Showing posts from 2016

IP and Hair and Beauty

Jane Lambert

I found rather more materials on IP and hair and beauty industry than I had expected when I started to read the trade literature. Sabrina Tozzi and Rachel Boakes of Baker & McKenzie LLP have contributed IP and the beauty industry: cosmetic concerns? to Issue 50 of IP Pro Life Sciences (12 Aug 2015). Elaine Eggington of IP Pragmatics Ltd, has posted an interesting presentation entitled Innovation in the cosmetics industryto her company's website.

There are also articles about free wifi with its implications for copyright and data protection in a discussion on free wifi in the Legal Lifeline section of the National Hairdressers Federation website.There are links to the PRS for Music and Phonographic Performance Limited websites on the Hair Council links page.

All of this suggests a wider than average interest in, and understanding of, IP in the hair and beauty industry. That is consistent with my experience as a practitioner as I have recently advised a cosmetics su…

IP and Agriculture in the UK

Jane Lambert

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ("DEFRA"), some 476,000 individuals in the UK were employed or engaged in agriculture contributing £9.9 billion to the country's gross value added in 2014 (see Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2014DEFRA and devolved administrations).

As most consumers purchase their food from intermediaries there are limited opportunities for farmers who supply those intermediaries to distinguish their produce from those of their competitors. The position is, of course, different if they market directly to the public through their own farm shops or other retail outlets that they control or influence. If they can build up reputation or goodwill it makes sense to register the name, logo or other sign by which they are identified in the market as a UK trade mark.

If goods are produced in a particular manner or meet a specified standard it may be advantageous to use a special type of trade mark known as…

How Small Business can Fund IP Advice and Representation

Jane Lambert

In her speech on National and International-level concerns and developments regarding the IP landscapewhich she delivered on 29 June 2016 to the British group of European Practitioners in Intellectual Property, Lady Neville-Rolfe, the Minister for Intellectual Property said:

"The UK has one of the world’s best intellectual property environments. The changes that will be triggered by the outcome of last Thursday’s vote will not alter that. You can continue to expect outstanding, professionally delivered rights granting services including design rights; and copyright owners can expect that the framework will support creativity. The UK will continue to be envied around the world for the quality of its enforcement environment. We will continue to lead in international IP discussions. We will continue our work to build an environment that allows innovative and creative businesses across the UK to develop their ideas and exploit them effectively."

It is certainly the ca…

What IPR have in common with WMD

Jane Lambert

I apologize in advance to those who will be offended by this post. I acknowledge that a photo of a mushroom cloud is pretty tasteless but it is sometimes necessary to shock in order to drive home a point. And my point is that an intellectual property right ("IPR") is a title to bring a law suit which, like weapons of mass destruction ("WMD"), has potency only if and to the extent that it is ever likely to be used.

The reason why doubt can arise as to whether an IPR will ever be used is that civil litigation is outrageously expensive.  In Ungar v Sugg (1899) 9 RPC 117 Lord Esher MR said:
"A man had better have his patent infringed, or have anything happen to him in this world, short of losing all his family by influenza, than have a dispute about a patent. His patent is swallowed up, and he is ruined." Despite cost capping in what is now the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (see Jane Lambert New Patents County Court Rules31 Oct 2010 NIPC…

An IP Primer for Business Angels and Private Equity Investors

Jane Lambert

In IP's not just for Big Brands and High Tech Businesses 27 Aug 2016 I wrote:

"In my career at the Bar, have known far more businesses that have failed from having too much IP than too little. Some of those failures had been caused by patents that cost many thousands of pounds to obtain but could never be worked. Others by disputes that were abandoned because the rights owner (who in many cases had a strong claim) simply ran out of money."

In many instances, such patents and other IP rights were sought to attract, or to fulfil a condition for, investment. While it is understandable that an angel or private equity investor should desire the most extensive legal protection possible for his or her investment a patent for an invention that may never be worked or any IP right that the business cannot afford to enforce would tend to make his or her investment less rather than more secure because the prosecution, maintenance and enforcement costs would affect the v…

IP's not just for Big Brands and High Tech Businesses

Jane Lambert

At the beginning of the last century there was a bitter dispute between the Hotel Sacher and Demel over the right to sell the original Sacher cake (see the "Legal Issues" section of the article in Wikipedia). I have been instructed in similar disputes in England (see Fat Betty, Bettys & Taylor Group Ltd. v Cheese & Co.BLO/163/09 16 June 2009) and briefed and consulted by just about every type of business from architects to undertakers.

