Famous Five Go For Growth

"Look, there's the wreck of the Dotcom!"
exclaimed Tom.  "Not much to salvage
there", quipped Roger.

Famous Five Go For Growth.  A media release from the UK's Intellectual Property Office, "Panel of experts to lead independent review into IP and growth announced", announces, er, the panel of experts leading the independent review into the intellectual property system. According to this impeccable source,
"Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox revealed the panel will consist of Tom Loosemore, Roger Burt, Professor David Gann, Professor James Boyle and Mark Schankerman. The review was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron during a speech to an audience of high tech businesses and entrepreneurs in London’s East End last month.

Baroness Wilcox said:

“This review will help the government create the right conditions for businesses to grow [just like all the previous reviews ..]. It will look at barriers to growth within the intellectual property system [if "barriers to growth" means limits on IP monopoly rights, we're in for a treat!] and the improvements that could be made to support businesses.

“It is essential the review is led by a strong team with varied backgrounds and I am delighted we have achieved that.”

The review is being chaired by the Ian Hargreaves, who is currently the chair of Digital Economy at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cardiff Business School.

The review is expected to report in April next year and will look at:
• Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
• The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
• The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
• The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP".
For the record, Tom Loosemore (or Tomski, as he likes to be known) "has launched innovative internet services and has held senior positions in major media organisations, including BBC, Channel 4 and Ofcom. He worked on Martha Lane Fox's recent review of Government websites".  He is also a blogger, says the Kat. Check him out here. Oh, and he tweets ...

Professor David Gann "is Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College. He has worked in the private sector as well as academia with a focus on the innovation process in organisations and how it is changing". David is also co-author of Innovation: a very short introduction, so the Kat hopes this is a sign that the this review will be as short and sweet.

Roger Burt "is the IP Law Counsel for IBM in Europe. He brings a business background to the panel with particular expertise in patents".  He's our man, says the IPKat -- huge experience of how IP works and a large dose of level-headed judgment: his criticisms of IP are fair and knowledge-based.

Professor James Boyle of Duke Law School "is an expert in intellectual property law, open source production processes and new digital business models". You can get some idea of his attitude to IP from The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind.

Professor Mark Schankerman is a Professor of Economics, London School of Economics, Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance (LSE) and at the Centre for Economic Policy Research. His research interests include R&D, innovation, and intellectual property rights". The IPKat has read some very interesting pieces by him and likes his approach even if he doesn't always agree with his conclusions.
Famous Five Go For Growth Famous Five Go For Growth Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. [part 1] How come there is no-one from private practice on the panel? Its nothing personal, and I'm sure the members of the panel will have a lot of positive contributions. Yet, from the list of what's to be studied, my view is that those in private practice [Patent attorneys and other representatives] are probably better placed to contribute their experiences because they are the ones who encounter the inventor at the earliest stage - and I'd like to think- have a deeper understanding of some of the underlying issues that this relates to.
    It doesn't make sense to continually ask people who don't meet inventors everyday to research such topics. What about trying to ask those who encounter inventors on a daily basis, as they not only a better appreciation of the legislation, and why it was drafted in a particular way[the whereas and whereas bits], but know for certain the problems inventors face, including [I believe] answers of eradicating some of those obstacles and making the system better[In so far as points 1, 2, and 4 of what the study will focus on are concerned].

  2. [part 2]

    And, wasn't there an IP review published just recently, in fact just 2 months ago, in Oct 2010 [Intellectual Property Enforcement in Smaller UK Firms:-A report for the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP)]. Obviously, those coming up with this new review didn't read the one by SABIP [I did, the whole 100 pages], because if they read it, they would have instantly known that some of the the data could probably be usefully recycled[especially point 2 and 3] and there will not be any need for another full-blown review [these are probably the same people who contribute to the facts that ~ 70% of all research in Europe is duplicated].
    Will not be surprising if they get to the same conclusions as that by the SABIP group. What lessons from the old review were adopted?
    Further, wasn't the govt meant to be making some cuts? Instead it seems more money will be wasted on a new review [even better that its coming out of the tax payers coffers, and not their own bank a/c's], while totally ignoring the previous ones, which in my opinion most definitely deserves a closer look.

  3. @Mancunian: perhaps they are all too busy making money?

  4. "The last taboo" - it's not illegal to discriminate against lawyers in private practice.

