Have you ever wondered whether it's worth attending any of the IP summer schools currently on offer? The IPKat's own experience of summer schools is limited to holiday adventures which he very much enjoyed between the ages of 8 and 10, complete with dorm raids, pillow fights, midnight feasts (slightly time-shifted to take account of the 9pm curfew), country dancing, lining up to make our purchases in the improvised tuck shop, bonfire parties and endless treks through the brambles while wearing short trousers. Sadly, there was no IP on offer ... Anyway, inspired by his experiences and driven by his curiosity, the Kat persuaded a reputable human, Rachel Hutchinson (a Solicitor in the IP team of CMS Cameron McKenna) to spill the beans and recount some of her own impressions of an IP summer school. She writes:
"Intellectual Property Law Summer School, Downing College, Cambridge: All you’ll ever need to know about IP law and moreFor the record, the corresponding event in this, its 9th year, runs from 17 to 21 August 2009, at Downing College Cambridge. Further details are believed to be available somewhere round here. If you book here, you can even get the IPKat's discount.
There is no better way to spend a week of the English summer than at the Intellectual Property Law Summer School in Downing College, Cambridge, learning about IP law from some of the world’s most experienced IP lawyers and academics - at least in my opinion, I being one of the participants in last year’s IP Law Summer School.
I was then a one-year qualified lawyer with CMS Cameron McKenna, and was attending since Isabel Davies (IP Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna) was chairing one day of the conference. The other days were chaired by Ruth Annand (Taylor Wessing), Trevor Cook and Morag Macdonald (Bird & Bird) and Adrian Sterling (University of London).
For those who are new to IP law, or who wish to refresh their existing knowledge and get up to speed with the latest developments in this rapidly evolving area of law, attending this year’s IP Law Summer School is, at the very least, worth considering [ ... and to think that the Kat had braced himself for the imminent arrival of a compliment].
The IP Law Summer School comprises an optional introductory day, which aims to provide a broad overview of IP law and in particular, the basic legal principles underpinning trade marks, copyright and patents, followed by four days during which each of these key IP rights is analysed in detail and the impact of the latest case law developments is considered. Throughout the week, the key IP rights are viewed mainly from a European law perspective and also, albeit to a lesser extent, from a US and international perspective. The course is taught through a series of lectures and interactive panel sessions and workshops given and hosted by representatives from some of London’s leading IP law firms and other leading professionals and academics in the field; the teaching style helps ensure the course is kept interesting and participants are kept on their toes [ah, that must be the country dancing].
One afternoon included a mock arbitration, led by Isabel Davies, Alan Bryson (Wilberforce Chambers) and David Keeling (OHIM), in which we participated in teams, with everyone playing their part. The exercise was entertaining and I think that we all learned a lot by applying the teaching we received during the course [Surely this can't be! If everyone was playing their part, the arbitration would still be going strong ...].
Importantly, the teaching at the IP Law Summer School focuses not just on IP law and case law developments in the abstract, but also its practical application in a commercial context, including in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry and also in the context of infringement and enforcement, portfolio management, licensing and due diligence [Wow, says Merpel. Must be a well-stocked tuck-shop]. As such, the IP Law Summer School should appeal to professionals from a broad range of disciplines, not only those who are in the legal profession or who are about to undertake in-depth study of IP law. Last year, the diverse range of businesses and roles represented among the participants provided an interesting forum in which the delegates could share and discuss their experiences of the impact of IP law within their businesses and this provided a useful insight into the application of IP law in practice.
But it isn’t all work and no play. The IP Law Summer School combines thorough, informative and structured teaching with a number of well-organised evening social events [the pillow fights?]. By the end of the week participants will not only have improved their knowledge of IP law, they will also have enjoyed drinks receptions, formal dinners, barbeques [But not spelling bees. The IPKat's [preferred spelling is 'barbecues'] and punting, all in the picturesque and idyllic backdrop of the Cambridge colleges – and for those who decide to attend the IP Law Summer School this year, if you happen to notice a different style of punting on the River Cam, it is probably thanks to some of last year’s participants who failed to grasp that in Cambridge the punter should steer from the back of the punt and not the front! [says the IPKat, leading from behind is a time-honoured policy in IP circles. First you send the trainees in, then the associates. Only if all else fails do the partners get involved ...]
My experience at last year’s IP Law Summer School has proved to be invaluable to my professional development over the past year [Hmm. Should we tell Rachel that Isabel Davies reads this weblog?]. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wishing to gain an in-depth understanding of, or develop their knowledge in, IP law".