This blog is a personal view of how it feels to be the Vice-President, and then the President, of CIPA. These are my own words, not CIPA’s: tongue-in-cheek, often irreverent, sometimes satirical. They are written for people with a sense of humour, a broad mind and a generous and forgiving spirit. And talking of spirits, they contain quite a lot of references to gin, which I like drinking. If you think you might find this type of writing disturbing, please do not read any further.
I drink several glasses of wine in quick succession, to
celebrate having made it through my Pee Investiting Ceremony.I also consume a couple of crackers, some
smelly cheese and a stick of celery.But
the wine is better.
There is a carnival going on outside.People are shouting and cheering and playing
drums and from the third floor at 95 Chancery Lane, it is possible to imagine
that they are celebrating the election of a new CIPA President.I know this is not really true, of course,
but then I also know that there is not really a Big Bad Wolf.No matter.I think I got away with it.
18 May 2015, 9 pm
So.I am no longer
Pee-to-Be!I am the real, actual Pee!
I have spent the last twelve months, as VeePee, waiting to
be found out.It has not happened.I have learnt many things, some of them about
CIPA and some about myself, but the biggest revelation is that you can hold
office for an awful long time before people realise you are totally unfit for
it.In fact, they may never
realise.You can drop all sorts of hints
– and all sorts of straw; you can confess to knowing nothing, and indeed
provide convincing proof of the fact; you can trip over your rucksack, spill
tea on a baroness’s aide and drink so much gin that the juniper fragrance wafts
ahead of you into the following morning’s meetings.You can, in fact, be a complete numpty.
And what is the mechanism within CIPA for dealing with
this?What protection do the Bye-laws
provide against straw-shedding, biscuit-crumb-dropping wurzels?
They make you President.
Congratulations, everyone.You have just elected the most un-Pee-like Pee that CIPA has ever
had.This is a proud and historic moment
18 May 2015, 11 pm
Obviously, now I am President I get to stay in only the best
Obviously, this is a joke.
Even allowing for the lateness of the hour and the rather worrying
specific gravity changes in my bloodstream, it is clear that my hotel room is
on the bijou side.The ratio of bed to
not-bed is about 10:1.There is a desk,
and a stool wedged under the desk, but if you want to use both at once – for
instance, to sit on the stool and work at the desk – you have to sit
side-saddle.In the bathroom, there is
no room for a shower curtain, so when you use the shower, you also sluice down
the entire floor, giving a whole new meaning to the term “wet room”.
I shouldn’t complain, I know, because for the price I’m
paying it is clearly a privilege to stay here.And at least the high bed to not-bed ratio means I stand a better chance
of ending up in the right place overnight, so long as I don’t accidentally
mistake the wardrobe for a guest annex.
Wine.Peanuts.Who put this celery in my rucksack??!
Today is the day.The
day of the Annual General Meeting.By 5
pm I am a gibbering wreck.
The meeting is as exciting as only a CIPA meeting can
be.One by one the Pee reads out the
spine-tingling, seat-gripping motions and each in turn is proposed and seconded
and voted for and ultimately – SURPRISE!! – carried.The suspense each time is hard to bear.But the genuinely seat-gripping stuff is the
Annual Report, which Mr Lampert has designed to look like a proper Annual
Report with a cover and pictures and whizzy coloured graphics and even a font
size that normal adults can read.This
is a great report, people say.It is
very professional.And I don’t think
they can quite believe it is CIPA’s.
Half-way through the meeting, Mr Davies announces the
election results.(Luckily they are in
English, which he is relieved about because last time he checked CIPA’s Survey
Monkey® account he was in Portugal drinking port (apparently this was to do
with a CNIPA meeting, yeah yeah, like we can’t tell CNIPA is just CIPA with a
spelling mistake) and when he logged on again back in London everyone’s
manifestos were in Portuguese.Mr Davies
does not speak Portuguese, even after five glasses of port, though he will have
a go at anything and therein lies the problem.)
