Thursday, 29 January 2015


7 January 2015, 11 am

There is a freak ice-age in the south of England.  It is quite a localised freak ice-age, centred roughly around the South West Trains track near Portsmouth, but it delays several members of the Internal Governance Committee.  Apparently the track is frozen over.  There is of course a de-icing train, but it is stuck to the track because of the ice.  Which is unfortunate.  Mr Davies gets frostbite sending rude tweets to South West Trains and exasperated texts to members of the IGC.  He wants us to be in no doubt about his commitment to internal governance even in the face of such gob-smacking incompetence from his local train operator.

The key thing on the IGC agenda, once Mr Davies has arrived and defrosted (which is a rather noisy process), is outsourcing of the CIPA Journal.  At present the Journal is put together in-house and this is hard work for the CIPA staff.  It means that what with the monthly Council meetings as well, life at 95 Chancery Lane follows a kind of lunatic cycle in which you are always preparing papers for the next monthly deadline or writing up minutes from the last.  Two weeks in every four are devoted to either PCT (Pre-Council Tension) or PJT (Pre-Journal Tension), and during these two weeks it is like all the patent attorneys in the world were gathered in the same EPO hearing room having a mid-life crisis at the same time, and you would not want to be the chairman of that opposition division.  Similarly, during PCT week or PJT week, you would not want to be an employee of South West Trains having to break the news to Mr Davies about a freak heat-wave welding the air conditioning train to the track.

We decide that the best thing to do is to outsource Journal production.  This sounds thoroughly modern and must therefore be a Good Thing.  Obviously the erudite articles would still be written by the erudite patent attorneys, though, because some things you just cannot trust other people to do.

Someone asks me what is Outsauce and what are its ingredients?  We ponder on this for a while.  Eventually I say I don’t think it is that kind of sauce but anyway, surely the whole point of outsourcing is that it is Not Your Problem, so who actually cares what the ingredients are? 

These days you can outsource anything, it seems, if you get bored with doing it yourself.  South West Trains, for example, outsource the provision of commuter rail services to the gods.  However, if you outsource it is sensible to make sure there is still someone in your own office that you can shout at if things go wrong.  It is inconvenient to have to shout at people on Skype®, and often it looks silly too.  Also, for reference, the gods are not on Skype, though clearly Mr Davies is hoping they are on Twitter®.


7 January 2015, 9 pm

After the IGC meeting there was a Council meeting, and after the Council meeting there was a Happy Hour or two at which Mr Davies got drunk enough to tell me what he thought of my manifesto.  He said perhaps I had forgotten but actually he already rules CIPA and if I try to remove its Capital Letters he will personally see me fed to the Solicitors, Mwa ha ha!

People have got to stop saying Mwa ha ha; it is becoming irritating.

On the train home I turn to thinking of all the things I am going to outsource from now on.  Such as cutting my toenails and emptying the bins and being nice to relatives.  And writing my Presidential manifesto.  There must be people in India who can write manifestos for you.  

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