For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Invisible man disappears; no-one notices. Time to get Posh?

Here's a piece of breaking news which will probably cheer up any number of British-based supporters of innovation and intellectual property who are completely fed up with the constant succession of ineffectual and generally uninterested souls who have occupied the post of Minister for Intellectual Property. Jonathan Marland, alias Lord Marland of Oddsock (or some such name), has just resigned his post.  According to the BBC:

"Lord Marland stands down as business minister

Lord Marland has become the second Tory minister in the House of Lords to stand down in a matter of days. No 10 [that's Downing Street, though it will soon be the number of IP Ministers that have come and gone in recent years] said the business minister had resigned from his position to "focus on his role in trade promotion".

A former Conservative Party treasurer, ... Since September Lord Marland has been an unpaid junior minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - acting as the government's business spokesman in the House of Lords - having previously held a similar role in the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Before accepting a peerage, he was a senior insurance executive.

Energy minister Greg Barker tweeted that he was "very sorry" to see Lord Marland leave the government, saying he had done a "fantastic job" and ministers had benefited from his "business brain" [Merpel is glad that someone has benefited from him, anyway] ....".
At risk of boring readers, this Kat feels that it is important to restate the fact that the UK has been treated to a rapid succession of Ministers responsible for IP, most of whom have been singularly unqualified for the role in terms of their background, their personal interest and, in some cases, their aptitude.  They have then been burdened with a portfolio of responsibilities which would make it difficult enough for them to discharge their IP functions even if they were burning with desire to do so. Worst of all, they have presided over a period of acute, sensitive and crucial change in the fields of patent protection, copyright and the social media and brand-based commerce in much the same way as we might have expected Mr Bean to preside over a heart transplant operation.

This Kat calls upon Her Majesty's Government to show some true commitment to innovation, both in the small business sector and above it, by appointing a proper Minister and giving him or her the tools with which to carry out the necessary tasks of representing the voices that cry out to be heard -- IP owners, their licensees, competitors and consumers -- both in the Cabinet and beyond it, and of supporting the activities of the UK's Intellectual Property Office, which works so hard to service the nation's needs.

The IPKat wonders who might be the next Minister. Given that the Conervative side of the coalition is said to be somewhat posh, Victoria ("Posh Spice") Beckham would be good, if she were elevated to the peerage: she has a good deal of familiarity with the music, book publishing, design and fashion sectors; she has a not inconsiderable presence and knows how to communicate. Above all, she attracts attention to whatever she does, which means that all eyes would be on IP for as long as she held the post.  Says Merpel: Posh Spice would make a great Minister indeed, especially since she also espouses the family values to which many Government ministers pay lip service. However, knowing our luck and the Government's propensity for getting things wrong, we'd probably end up with not Victoria but David ...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. Impractical, but great.

Andy J said...

I think that would be more in Tony Blair's style. But more seriously I would suggest Lord Clement-Jones has the right sort of background for the job.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, Lord Marland. Why not appoint Goofy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goofy

Michael Factor said...

There is no reason whatsover for a member of parliament or of the House of Lords to be appointed.

You need someone who is innovative and good at business.

Why not approach a successful self-made business like Richard Branson?

What about Mike Dyson? the heavyweight vacuum cleaner innovator.

Actually, it is worth simply perusing the list of self-made men who were elevated to the peerage for financial support to the party.

One presumes they have acceptable politics and have made money from innovation.

Mark said...

Great idea. Family background in engineering (according to Wikipedia), as well as familiarity with soft IP subjects such as brands, music, fashion, sports.

If that doesn't fly, how about abolishing it as a junior minister's role (as we know from Alan Clark's diaries, they are there to attend the meetings that their bosses can't be bothered to attend) and instead make it a key task for a senior minister, eg Saint Vince of Cable, or Two Brains Willetts? As a junior minister's role it seems to be on a par with officially opening a shopping centres in Redditch, but with smaller crowds.

Anonymous said...

Well done, ipkat and merpel - victoria beckham has more brains than ld marland (never heard of him) and better legs.

Andy J said...

The timing on this resignation is also significant as today (9 Jan) the House of Lords resumes its committee stage on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, and is likely the cover clauses 65 to 69 which concern IP - in particular significant new powers for the Secretary of State to make amendments to copyright and performing right. It will be interesting to see who the Government puts up and how well briefed he/she is on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Hey that shopping centre in Redditch would open itself

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