Monday, 29 July 2013

There's More to South East England than London

South East England    Source Wikipedia


Because of its proximity to the capital, South East England is often seen as the hinterland of London. That is not without justification because many in the region work in central London and many more visit London frequently for shopping and entertainment. Nevertheless, there are important towns and cities in the region such as Basingstoke, Brighton, Canterbury, Chichester, Dover, Guildford, Maidstone, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton and Winchester with distinct identities and dynamic local economies.  Our aim is to support businesses and their professional advisors in those communities

We shall do that in a number of ways.

First, through our conferences, seminars and publications (including this blog) we shall help educate those who create intellectual assets, such as artists, authors, designers, entrepreneurs and inventors, those who invest in them, such as angels and venture capitalists, and those who advise and represent those creators and investors such as accountants, lawyers, patent and trade mark attorneys in intellectual property law.  We shall offer speakers and materials for publication to businesses and institutions that already provide such education.   Thus, if a law firm, accountancy practice or inventors' club wants to talk about litigation in the small claims track of the Patents County Court or the Patent Box one of us and perhaps one of our colleagues from Atlas Tax Chambers or an accountancy practice, law firm or patent agency with which we work closely will speak.   Where nobody else is providing such education we shall do so ourselves.

Secondly, we shall provide high quality but affordable advice and representation on intellectual property and related areas of law.  We shall do all that we can to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.  For instance, we shall advise and take instructions by Skype, phone or email wherever possible.   Where a physical meeting makes sense we shall hold it at the client's or professional intermediary's premises rather than expect everybody to traipse into Gray's Inn unless there is some advantage in meeting in chambers either because it is the most convenient point or because we are going to court. We are helping to develop interactive technologies so that a lot of the work that is presently done in meetings can be done electronically,

Thirdly, over the years we have developed lots of connections with professionals such as specialist solicitors, patent attorneys and other experts in all parts of this country all and around the world.   Until 2004 the only way members of the public could consult counsel was by instructing a solicitor or patent or trade mark attorney first.  Now they can come directly to us.   If they have a professional intermediary we shall be glad to work with him or her.  If not, we shall introduce clients to somebody whom we know to have the skills, experience and other qualities that the case requires.

Fourthly, we shall develop our strengths.   There are already areas of intellectual property law that we believe we can do better than anybody else. We believe that we are the only set of chambers in the country with expertise in tax as well as IP law and our colleague, Anne Fairpo, is one of the authorities on IP and taxation.   We have already held one very successful seminar on the Patent Box on the 12 July and you can download those and other slides and handouts from our special Patent Box blog,   Traditionally our chambers have been known for their expertise in public law. Well there is a public law dimension to intellectual property where we are already among the leaders. A good example of this overlap is the use of bilateral investment treaties to seek redress for failure to protect intellectual assets.  Very timely in view of Eli Lilly's notice of intention to claim compensation from Canada for revocation of its Canadian patents and the interim decision in Philip Morris's claim against Australia in respect of its plain cigarette packaging legislation.  I have already written several articles on the topic for our own publications as well as a more detailed one for Sweet & Maxwell's European Intellectual Property Review (see Jane Lambert "Bilateral Investment Treaties: Claiming Compensation from Foreign Governments under Bilateral Investment Treaties for failing to provide adequate IP Protection" 27 July 2013 NIPC Law).

We are aware that we are the new kids on the IP block, that we have some formidable competitors and that like Avis have to try harder. You have our assurance that we shall do just that.