast to manufacturing IP law affords very limited and patchy protection for innovation in services (probably because IP law developed in the 19th century when manufacturing was king) and
- Various events for SME and private inventors in the North and indeed the rest of the country: Sean knows that small business is the motor of any economy and its entrepreneurs need help that they are not yet getting.
He also won my respect and that of the rest of the IP Bar as a very good hearing officer.
I have to add that IP is international and Sean is highly regarded overseas. Last month, for instance, I attended the WIPO domain name conference in Geneva and as always WIPO officials spoke very highly of him and asked me to pass on their regards on my next meeting.
So I am starting a campaign for Denehey for Comptroller in this blog, in my other blogs, on twitter, at a seminar at Barnsley tonight, through representations to my MP, through my inventors' clubs, through chambers of commerce, through Business Link talks and wherever else I get the chance to promote this cause. Not for Sean but for intellectual property, for the IP Bar, for SME, for industry and ultimately for Britain.
If you want Sean as your comptroller please do the same. If you are on twitter please use the #sean4comptroller hashtag.