    Gowers didn't want lawyers in private practice; SABIP didn't; and now this review doesn't. There seems to be a visceral suspicion in government about our views or ability to contribute.

    This is a great shame, as I can think of several IP lawyers who would be very good on a committee of this kind. But it also makes me wonder whether there is something about our collective approach that doesn't fit well with government, and which we need to change if we are to have more influence.

    Ideas, anyone?

  5. @Anonymous (above): They are all too busy making money (and probably detached to commercial realities on the ground)to the point critical decisions that affect their profession, in which they should be actively involved, are made for them by others!!?

  6. So they want to look at the cost and complexity to SME's by having a panel consisting of:

    *someone who has worked for the BBC, Channel4 and Ofcom

    *A head of innovation at a major university

    *The IP Law counsel for IBM

    *2 professors.

    With respect, this will be tosh. It seems heavily media-driven - I could have sworn that there was more to life than just serving the interests of Shoreditch. Still, it sounds like they'll have a wonderful game of bullshit bingo from Tomski.

    The Coalition government has stressed the importance of SMEs and yet not put anyone with real SME credentials on the review panel.

  7. I've talked to a couple of IP lawyers, albeit no-one from private practice.

    Who might you suggest I meet?

    Oh, and, with respect, thanks for your kind anonymous comment, @Aaron, whoever you are.

  8. Tom,

    Try the Law Society's IP Working Party (Chairman, Isabel Davies: http://www.cms-cmck.com/Isabel-Davies ) and the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (Chairman, Philip Westmacott: http://www.bristows.com/?pid=5&level=1&cid=89&l=W ). Between them, the membership of those organisations comprise most practising IP solicitors.

  9. Tom,

    With respect, I think that @Aaron is spot on. This review is explicitly tasked with looking at "the cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP", yet there is no-one there with an SME background.

    Then, you say "I've talked to a couple of IP lawyers, albeit no-one from private practice". Who do you think SMEs go to for advice? Clue - they don't consult professors, and they don't hire an in-house IP Law counsel. They use people like us - patent attorneys in, err, private practice. We are the ones who know how to get an IP portfolio off the ground at minimal cost, because we do it day in, day out.

  10. and patently has just hit the nail on the head!


    Contact CIPA and ITMA members who are in private practice, these are the people who assist SMEs daily in obtaining and setting up an IP portfolio at minimum cost.

  11. @ anonymous (first) and Mancunian....... You mean the same political decisions implemented on the back or previous reviews that have had absolutely no impact? Yes they are busy making money and largely ambivalent to such reviews. Can you blame them?


    As service providers there is something about our collective approach. We don't have one. On occasions in the past the inputs from service provider stakeholders to such reviews and elsewhere have been too self-serving; that is why we have lost our influence for the greater good.

    There is no voice for IP as such or IP in commerce. We have the UKIPO and we have IP service providers. Where is the authoritative voice of or for UK industry concerning their IP needs?

    Ideas? Just get your comments into the review process and hope they are understood, will be considered in context and make a difference.


    I am pretty sure you will receive a lot of inputs from patent attorneys (me included), IP lawyers and their representative bodies during the review, so I would not recommend that you talk to too many of these. I am more concerned about the voices that you may not hear. I recommend that you try and find an authoritative voice for UK industry especially SME's. If you find one let us know. Don't just focus on media, digital, internet. Talk to UK University TTO organizations. Talk to the British Design Institute. Talk to NESTA. Talk to James Dyson. He is one of the rare people in the UK who has personally experienced the full spectrum of IP needs from SME to global corporate. You would also be well informed to talk input from a US base of opinion other than that represented on the panel, if you desire to get a broader insight from the US experience.

    As a general observation to all the review will be seeking inputs through a variety of channels so we all get a chance to chip in.

    Of more concern is the time frame, resource and focus of the review. First meeting December 2010, we still await the consultation document, consideration closes March 2011 for report delivery in April 2011.

    Will it be worth reading?

  12. Interesting that you feel the IP review panel needs to get closer to SMEs with IP Professionals "the ones who encounter the inventor at the earliest stage". Surely SME inventors might be best to speak to directly (as well as you IP Professionals who have a legal slant) and SME innovator representatives such as the SME Innovation Alliance? SMEIA members have voiced their concern about the make-up of the panel http://www.smeia.org/blog/06012011094224-government-ip-review/


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