Thursday, 26 November 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

Fasten your seatbelts! Brace yourselves! David Lammy (Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property) is about to make an announcement!

It seems that a major new initiative by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is being initiated, to spur on the creative and innovative growth of the UK economy. The two bodies will be:
• partnering with the UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC) to deliver focused policy events and fellowships to begin seeding research projects.

• working with National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and other partners to build on their Innovation Growth Accounting framework to quantify intellectual property rights within the wider economy.

• conducting value chain analysis to assess how copyright value-chains or networks are affected by digital media and the implications of this for copyright law.

Or, to put it in less jargon-laden terms:

• having a meeting with another quango to organise another meeting like today's, and to appoint someone to think about other things they might want to think about

• having a meeting with further quangos to think about ways of counting intellectual property rights

• thinking about how much money people make out of copyright, guessing how much less they make because of the internet, and thinking about whether the odd infringement action might help them make more

Cynical? Moi? Well at least I now know where my taxes go.


  1. Nothing wrong with Quangos.
    I have four.

  2. Doesn't it just drive you crazy?

    What also gets to me is how tokenism* of heralding one success, which was the only one they chose to nurture, will be repeatedly cited to justify their existence and effectiveness!

    As in wills and landlord and tenant agreements, do you think WH Smith should start to sell DIY packs of "Do Your Own Copyright & Patents"? This may be extreme, but unravelling it all in the future could create work. ;-)

    * the practice of making only a token effort or doing no more than the minimum; I am unable to think of a more accurate description.

  3. M, we already have that. The IPO is deliberately growing its "direct client" base, and encouraging people to file stuff themselves. And yes, we do make a tidy sum in two ways. First, there is the work in patching and mending when asked to by the applicant. Then, when someone asks us to reply to the patentee's angry letter, we get to explain why their patent is a waste of paper.

    We had a good client for a while; they realised that filing a trade mark application was easy - one form, one fee. So they stopped asking us to do it, and only referred the applications to us when they received an odd letter that looked worrying. We ended up charging more than if we had filed them initially. Using a trade mark agent to prepare your application properly before you submit it really does help, you see!

    In the end, though, applicants get less protection than they are entitled to, but pay more. It may be good for us in the short term, but it is bad for the IP system in the long term.

  4. Anyone else find it extremely amusing that David Lammy, of all people, occupies a post with the word 'Intellectual' in the title...?

  5. Deregulation, eh, Patently?

    It usually results in a two tier market, with a bespoke, ridiculously expensive, service at the top end and a cheaper, typically packaged, product at the bottom end. Marketing comes to the fore as the market becomes more competitive. Stay in touch with customers, invest in a good web design and negotiate a schedule of ads in the trade magazines now, but only pay for them when they appear once a year.

    It is the smaller firms in the middle market that suffer horrible lingering deaths. Great for the customer, but less so for the practitioner. I reckon you will contend with the change admirably, P.

    (I honestly do not know much about David Lammy so I won't reply to @JuliaM's comment.)

  6. I think you've just about got it, but you missed out the bit about the glossy brochures.

  7. Gah! And the website too, no doubt!