Wednesday whimsies

It was with great sadness that the IPKat learned of the unexpected and early death this past weekend of Professor John N. Adams.  A former Director of the Intellectual Property Institute and latterly a member of its Council, John was an author, a lawyer, a scholar and a genuine intellectual property enthusiast. He leaves behind him a lengthy list of publications, of which his works on franchising and merchandising had no competitors, a very large number of students and former students who had benefited from John's meticulous attention to matters of detail as to broad sweeps of principle -- and many, many friends.

This Kat has many memories of John. One is of his early attraction to, and complete mastery of, a device which is now long forgotten but which was the technological whizz of its day -- the original Palm Pilot -- back in the 1990s.  Another was of John's cool, patient and very kind defence of a doctoral candidate's PhD thesis which, had this Kat had his way, would have been sent back for monumental revision (the candidate in question, now an eminent IP practitioner, has no idea how lucky he was). Various other memories include mining John's vast repertoire of anecdotes and bon mots (it sometimes seemed that there was not a single member of the British IP establishment who hadn't managed to say something silly which John filed away for our later amusement).  As editor of the Intellectual Property Quarterly he rejected for publication a review by this Kat of a book that was truly dreadful. Conceding that the book was indeed, bad almost to the point of being beyond criticism, John felt that the review might discourage the publisher from trying again -- and in any event he thought it a trifle unkind for the review to suggest that, for the benefit of the environment, the publisher should be recycled.  John, we shall miss you.

Barbara Cookson's mugshot
Around the weblogs.  What a busy day it has been for the normally quiet Class 99 weblog: first a brisk duel between Barbara Cookson and Dids Macdonald, two very different champions of legal protection of design and designers, over the utility of ACID's generic freelance contract terms for commissioned design works (see here and here). Then, hot on the ladies' heels as it were, came a woefully belated announcement of an online survey inviting respondents to comment on the costs and benefits of UK's design law system (here), which remains open till this Friday, 20 April. Elsewhere, IP Draughts waxes lyrical again, this time on oxymorons and the much-ridiculed sole and exclusive licence.  Eleonora Rosati's blogging boots have been marching across the Fordham campus as she directs the 1709 Blog's campaign to record faithfully the unusual event of Americans taking a serious and sustained interest in Europe's increasingly esoteric copyright problems (here and here).

Innovator's Patent Agreement.  A katpat goes to Chris Torrero for spotting this item on the Twitter blog:
Twitter's IPA: vulture or turkey? 
"One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the “IPA”. 
The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended".
Twitter plans to implement the IPA later this year, in respect to all patents issued to engineers past and present. You can check it out here and decide for yourself whether it does what Twitter claims.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I am very sad to hear the news about John Adams. As his successor as Director of the IP Institute, John provided me with a constant source of help and advice, patiently and gracefully filling in the many holes in my knowledge of the law (especially copyright): he was the perfect tutor. John was an industrious and much valued member of the IPI Council after his tenure as Director (with John Reid). He was a key figure in guiding the Institute's research priorities, providing academic research contacts, peer-reviewing publications and generally helping to ensure the quality of the Institute's output across the board.

    Apart from his distinguished work at Sheffield, latterly Notre Dame and, of course, the Institute, I will remember John simply as a bloody nice bloke. He liked a beer and/or a glass of wine after IPI events and I thoroughly enjoyed his company. Thanks, Jeremy, for your lovely words about John. He will be sorely missed and very fondly remembered.


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