And then as if by magic, the Pee is not the Pee any more,
she is the EyePeePee, and the EyePeePee becomes the EyeEyePeePee and we have a
new VeePee who is a proper one this time.And suddenly I am the Pee.Just
There follows some ceremonial argy-bargy.Last year’s Pee opens a box and politely shows
me the Presidential swimming-gala medal.I look politely interested in it for a moment, and then we look at each
other as if to say Thank Goodness we don’t actually have to wear this
thing.She knows there is no way I am
going to let anyone put that round my neck because it absolutely fails to match
my posh frock, and she looks mightily relieved about this. Then we play musical chairs on the ceremonial
dais, and the new EyePeePee moves along one to make room for me.There is probably some Latin we should be
saying at this point but we have accidentally on purpose shredded all documents
with Latin bits in.
I take my seat next to Mr Davies, look at the notes he has
prepared to stop me being totally incompetent on this most important of
occasions, and promptly forget what I am supposed to do.So instead I have a go with the Ceremonial Gavel,
which I have never been allowed to do before.What an honour it is, to be able to wield the Ceremonial Gavel at
last!I feel as though my whole life has
been spent preparing for this moment.
Mr Davies wishes I had spent a little longer preparing for
this moment, and then I might actually have remembered what to do next.
After I have banged the gavel a few times and messed up a
few procedural motions, I make a little speech and drop some straw again.In summary the speech says that CIPA
Presidents are a bit like the Three Little Pigs and there is a Big Bad Wolf out
there who wants to nick our straw before we have finished building CIPA but I
will not let him because CIPA is FAB and anyway Mr Davies hasn’t done the
plumbing yet.I say I am proud to have
been able to cadge biscuits off people last year and I hope I can continue to
do so for another twelve months.I say
that the new VeePee and I will make a good team because he knows some stuff
about IP, which complements my skill set nicely.And I thank everyone I can think of who is
even vaguely connected with CIPA because it seems wise at least to start the
year with some friends.
It is an inspiring speech, as you can tell, and exquisitely
structured.There are not many chartered
institutes that get to listen to speeches on children’s fairy tales at their
AGMs.And although Mr Davies is standing
by with the ceremonial gaffer tape, he doesn’t quite manage to get to me in
Then we have a proper inspiring speech by the Detective
Superintendent who chases Cybermen, and everyone wishes she was our new
There appears to be confusion over a breakfast meeting which
CIPA is arranging for some US attorney visitors.The first confusion is over the menu.Some people, it seems, are expecting bacon,
egg, sausage, tomato, fried bread and brown sauce.Others, perhaps more realistically, are
expecting fancy-pantsy flaky Continental things.Personally, since the Americans are coming, I
am expecting pancakes and muffins and grits.
The second confusion is about whether this is a meeting
about Diversity in IP or a meeting about Women in IP.If it is about Women in IP, say the men in IP,
then it is Not Fair and we are going to go anyway so ner-ner.I have no problem with this.Men are welcome to come to any meeting,
whether it is about women or about diversity in general.So long as they understand that there may not
be enough toilets for them.And they
agree not to sit there absent-mindedly scratching their inside legs while
someone is offering them muffins and grits.
Either way, there does not appear to be any confusion over
the time of the meeting.Although, one
or two of us have questioned the existence of an 8.15 am on a Monday morning.Who on earth invented that?
Yay!We are plotting
to do some annual CIPA awards!They will
be just like the BAFTAs, only possibly a tiny bit less glamorous, and there
will be a special awards ceremony at the Congress dinner to stop people falling
asleep over their profiteroles.I
imagine we will have trophies and things too, although if the Presidential
swimming-gala medal and the CIPA tie pin are anything to go by, I am not going
to get too excited about that.
