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Showing posts from January, 2009

Commercialization: An Investor's View of Intellectual Property

My neighbour, Edward French, a venture capitalist, has produced a rather good slideshow entitled TechGain: An Investor view of Intellectual Property which I thoroughly recommend. I spent a very congenial evening in his presence at the Venturefest dinner some years ago and seem to run into him every so often at events like Open Coffee Leeds where there are a lot of hopeful and hungry geeks, some of whom actually have quite good ideas.

Robert Burns: Born 250 years ago today

"The man o' independent mind, He looks an' laughs at a' that".   A very tenuous connection with intellectual property, I know, but I could not let the day pass without reproducing one of my favourite poems:"Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that:
For a' that, an' a…

Copyright: The Mark of McCain

Shortly after I started this blog in 2005 I reported on a spat between Angela Merkel and the Rolling Stones over her use of their classic Angie as their campaign anthem (see "Stoned! The Difference between Copyright and Rights in Performances" 23 Aug 2005).   It now looks as if presidential hopeful John McCain is in similar lumber with Jackson Browne over "Running on Empty" though he is applying to strike out the claim (see Ben Shefner's "Copyrights & Campaigns" 24 Jan 2009). Ben, who advised McCain, links through to sites from which you can actually read what we would probably call "skellies"  - that is, if you can bear to trawl through 53 pages of argument on behalf of McCain, 25 for Browne and 14 of McCain's reply. 
Much more entertaining are the voces populi on the TMZ site to which Ben links.    A lady called Melissa writes: "Glad he didn't win the Presidency but here's hoping he wins this one. I hate whiny washed up …

500th Post - Patents: Actavis UK Ltd v Novartis AG

This was a claim by Actavis for the revocation of a Novartis's European patent for a preparation which released fluvastatin (a cholesterol inhibiting drug) gradually rather than in an immediate burst on grounds of obviousness and insufficiency. There was also a counterclaim by Novartis for infringement of its patent. Novartis conceded that the claims as granted could not be granted and applied for their amendment.   The claim and counterclaim came on before Mr Justice Warren and is reported atActavis UK Ltd v Novartis AG [2009] EWHC 41 (Ch) (16 January 2009) 
This case is important because it is one of the first cases since Conor Medsystems Inc v Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc amd others [2008] UKHL 49 (9 July 2008).  Mr Justice Warren reviewed that case and others such asWindsurfing International Inc. v Tabur Marine (Great Britain) Ltd [1985] RPC 59 and Pozzoli SPA v BDMO SPA[2007] FSR 872in determining the extent to which Conor had changed the law.
Comparing the teaching of the pat…

Copyright: IFPI Digital Music Report

"Pirates win music download battle" screamed the headline on the BBC website. "Oh Goody" I thought, "an end to the litigation drought perhaps." 
I am not sure that it is when you actually read the report. Considering the state of consumer confidence and the rapid development of digital technologies, music industry sales seem to be holding up pretty well. And that also accords with my own experience.    I am still drafting and reviewing management and recording contracts for new bands here in Yorkshire. 
There has been a rapid increase in legal downloads although the industry complains that 95 % of music downloads are unauthorized. How they work that out I really don't know.  I think it has Io be taken with the same lorry load of salt as one discounts any other propaganda.

Software Patents: January Patents Limited's Application

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As I have to present a talk for our seminar on Software Patents after Symbian and Bilski in Liverpool on 5 Feb 2009 I thought I would have a look at the Comptroller's decisions since Symbian Ltd v Comptroller-General[2008] EWCA Civ 1066 to see whether there had been any change in the Office's approach to software and business method patents since the CA's decision.
The official line from the IPO is that this case has not made much difference.   In "Applying the Aerotel/Macrossan Test" the Office revisited four cases that had been decided before Symbian and concluded that they would have been decided in exactly the same way now.  And yet I wonder. Only one case has come before an hearing officer since Symbian and that was a win for the applicant.
In January Patent Ltd.'s application the invention was a combined electronic point of sale device for buying credits for mobile telephones. The examiner had rejected the application on the grounds that the invention was…

Practice: Large US Businesses plan to cut Spending on Outside Lawyers

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 serv…

Practice: the Future of IP and TMT Services

Happy New Year!
Every time there is an economic downturn businesses look for ways of saving money on legal services, particularly in intellectual property ("IP") and technology, media and telecommunications ("TMT").    The beneficiaries of the last downturn were regional firms such as Addleshaws of Manchester, Eversheds, Pinsents and Wragge's of Birningham, A V Hammond and Last Suddard of Bradford and, above all, Dibb, Lupton, Broomhead of Leeds and Sheffield which grew rapidly because they could provide high quality services for less than City practices.   This time clients will want to make much greater savings given the severity and probably duration of this downturn, advances in technology and Part V the Legal Services Act 2007.  
One of the talking points of several American blogs is "Kill the Billable Hour" by Evan Chesler which appeared in Forbes just before Christmas. It is subtitled "Lawyers should bill the way Joe the Contractor does.&quo…