Every type of business owns at least some intellectual assets. It would not be able to function without them. And each and every one of those concerns relies on intellectual property law to remain in business. Starting at its most basic it will have its name and reputation. That may simply be the name of the owner or it may be a fancy name like The Golden Hind. Its products and services may have names and reputations too. Then there are the designs, formulae or recipes that give those products or services their distinctive…

IP and Brexit: the Fashion Industry

Our IP system, which is ranked by TaylorWessing as one of the best in the world (see The Global Intellectual Property Index) consists of some rights that subsist under national law and others that subsist under EU law. When we eventually leave the EU, those rights that subsist under EU law such as the EU trade mark and the Community design will fall away. I discussed those consequences generally in What Sort of IP Framework do we need after Brexit and what are we likely to get?3 July 2016. In this article I consider how those changes will affect the British fashion industry which relies on EU trade marks and Community designs more than most. I have chosen this industry because I have conducted seminars on IP and fashion in London and Leeds (see IP and Fashion Law12 Sept 2015 London IP and Tech, IP and Fashion Seminar - 7 Oct 201520 Sept 2015 and Second Course on IP and the Fashion Industry27 May 2016),

Importance of the British Fashion Industry Fashion is enormously important to the …

CIPA's Scottish Meeting

Jane Lambert

On 15 April 2016 I was invited to speak to t he Scottish meeting of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh on Preparing for the Unitary Patent and the UPC. I was one of four speakers. The others were:
Catriona M Hammer who spoke on Portfolio Strategy for Start-Ups, Spin-Outs and Other Small Businesses;David Bloom of Safeguard IP who spoke on Intellectual Property Insurance Solutions; and Eleanor Wade of the Intellectual Property Office whose talk was entitled Updates form IPO. Over 50 patent attorneys and other IP professionals attended the meeting which was chaired by Andrea Brewster.
I enjoyed all the presentations but I found Catriona's particularly interesting as I specialize in advising and representing start-ups and other SME. She has spent most of her career in industry and describes herself on Linkedin as an "IP Consultant, focusing on IP Strategy, portfolio reviews, IP transactions and contentious matters…

Why every business plan should take account of intellectual property

In Basic Facts About Trademarks: What Every Small Business Should Know Now, Not Later, one of the best video introductions to trade mark law I know in any country, the presenter Mark Trademan (yes that really does appear to be his surname) of the US Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Information Unit asked an audience of entrepreneurs and small business owners how many of them had a business plan. A forest of hands shot up. "How many of you with business plans have a trade mark component?" asked Mr Trademan. Silence. "OK, I was afraid of that."

The response would have been no different had Mr Trademan given his presentation here even though our own Intellectual Property Office warn in Before you apply for a patenton the British government website that "it’s pointless patenting an invention unless you have a proper plan for making money from it and can defend it against copying."

Everybody knows that a business plan is

"the vital component for any b…

Animated Advice

Embedded pursuant to the standard YouTube Licence

Jane Lambert

The Intellectual Property Office has recently uploaded a series of videos to its YouTube channel which are very short but also very useful. The primer is IP Basics: What is Intellectual Propertyand it is followed by films on copyrights.designs, patents and trade marks. Although they have been uploaded for some time they do not seem to have been watched by many people which is a pity because they are a lot better than the advice one can expect from most invention promotion companies or even some lawyers and, of course, they are free. The above video on IP BASICS: Is Intellectual Property important to my business?has received only 970 views since the 27 Nov 2015 and a large number of those will have have been made by me. I hope this article may attract more viewers for these films.

Good though the IPO animations are there are some that have been produced by other organizations that I like even better such as "Patents&quo…

Dispute Avoidance Planning and Dispute Management

Most IP disputes arise out of conflicts between competitors and competition is what businesses do. In fact, businesses are compelled to compete by law. Disputes will therefore happen unless precautions are taken to avoid them. The risk of disputes can never be eliminated entirely because folk miscalculate and act emotionally but if a dispute cannot be avoided it can at least be managed.

How Disputes arise and what can be done to prevent them

Disputes arise because of uncertainty as to the existence, extent or nature of an IPR or because one party believes that the other lacks the means or will to enforce its rights or defend its interests. In order to minimize the first risk businesses should ensure that they have obtained appropriate legal protection for their most revenue generating intellectual assets. To minimize the second risk they should ensure that they had sufficient funding through insurance or otherwise to enforce their rights or defend their interests. Those arrangements s…