What I am, however, excited about is the idea of giving
someone an award for being a Good Sort in the IP world.What will the categories be?Most accurately-punctuated document?Longest main claim?Rudest response to an examination report?Rudest response to a trainee?Or perhaps: most amount of money (this is the way Lord Sugar talks so it must be alright) in a
client account, or most alternative Alternative Business Structure.
Obviously there will be a President’s Award.This year it will be for the best cakes and
biscuits.Institute members are invited
to send their submissions to CIPA whenever they wish; judging will take place
throughout the Presidential year.
It has been a day full of meetings, and it is not over
yet.This one is about pro bono
work.Why anyone would think patent
attorneys would be remotely interested in working for free is beyond me.We all know solicitors do pro bono work
because they want to be seen to be altruistic and cuddly.They probably have diversity policies too,
and do 360⁰ appraisals and team-building
events and all sorts of other namby-pamby stuff.That does not mean we need to go soft too.
However, today’s meeting is with the IPEC judge, Mr Justice
Hacon.The Mister Justice is quite clear
about pro bono being a Good Thing, especially for the poor souls who try to
represent themselves in his Court and end up getting their knickers in an
unsightly twist.We decide we will maybe
talk about perhaps coming up with a proposal to consider, with a view to
possibly establishing a potential pro bono group that could, in certain
circumstances but obviously not for the time-wasters and the lunatics, provide
some free IP advice and representation.Now and then.
ITMA are at the meeting too.They are soft as well.In fact,
all of us in the room are of the altruistic type, and we manage to convince
ourselves that this is a feasible project and that we can do great things for
the IP community in setting it up.This
is the British psyche showing itself again.When a lunatic or an out-of-luck Nigerian prince asks us to work for
free, perhaps we should just say Yes of course and apologise for not offering
I go to see one of our Congress keynote speakers.She is also, as it happens, speaking at the
AGM next week.She is a Detective
Superintendent with the City of London Police.And she is in charge of Economic Crime.I am guessing this is a seriously large remit, what with everything the
banks have been doing in recent years and everything the Government is planning
to do next.
The Detective Superintendent is not at all like the
detectives in the TV programmes, rushing around in the rain being ill-lit and
moody.She is relaxed and friendly.She brings me a glass of water and turns a
big light on for us and asks me a few gentle questions about Congress.I feel a little self-conscious with the tape
recorder on, but I get over my initial nerves.
The DS used to be in charge of catching burglars and
murderers but now she has to catch cyber criminals.I get the impression she preferred the
burglars and murderers, because on the whole they were nowhere near as clever
and they kept leaving DNA and fingerprints lying around.
She tells me some fascinating stories about what the cyber
fraudsters get up to these days.Part of
the problem, it seems, is that the British psyche makes us ideal victims.If a stranger asks a Brit for £2,000 towards
a new Gucci® handbag, the Brit’s response is typically to hand over the money
and apologise for not offering before.And probably add a tip.The only
exception to this might be a patent attorney, who would want to know the
dimensions of the handbag before paying up.This means that when a scam email arrives, the average Brit
instinctively tries to find a helpful way to reply.
Some victims are difficult to convince that they are victims
at all.Just like the inventor who
insists on re-mortgaging his home to fund a massive PCT nationalisation
programme, despite a search report full of Xs and a distinct lack of either a business
plan or indeed a business, they maintain that they have not been scammed at all
and continue to transfer funds to the poor out-of-luck Nigerian prince.Plus his bank charges, his travel expenses,
his “medical” bills and a donation to the local Small Arms Appreciation Society.
After all this, IP piracy seems a little on the tame
side.But apparently the City of London
Police are onto it.Big time.Only first they have to convince the new
generation of internet users that it is not a fundamental human right to be
able to download, copy and distribute anything you like, especially if someone
else made it.And the problem here, as
with all cyber crime, is that it is just too easy.How can it be a crime to take something that
is so readily available, like blackberries at the side of the road?In culinary circles, “foraging” has become
quite trendy.So why should you not
forage the internet and take home a movie or two to serve with your chips?
