Who is David Lammy?

The IPKat posted a poll last week asking his readers "How long will David Lammy last?", a response to the fairly rapid turnover of IP ministers in recent times, after the very short and uneventual tenures of the last two incumbents, (who the IPKat can't even be bothered to remember the names of).   Of those who even knew who he was, the majority of respondents seemed to think that he would last somewhere between 6 and 12 months.  However, the majority of total respondents (70%) selected the answer "Who?" instead, presumably because Mr Lammy has yet to become widely known for anything much, let alone for anything IP-related.  

For those not yet aware, Mr Lammy (right) is the Labour MP for Tottenham and was recently promoted to the Privy Council and to a new role as Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property (as noted, with some confusion, by the IPKat here and here).  A recent article in the Times on him says that he is also a friend of the (presumably) next US president Barack Obama.  

According to Mr Lammy's website, he is very excited about his new job, and says:
I’m really excited by the new opportunities this promotion will provide. Expanding opportunities in Higher Education has been a passion of mine for many years, and having an opportunity to shape these policies in Government is a challenge I now relish.

I know that we still have a lot more to do if we are to ensure more young people from the inner-city, and places like Tottenham, continue in post-18 education - winning places at our very best universities. But I am committed to ensuring we succeed.

Only by cracking these challenges will we be able to guarantee that all our young people have not only the best start in life, but also have real higher educational opportunities and routes out of deprivation. Unlocking this vast pool of untapped talent is also essential if we are to remain competitive internationally.

The Skills brief over the past year has given me the opportunity to see and influence some of the very best joint working between Government, business and the voluntary sector.

From the factory floor to our local colleges I have been privileged to meet people young and old who have been able to unlock their potential because of our policies. I know the skills agenda can only go from strength to strength in the coming years.
This is all very good and worthy, the IPKat thinks.  However, he has yet to spot anything that Mr Lammy has said about the leading role he will play in being in charge of intellectual property in the UK, and in particular what he will do with his responsibility for the UK-IPO.  The only thing the IPKat has been able to find on the subject is a quote attributed to him on announcement of the regional winners of the UK-IPO's 'cracking ideas' competition (see here).  The lack of apparent interest in IP has not gone unnoticed elsewhere (see here). The professional bodies CIPA and ITMA have also expressed some mild reservations, but these are more to do with the fact that Mr Lammy is the third minister in the last year and a half in this position.  

Will Mr Lammy surprise us all by i) taking an active interest in IP; and ii) lasting more than 12 months in his role? The IPKat thinks not on both counts, but would very much like to be proved wrong.  There are many things that he is sure could be done by a government minister with enough interest in his responsibilties, but having someone in this dual position where he is so clearly weighted towards one side rather than the other does not really bode well.  This is further reinforced by this article (Guardian) about a speech Mr Lammy is making on the UK education system; no mention of IP at all.  It looks like the UK-IPO will just have to muddle along for another year or so making it up as it goes along, which it is probably getting quite used to doing.
Who is David Lammy? Who is David Lammy? Reviewed by David Pearce on Sunday, October 26, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. He's kinda cute.
    Out of curiosity, why are IP and Higher Education in the same Ministry?

  2. Has anybody noticed Mr Lammy's self-levelling spectacles. Regardless how much he cocks his head, they stay horizontal. Is this a patented invention, I wonder. Could Mr Lammy even be a closet inventor?


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