Sunday, 3 April 2011

Unreliable Evidence on Intellectual Property

I listened with interest to Clive Anderson's programme, Unreliable Evidence, on the subject of intellectual property: it's available on the BBC website here. My good friend Filemot has written it up on the SoloIP blog too.

It was an interesting tour d'horizon of the IP world, and did well to bring out the diverse nature of intellectual property rights instead of making the usual media mistake of treating it as a single subject. Clive Anderson's previous career at the Bar no doubt helped. I have always found him faintly irritating as a presenter, but I enjoyed this programme - and will listen to more in the series, if I remember.

His guests were an interesting bunch too, particularly Michael Fysh QC who several times sought permission to introduce something that was in danger of being overlooked - "Can I put in a word for the law of passing off?" The revelation, which I find a little hard to believe, that when he started in practice the Patent Bar comprised himself, Robin Jacob (as he then was) and Max Moseley, was worth listening for the whole 45 minutes for.

One point that merits further research - section 40 of the Patents Act was attributed (blamed on or credited to, whichever you prefer) the then Labour government. Surely it was not a government initiative at all, but the work of the late Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran? Maybe someone will read this and tell me ... Given the criticism there has been recently of that case (Jacob LJ in Shanks v Unilever, with his reference to Thomas Blanco White's comment about "sewing the fly buttons on the statute - and come to think of it wasn't Blanco White at the Bar when Michael Fysh started? Was he only listing the juniors, perhaps?) the world should be told who created it. Or is the world going to be interested?

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