I confess I do not know the answers any more than the
Detective Superintendent does.She says that’s alright but anything I do say may be taken down in
evidence and used against me.So I say,
Can you not get Doctor Who to sort out the Cybermen for you, he usually
does?But I don’t think that was the
answer she wanted.
Anyway, I am glad they did not search me before I went
inside the City of London Police headquarters.It may or may not be a crime to carry straw around these days, but it
sure looks suspicious in the middle of London.Who’s to say I don’t also have a couple of incendiary crab-apples in my
The Congress Steering Committee meets.We talk about the Big Cheese speakers we have
lined up.They are already being primed
to make Controversial Assertions so as to stimulate Lively Debate.The primary intended outcome is actually not
so much the debate as a more life-sustaining temperature in the meeting room.In previous years it has been a little on the
northern side.This year, with sessions on
the commoditisation of legal services, the replacement of IP attorneys with Artificial
Intelligence, and whether IP hinders innovation, there is a risk that the room
will get so hot it will spontaneously combust.We might as well rebrand the event Hot
Personally, I doubt that Artificial Intelligence could ever
be a match for the more astute members of the patent profession.But if they ever come up with Artificial
Social Skills, then we will have to
start watching our backs.And they won’t
have to try too hard either.
The session on AI has been allocated to Mr Davies and the
EyePeePee Train Man.Since the EyePeePee
has little real interest in anything that isn’t steam-driven, it has been left
to Mr Davies to do the bulk of the getting excited about this.And excited he is, too.He has called the session: Disruptive Technologies.He is very fond of the word “disruptive”, our
Mr Davies. He has had it shouted at him
The only person who has not progressed her allocated session
particularly much is of course me.I try
to make this seem deliberate.
Our patent attorney friend, he of helium-filled piranha
fame, expresses concern that he did not prepare any Learning Outcomes for
yesterday’s workshop.He is worried that
Ms Sear will tell him off.
I tell him not to worry.In my experience, I say, Learning Outcomes are best written
retrospectively anyway.That way you can
be guaranteed success.
I mean, otherwise they would be Learning Aspirations,
Mr Davies does not concur with this view.But he bites his tongue because these days
there are so many things he needs to not concur with me about, he has to
conserve his energies for the big ones.Like: why am I still refusing to wear the Presidential swimming-gala
medal at next Monday’s AGM?
There is a large helium-filled piranha floating menacingly
around CIPA Hall.It approaches The
Queen and Prince Philip, veers away at the last minute and turns on Byte-sized
Bill instead.Then it hurtles towards
the ceiling, almost incinerates itself on a chandelier and nose-dives towards
Mr Davies, who is busy filming it for tweet-related purposes.
This is, apparently, a staff training session.
Once the CIPA staff have been thoroughly trained in the
manoeuvring of remote-controlled helium-filled piranhas, a patent attorney
friend of ours teaches them how to turn an entertaining toy into a page full of
pedantic, punctuation-less pomp, patent attorney-style.They throw themselves into this claim drafting
exercise with gusto.Some of them soon
reveal their competitive sides, especially when they are issued with an
examination report and some new prior art.Mr Davies clearly thinks the examiner is an imbecile and is about to pen
a response along those lines which would be worthy of the most aggressive of 19th-century
patent attorneys.When presented with a
potential infringer, he is most definitely not for settling.
Mr Lampert’s team, on the other hand, spend twice as long as
the others crafting a beautiful claim, and miss the filing deadline by three
days.They are allowed a patent anyway,
under regulation 3 of the Standard Workshop Protocol, and proceed to sue the
potential infringer for everything he has.Mr Davies’s team also sue the infringer but omit to check first whether
they have a case for it under their timely-filed but exquisitely optimistic
main claim.Their optimism is misplaced;
they lose a million Euros.Mr Davies
demands a recount.
