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IPO: Sean Dennehey for Comptroller

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Tucked away on the IPO website is a short announcement that Ian Fletcher has left the Patent Office to take up an appointment as CEO of the Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation for the Government of Queensland and that "Sean Dennehey has been appointed Interim Chief Executive and Comptroller-General pending the appointment of a substantive replacement for Ian Fletcher."
First things first. I've never met Mr. Fletcher but I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him every success in his new job. I hope he watches out for the sharks (including those on two legs) and doesn't get too sun burnt.
Now to the nitty gritty. "Why" asks patent agent and solicitor Barbara Cookson on twitter"is Sean's appointment only interim?" And I agree with her. I have met Sean and heard him speak several times and can think of nobody BUT NOBODY who would be better qualified to do the job full time.
The contexts in which our path…

The Supreme Court - a Missed Opportunity

Some years ago I was a member of a working party of the Lib-Dem Lawyers Association that was tasked with commenting on the government's proposals for constitutional reform. One of those proposals was a new Supreme Court for the United Kingdom in place of the House of Lords. The others were abolition of Queen's Counsel and reform of the procedure for recruiting judges. It was quite a high powered committee so far as I can remember. We were chaired by Lord Goodhart QC and our number included Professor Jowell and Jonathan Marks QC.
To my mind all the proposals seemed very modest if not bordering on the irrelevant. The proposal to set up a Supreme Court with essentially the same powers and discharging the same functions as the House of Lords seemed to me to be nothing more than a name changing exercise. The only justification proffered by our wonderful government for the change was that it would end an historical anomaly. What anomaly one might well ask? Montesquieu's doctri…

Practice: Mediation in the IPO

Last week I represented a defendant to a trade mark and passing off claim in a mediation that took place in the new London offices of the Intellectual Property Office. This was the first time I had visited those premises and I was rather taken back to see that they shared them with Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authorityand, even more disconcertingly, the Insolvency Service. The IPO used to share their premises with the Charities Commission in Harmsworth House - rather less ominous for the sort of start-ups and other small businesses I tend to advise and represent.
The mediator was Mr Peter Back. This must have been one of his last mediations since Peter is due to retire very shortly. Peter and I already knew each other since he had spoken at a seminar on IP mediation that I had chaired in Leeds on 10 May 2006. Peter was a very patient and perceptive mediator and the fact that we did not settle was down to the nature of the case and the attitudes of the parties. I have appeared …

The European Court of Justice Explained

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Barbara Cookson
Chartered Patent Agent/European Patent Attorney
Filemot Technology Law
The Rt Hon Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG QC and former ECJ Advocate General was the surprise guest speaker at the Hogarth Chambers Summer IP Seminar on Wednesday 15th July. Quietly spoken and urbane, his manner reflected the lugubrious nature of ECJ proceedings that are now seriously frustrating the IP community. It seems that the ECJ, or at least its Advocate Generals, can be quietly frustrated too. Jacobs spoke of being minded on one occasion to invoke Lewis Carroll and the Hunting of the Snark and quote that “what I tell you three times is true”. The admirable role of the ECJ is to interpret European law in a manner that will enable all national courts to apply it consistently. Its procedure is relatively straightforward. References may be made by any national court or tribunal and must be made by the highest where doubts arise. The Reference is translated into all the national languages and circulated…

Cases You Should Know About

Here is a list of some recent intellectual property and other cases that I you may wish to read. I have commented on some of some of those cases in articles and case notes on this or one of my other blogs:TopicCourtCaseTranscriptIssuesCommentPatentsCourt of AppealAerotel Ltd v Wavecrest Group Enterprises Ltd
20 May 2009[2009] EWCA Civ 408Obviousness, software implemented invention

Practice: an IP Practitioner's Diary, 31 May 2009

I am often asked by solicitors whether I go to the Patents Court. Or by trade mark attorneys whether I represent clients in the Registry. Or by Business Link whether I can do a risk analysis or draft terms and conditions for their clients. Or by businessmen and women whether I can review a draft contract.   The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES.
All of those things are within the traditional scope of the intellectual property barrister and I m as much an intellectual property barrister as anyone in Lincoln's Inn or Grays.  Confusion may arise because there are some things that I don't do. I don't apply for patents, trade marks or registered designs. I don't issue claim forms or even send letters of claim in my own name. I don't even accept instructions to appear in court or other hearing in a matter that requires lengthy correspondence or investigation such as reviewing documents and interviewing witnesses unless the client has instructed a solicitor…