29 January 2009
25 January 2009
"Glad he didn't win the Presidency but here's hoping he wins this one. I hate whiny washed up actors/musicians/dancers who think they are still relevant."
" I believe the term that fits is "using the song for personal gain". Which of course MacJ was doing. Since the song itself is not within public domain, the rights to the song and how it may be used belong to the artist. MacJ should just wrap his shredded linen shrouds about his stooped shoulders, shuffle back to his sarcaphogus (sic?), pull the lid closed and shut his whiney ass up!"
20 January 2009
"Common general knowledge means the information which at the date of the patent in question is known and accepted without question by those who are engaged in the art or science to which the alleged invention relates. It is important to differentiate between matter which was in the public domain at the priority date of the patent and matter which can properly be regarded as common general knowledge. Evidence that a particular fact is known or even well-known to a witness does not mean that it is common general knowledge. Likewise, a piece of information disclosed in a scientific paper does not become common general knowledge merely because it is widely read. On the other hand, it is not necessary to show that the information is known in the sense that the skilled person has memorised it. Material which is known to exist and to which the skilled person would refer as a matter of course if he cannot remember it is part of the common general knowledge. See generally Terrell on the Law of Patents (16th ed) at paragraphs 6-36 to 6-38"
16 January 2009
12 January 2009
During November 2008 the well known legal consultants, Altman Weil Inc., polled 1,292 general counsel (in-house legal advisors) in the USA as to whether they faced budget cuts in 2009 and, if so, what they planned to do about them. The consultancy’s findings are published in a report entitled “Law Department Cost Control” which can be downloaded from its website.
Although there were only 115 respondents they represented some of the biggest corporations in America. Some 43.8% had annual revenues of between US$2 and 10 billion and a further 24.3% had revenues of over US$10 billion. The respondents were not identified but businesses of that size are likely to have worldwide interests including some in the UK. Nearly 70% were public companies, 23% private companies and the rest partnerships, not for profit or government agencies. Over two thirds of those respondents had very substantial legal departments. Some 6.2% employed more than 100 lawyers.
The most depressing finding for the legal services industry is that nearly three quarters of the respondents reported cuts in their budgets for 2009. In some cases these cuts were expected to be between 31 and 35%. Of the legal advisors whose budgets will not be cut, some 62.1% reported that they expected their budget increase for 2009 to be smaller than in previous years.
As to how they proposed to cut their expenditure, it is perhaps not surprising that the least likely economies were to be outsourcing offshore, numbers of lawyers, paralegals and other staff, lawyers and staff bonuses and lawyers’ earnings. Savings were most likely to be made by doing more work in-house, attending training and events, looking for cheaper outside advisors and negotiating alternative fee arrangements. By far their greatest concerns over legal spending were outside lawyers’ cots and lack of predictability followed by inefficiencies encouraged by hourly rates and litigation risks. When asked to rank the top three concerns, outside lawyers’ costs came out top. Well over half the survey reported that they intended to cut back on work to outside lawyers and only 7% anticipated an increase.
While this is an American survey it would be surprising if the results were different for England except that since costs follow the event in England the risks and uncertainties must be even greater. As I said yesterday in “The Future of IP and TMT Services” even well established American firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP are rethinking how they deliver and charge for their services in the face of competition from bricks and mortar firms such as Valorem that charge by the value of their work rather than by the hour and internet based practices which have very low costs.
In England, and Wales, law firms will face competition not only from within the solicitors’ branch but also from outside it. These include patent and trade mark attorneys with the right to conduct litigation or with law firms attached like Marks & Clerk Solicitors and HGF Law, an increasingly confident and technically savvy Public Access Bar that regards solicitors less as clients as troubled competitors and, above all, well funded alternative business structures brimming with new techniques and innovative services which should be entering the market just as recovery gets under way.
10 January 2009
"I'm a trial lawyer. I bill by the hour. So do the associates who work for me. I have lots of clients, so I can pretty much work, and bill, as much as I want. This needs to be fixed. Yes, you read that correctly."
"Some have said that the Value Adjustment Line is extremely risky. We agree. If we aren't willing to risk our own fees on our service, do you really want us advocating for you?"