Spreadsheet Spurgeon, who is also on Mr Davies’s team, wants
to know how much the helium-filled piranha has knocked us back and whether he
can apply straight-line depreciation to this latest CIPA acquisition.Especially since Mr Davies has just lost him
a million Euros.
Unlucky Gary had ordered us pizzas for lunch.But when he told the pizza company his name,
they said that unfortunately the pizzas would be delayed by 48 hours due to an
international mozzarella shortage.By
1.15 we are tired of waiting, so we eat the pizzas Gary ordered for last
Thursday’s meeting, which have just arrived.
At home in the evening, the power goes down.I realise that without electricity, I am
basically completely useless.There is
very little that I do that doesn’t rely on some form of electronic equipment
and at least a semblance of connectivity (and a semblance is about all you get
doon ’yur in the Wess Curntry) with other pieces of electronic equipment.I cannot even watch the washing machine go
round.I am unconnected and
unconnectable.I might even have to read
the CIPA Journal.
But it is getting too dark to read.And although we have torches at the ready,
they are clearly not going to be much use because they are ELECTRIC torches and
we have a POWER CUT.Dur!
The CIPA cocktail menu (for when we install a bar and a dance floor):
IP-ina Colada –
white rum; coconut cream; pineapple juice; served with a maraschino cherry and
a non-disclosure agreement.
The Main Claim – a
beverage comprising a mixture of two or more alcoholic liquids, optionally with
one or more additional flavourings, characterised in that the beverage has an
unfeasibly frivolous appearance.
– a beverage according to claim 1, wherein the two or more alcoholic liquids
are selected from the group consisting of sake, schnapps, ouzo, sangria,
tequila, grappa, vodka made from things you really ought not to make vodka from
but have a surfeit of, and other suspicious-looking foreign liquids, provided
that if the suspicious-looking foreign liquid is Australian lager, the beverage
is not served with a maraschino cherry.
El Presidente – 3
shots of gin; tons of ice; a drop of tonic; preferably in a glass but straight
from the bottle will do.
non-alcoholic version – unavailable.
Mr Davies’ Dream –
2 shots of cheap whisky; half a pint of coke; 2 more shots of cheap whisky;
Southern Comfort® if available; definitely worth tweeting about.
Council Collins –
precisely-punctuated gin-based cocktail; recipe still the subject of lengthy
discussion; unlikely to be the most exciting thing you drink this year.
Wess Curntry Wayfarer
– 2 ml 100% proof apple juice; half a pint of murky water; straw (note: plural
not singular); a funny smell.
The Article 123 –
from 1 to 5, for example from 2 to 4, such as 2 or 3 or 4, shots rum, in
particular white rum, or dark rum, or a mixture of white and dark rum; from 1
to 4, for example from 2 to 4, such as 2 or 3 or 4, shots fruit-flavoured
brandy, for example selected from the group consisting of cherry, apricot,
peach, pear and apple brandy, more particularly from the group consisting of
apricot, peach and pear brandy, for example apricot brandy or peach brandy or
pear brandy; from 1 to 10, for example… oh don’t bother, let’s have a beer
Congress on the Beach
– vodka; peach schnapps; cranberry juice; orange juice; sand; quantities TBC.
– sours; bitters; ice; no garnish.
Black Book –
vodka; coffee liqueur; served in a 10-pint jug with supplement to follow.
The Second Medical Use
– tequila; rum; vodka; bourbon; for use in the treatment of claim-specific
– port; coffee cream liqueur; Red Bull®; raw egg; spinach juice.
Battle of the Bands
– anything you like, but 7 of them. All doubles.
We head for Happy Hour.With my usual flair for causing havoc, I set off the alarm in the CIPA
lift.This is what comes of leaning back
too nonchalantly with a large straw-filled rucksack on your back.
It is interesting to note what happens when you activate a
lift alarm.First there is a lot of
beeping and electronic wailing, which everyone thinks is caused by someone
else’s mobile.Then there is a big fat
nothing.Eventually the lift intercom broadcasts
a rather bored “Yeah?”, but it is clear that the source of this broadcast has
not the slightest interest in your reply.The fact that there might be a real actual person trapped in a real
actual lift is clearly insufficient to generate a sense of urgency.
