Scottish Law and Innovation Network

Author dun_deagh Licence CC BY-SA 2.0 Source Wikipedia Scotland
















Shortly before the Scottish independence referendum, I wrote  What would an independent Scottish government do about Intellectual Property? on 10 Sept 2014 and More on Scotland and Intellectual Property on 13 Sept 2014.  As Scotland approaches elections in which the question of secession from the United Kingdom will again be an issue, it is now appropriate to reconsider what should be the intellectual property policy of a separate Scotland.

In 2014 the section on intellectual property in the Scottish government's white paper Scotland's Future consisting of 4 short paragraphs of which only the first was of any relevance.  I was not particularly impressed with it and I said so at the time.  Having said that, credit should be given to the Scottish government for at least publishing a white paper on independence because there was nothing like that on the UK's withdrawal from the EU in June 2016.   This time there is a Scottish Law and Innovation Network ("SCOTLIN") which will advance law and innovation research, teaching, practice, and policy in Scotland.

The network was launched by Prof Hector MacQueen on 31 March 2021 with a talk entitled “Law and Innovation in Scotland: some impressionistic thoughts”.  A recording has been made of his talk which is available here.  I listened to it earlier this morning.   Prof MacQueen  reminded his audience of the early days of personal computing - the first emails, the arrival of Lexis and Nexis and the first search engines and the early cases like Shetland Times Ltd. v Dr Jonathan Wills  [1997] EMLR 277, [1998] ITCLR 49, 1997 SCLR 160, 1997 SC 316, (1997) 16 Tr LR 158, [1996] ScotCS CSOH_6, 1997 GWD 1-5, 1997 SLT 669, [1998] Masons CLR 159, [1997-98] Info TLR 1, [1997] FSR 604, [1998] Masons CLR Rep 117. On the one occasion that I met Prof MacQueen which was at a lunch given by the Stair Society (the equivalent of the Selden Society in England), I learned that he was as well known in Scotland for his scholarship in Scottish legal history as he is in the rest of the UK for his knowledge of intellectual property law.  In his talk, he was able to set the development of IP law in its historical context.

SCOTLIN's membership includes representatives of all the Scottish universities (including mine even though we lost our law school in 1967 when Queen's College became a separate university) as well as a Scottish silk and two solicitors.  According to CREATE membership is open to any Scotland-based expert in law and innovation.  The next talk will be given by Thorsten Lauterbach of Robert Gordon University on 29 April 2021.  It is entitled "What's my share?' - Are the stars aligning for non-dominant joint authors after Martin v Kogan?" and will no doubt discuss the decisions of the Court of Appeal and Mr Justice Meade in Martin and another v Kogan [2019] EWCA Civ 1645) and Martin and another v Kogan [2021] EWHC 24 (Ch) (11 Jan 2021).   There will also be an annual conference the first of which will take place in Stirling in 2022 and the second in Aberdeen in 2023.

These and other activities have been made possible by a grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.   

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

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