1 Visiting scholar comes to town
Toshitaka Kudo is visiting London for a couple of weeks, beginning 7 November. He is a Japanese attorney who is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Intellectual Property in Japan (The IIP mainly carries out research on behalf of the highly influential Japanese Patent Office, which regrettably still uses light-bulb symbolism (right) to indicate innovation ...).
Toshi is currently engaged in research into substantive and procedural issues arising out disputes as to inventorship: this research will help form the JPO's policy with regard to proposals to amend the Japanese Patent Act - which stil lacks any concrete provisions on that topic. He is particularly keen to understand how employee-invention law works in the UK and the US and he wants to meet practitioners who have either (i) experience or (ii) constructive opinions on this issue.
IPKat co-blogmeister Jeremy is meeting Toshi on Monday 7 November at 5.00pm at the offices of Slaughter and May. If you'd like to join us, please email Jeremy here and let him know. And if there's any advice you'd like to give Toshi, this is where you can email him.
2 Intellectual Asset Management again
The October/November issue of Globe White Page's Intellectual Asset Management has just been published. The IPKat wouldn't say it was alarmist, but the front cover boasts two real scare stories:
* "Why the biopharma industry is in danger", by ex-Chiron Vice-President and now a highly persuasive independent sage/gloom-monger Robert Blackburn (no portrait photo, but the IPKat got some of his DNA, left). Fortunately the problems he identifies appear to relate to deficiencies in the US patent system, which rather suggests that the biopharma industry should be quite safe so long as it confines itself to Europe ... andThere's also an intriguing title, "Inside the WARF money machine", which shows how far the University of Wisconsin has developed its research exploitation techniques since the pioneering days of Warfarin.
* "How patent pools could rule the world", by Mark Haller and Mark Palim of PriceWaterHouseCooPers. This article is also quite Americocentric, but Merpel wonders if there's actually a great deal we Europeans can learn from the US. After all, many patent pools seem to be quite efficient in practice, even if they're anticompetitive in theory, and the Federal Trade Commission seems to take a more subtle "know your enemy" approach than its European counterpart.
3 The cost of success
The IPKat marvels that the elevation of David Kitchin QC (left) to the Patents Court has cost his former chambers 8 New Square most of his estimated £2 million case load, according to The Lawyer today. The story goes that most of his work has shifted to fierce rivals 11 South Square, home to silks Christopher Floyd, Michael Silverleaf, Henry Carr and Richard Arnold.
How best, the IPKat wonders, can sets of chambers protect themselves against the risk of success at the Patent Bar? Merpel feels some sympathy for the big names at 8 New Square, who must be feeling pretty miffed at the way David Kitchin's work walked away from them. She guesses that it will make them that much more determined to demonstrate their skills when next they cross swords with their rivals.
Given the combative nature of the UK Patent Bar, counsel have been given dispensation to set aside the traditional wig and gown in favour of attire (left) that is more appropriate for modern litigation.
4 Laddie slams Woolf
Also in The Lawyer, the IPKat reads that the gentle, mild-mannered Sir Hugh Laddie has used his new-found freedom of speech to castigate the Woolf Reforms which, he said, merely gave new names to old procedures but didn't tackle the real costs burden of litigants. "You don't turn a dog into a cat by calling it kitty".
The IPKat thinks that perhaps Sir Hugh was thinking of the Woof Reforms ...