Happy Hour is being held under the glow of a large neon sign
saying “Pleasure Room”.It is not clear
whether this refers to the room we are actually in or another room in the
corner which we are being invited to explore.I’m not sure I particularly want to know the answer.Although I guess if CIPA does want to expand
into new premises and install a bar and a dance floor, we should get
a little more savvy about such things.Perhaps
every commercial venue these days needs a bar, a dance floor and a Pleasure Room.
The CIPA election is back on again, this time with the right
number of Council vacancies.My relief
I resist the urge to tweet: “Join the @TheCIPA elections,
where every vote counts – but only up to seven.”I think it might tip Mr Davies over the edge.
6 May 2015, 11 am
The Internal Governance Committee is talking about the CIPA
offices.In a couple of years our lease
will expire and then we face a difficult choice, to wit:
massive, massive rent
massive, massive moving
and refitting costs plus massive, massive dilapidations charges.
Alternatively we could move from the third floor to the
fourth floor at 95 Chancery Lane, which Mr Davies is keen to do because the fourth
floor is open plan and this makes it look like he has a bigger office even if
he has to share it.
Later, Council members add their two penn’orth to the
debate.Let’s expand, they say, and then
sub-let part of our premises as a commercial venue.Let’s install a bar and a dance floor.I think we are possibly straying from the
objectives set out in our Royal Charter, and we might need more than Privy
Council approval to get that one to work, but I don’t like to say.We are having too much fun designing the
Also at the Council meeting, I make a speech to thank the
Pee for being a brilliant Pee, and I present her with a bottle of gin and some
chocolate.In my world gin and chocolate
are two of the best things that can happen to you.I then empty some straw out of my rucksack
and at the bottom of it I find her one of the much-coveted Vice-Presidential
medals from Tesco®, as a souvenir of our time together as Pee and VeePee.She actually puts the medal on, which is
incredibly sporting of her, I think.There are not many people brave enough to wear a Tesco party medal and
some bits of straw at a CIPA Council meeting.
In the second part of my
Pee-to-Be speech I ask my fellow Council members for help being President,
because clearly I am going to need it, being full of straw and all.
I am in a taxi back to Glasgow airport, with Team CIPA.Team CIPA is feeling a little bit fragile
this morning.Apparently this is because
the drinks in Glasgow clubs are very cheap, and not at all to do with the fact
that they therefore consumed too many.
I wonder if anyone filmed the action at the club last
night.I am thinking a clip of Mr
Lampert doing his dad-dancing (for which he is justifiably famous) would be a
great addition to the diversity videos.
In the taxi, we empty our bags to see how many paracetamol
we have between us.Luckily we have quite
a few.I also have some fragranced hand
wipes and a bag that may or may not be sufficiently leak-proof but might just
serve to protect the upholstery.
We arrive at Airport Security.Forgive my digression, but Airport Security is
completely bananas these days.Not only
do I have to find a separate plastic crate for every one of my electronic
devices, including the ones that are asleep and have been for days; I also have
to remove my boots, my jewellery, all but the very last layer of clothing and anything
that might have been holding me together, for example belts and braces, pins
and Blu-tack(R).There appears to be an obsession with liquids,
whether intended for systemic or topical use, in vivo or in vitro, and to help
with this there is a large poster at the entrance to Security saying “What is a
Liquid?”, just in case the wetness and flowingness and general
not-wanting-to-assume-its-own-shapeness of a liquid had passed you by up till
We clearly look a motley
crew because the CIPA folk get their bags searched and swabbed. Honestly, I ought not to be seen out with
these people. I am a Potential
Pee-to-Be. I have to uphold my dignity. Although without the pins and the Blu-tack, upholding
anything is going to be tricky.
