Not a side issue but an event in its own right, the official launch for ACID's Mediate to Resolve scheme was one of the reasons for the cork-popping at that organisation's 10th birthday party in London last week.
Right: handled properly, a good mediation can produce amicable, workable arrangements even between even potential foes
For the uninitiated:
"ACID’s (Anti Copying in Design) national Mediate to Resolve service for dispute resolution is based on the organisation’s extensive experience handling mediations. Just under 2,000 ACID mediations have taken place, of which less than 30% have required further legal intervention. ACID’S national network of Accredited Mediators offers a wealth of intellectual property dispute resolution experience. Their mix of negotiation style and skill provides a comprehensive service to those seeking mediation as a real alternative to litigation.ACID has secured a most impressive ally, too. Former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Jonathan Parker chairs ACID’s Mediate to Resolve panel. He says
Many organisations are not familiar with the stages of the mediation process – and there is no reason why they should be – until they need it! We hope this booklet will clarify the use and process of mediation and help to explain the route to dispute resolution. At ACID, we are frequently asked “What mediation is and how does it work?” Mediation is a confidential meeting between two parties who are in dispute which enables them to retain control over the outcome. They are guided through the process by a skilled mediator who will use his or her expertise to restore or rebuild a harmonious relationship, but has no authority to impose an outcome.
These days the demands on businesses to succeed and grow are severely hampered by the increase in intellectual property infringement. Taking action against those who seek the fast track to market through IP theft places huge fiscal and time restrictions on the day-to-day running of organisations. ACID has spent the last decade encouraging parties in disputes to seek mediation sooner rather than later and Government is now sending a strong message to judges to look more favourably on disputing companies who seek mediation prior to any court applications".
“As a judge I have seen, only too often, how parties to a dispute can become locked into litigation when mediation at an early stage might well have resulted in a satisfactory compromise. Having regard to the inevitable cost, time and stress of litigation - to say nothing of the risk of losing the case - mediation must always be worth a try. However much he or she might wish to do so, the judge hearing a case cannot sit down with the parties, together and separately, to discuss with them informally and confidentially whether a compromise might be possible; yet that is precisely what the mediator is there to do. That is why I am so committed to the concept of mediation.”The IPKat is very excited about this service, though he's concerned that the proportion of mediations needing further legal intervention is as high as it is. Given the ease with which infringement can be carried out, the problems of detecting it and the rewards that beckon if you can get away with it, people who mediate must be prepared to be ever vigilant: reaching a negotiated settlement of a dispute may be only one stepping stone on a long trek to comfort and safety. Merpel says, with all this ACID around, I keep thinking it's called "Mediate to Dissolve"
ACID's mediators here; terms and conditions here
Naughty things you can do with acid here and here