Mr Davies is distraught.He rings us up to confess that the election has gone wrong, all wrong,
and it is The End of the World.Apparently we miscounted the number of vacancies on Council – there are
eight, not seven.Never has there been
such a Constitutional Catastrophe at CIPA, except for that time last year when
not enough people turned up to vote for the new membership fees, oh yes and
that time on Council when we couldn’t decide who should eat the last biscuit.
Mr Davies hates people to think that CIPA is not
perfect.He thinks he should throw
himself on his sword, only he does not have a sword, only a big walking stick
with lights and bells on that he uses as a prop on stage.So then he says he wants us to give him his
P45, and he will sign it with his own guilty blood and he will never forgive
himself and blah blah blah.
I tell him to shut up.
Listen, I say, you work with people who live in constant
fear of realising they’ve only filed claims 1 to 5 of 15, or missed a deadline
because they thought today was April 31st, or accidentally copied a
client email to his competitors with details of his latest infringing activities.Every single voting CIPA member dreads having
to grovel for re-establishment of rights or an extra extension, has nightmares
about picking up the phone to PAMIA to say, “You know that insurance I have…?”
So really, I explain, patent attorneys are not going to mind
if a ballot goes slightly wrong and we have to start again.It is still better than what happened in the last General Election, when we all dutifully cast our
votes, and then actually got a government cobbled together out of bits of
parties that other people voted for.
In a huddle in a corner of the Glasgow hotel, I talk to some CIPA
members about their business practice and regulatory problems.Actually what happens is that they tell me
what their problems were, and then they tell me how they solved them, and then
I ask if CIPA could borrow their ideas please.
In the afternoon I chair the annual Scottish CPD
seminar.I have brought my Cowtrackingclangingthingen
with me (I stuffed socks in them when I packed, to avoid traipsing
through the airport sounding like Heidi).They seem to have the desired effect.The speakers do not go over time and we romp through a range of topics
and apart from getting the guest speaker’s name and employer wrong, I think I
get away with it.
One of the talks is on something called the Nagoya Protocol.This is to do with Biodiversity and not using
Biodiverse things without saying thank you to the country you stole them
from.We somehow get talking about fish,
because if you are using Biodiversity from fish then which country does the
Biodiversity come from and who do you have to thank?What if the fish were spawned upstream in
another country somewhere?What if they swam
across national borders?Only a roomful
of patent attorneys could get into a debate about spawning fish on a Thursday
afternoon in Glasgow.
Mr Lampert then gives a wonderful talk about stakeholder
engagement and tries to show us CIPA: The
Movie with the watering can and the cartoon trees.The laptop says No.Mr Lampert says Oh please but the laptop
still says No.Then Mr Lampert tries to
show us a mock-up of the new CIPA website but the laptop says No, not on your
nelly.So then Mr Lampert gets cross and
shows us the video through YouTube® anyway and he gets a round of applause for
his perseverance and his advanced social media skills.
And then I stand up and say Look how impressive CIPA is
these days.The delegates do not seem
convinced.So I hand over to Ms Sear,
and she makes them convinced alright.Ms
Sear can be quite scary.
Back in Glasgow, I meet my hotel room.It is, er, interesting.It is, er, actually and literally in the concourse of Glasgow Central
Station.There is nothing between me and
a hall full of commuters except an ill-fitting sash window and a bit of net
curtain.I can hear all the
announcements and watch the trains coming and going, and see who pops into the
wine bar on their way home from work and who pops into M&S® for a bit of
light jousting with the self-service checkouts.I can hear that the lady making the announcements is very, very
bored.Catatonically bored.Her voice sounds like an elephant with
adenoids, and it goes on almost without pausing till 11 o’clock at night.
I am also able to verify that the people who drive the
motorised trolleys around stations, with their klaxons sounding and an air of
urgency about them, do in fact do so completely randomly.As I’m sure everyone suspected.They might look as though they are Helping
Customers and Delivering Stuff, but at the end of the working day they abandon
their klaxon-toting dodgem cars wherever they want and leave, without having
helped anyone or delivered anything.I
know this, because I have spent at least an hour monitoring them.Better than checking emails.
My Meet-the-Biscuits, I mean Meet-the-Members, campaign
continues.I am still having excellent
fun.In fact, I am, in the words of the
great politician David Cameron, totally Pumped Up about this campaign.
Today it is Scotland, which means a ridiculously early start
to get to EasyJet® Airport on the outskirts of Brizzle in time for a
ridiculously cramped flight to Glasgow.In Glasgow I am treated to shortbread and in Edinburgh, later in the
day, extremely chocolate-coated biscuits.At the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, the people from the PatLib team buy
me a slice of ginger cake, although we then start talking about IP triage and
the medical allusions do put me off the cake a bit.Sadly, no-one offers me haggis-flavoured
shortcake, as I’d been hoping, but you can’t have it all.
Not that I am obsessed with what people give me to eat, you
In Edinburgh another deranged CIPA member, clearly overcome
by bonhomie and biscuits, offers himself up as a regional representative.I say You don’t need to decide today; I’ll
send you some information, but he says No really, I want to do this, and it is
like he is standing on the edge of an ice-cold crocodile-infested lake and
would just like to jump in and get it over with as quickly as possible.
The Election is on.Voting begins.I am not talking
about the General Election, of course, but about the Specific Election, which
is for CIPA Council and the new Pee and VeePee, and it is possible that the new
Pee will be me.Which is scary,
whichever way you look at it.
I log on and cast my votes.I decide I had probably better vote for myself although I am still not
100% convinced this is the best of the available options.I am hoping that one or two other people also
vote for me, because it doesn’t seem right, somehow, that you can become Pee
just by voting for yourself and nobody else having the time and energy to
That’s the trouble with democracy: it only works if you’ve
got more than one person stupid enough to stand in the firing line.Perhaps we should make every CIPA Fellow
stand for President at least once in their career; the voting would be heaps
more fun that way.
I am chatting to the IPO on the phone about webinars.When we have finished the serious stuff, they
tell me that one of their colleagues is upset because my blog didn’t mention
the biscuits he organised for our last meeting.I am mortified beyond belief.It
is one thing going round being tactless to senior dignitaries when you are
supposed to be gracious and VeePee-like, but you cannot insult people’s choice
So, to make amends:
IPO BISCUITS IPO BISCUITS IPO BISCUITS.IPO BISCUITS ARE BRILLIANT! GET YOUR BISCUITS
AT THE IPO BEST BISCUITS IN LONDON POSSIBLY BEST BISCUITS IN NEWPORT TOO. ROLL UP ROLL UP GET YOUR FABULOUS IPO BISCUITS!
(Actually, ITMA ate more of the biscuits than I did.)
CIPA launches its Magnificent Manifesto and CIPA: The Movie with the cartoon trees.The watering can spout has gained a rose, to show
that it is indeed a watering can spout and not just a peripheral view of
somebody getting rid of an evening’s worth of beer.To be clear: the IP in IPA does not normally
stand for Intellectual Property.
Mr Lampert, our Chief Shouty Person, has called the
manifesto and the movie “An Economy of Ideas”.They are quite, quite brilliant.I
am filled with a warm sense of pride, and am almost beginning to look forward
to being President at such an exciting time.There is evidence to suggest that things are now so buoyant at CIPA that
even a year of me will not suffice to deflate them.
24 April 2015
Today is #ff Friday and I have learnt that on Twitter® you can #ff someone on a Friday
and that this is actually a Nice Thing to do not an insult like you would
expect.I try to think of someone I like
well enough to #ff them and who will not misunderstand the gesture and tell me
to #ff myself.After nearly an hour of
#ff-ing around on this I have to stop to spend some time with the #ff
family.I guess I have #ff failed as a