Sunday, 22 February 2015

Holes in trains, monks' beards and partner machines - what a day!

26 January 2015, 11 am

I have coffee with the EyePeePee.  He tells me another interesting story, about making a hole in a train, which strikes me as a fundamentally bad idea and indeed he did think better of it eventually and stop drilling the hole, although only because it was the wrong shape and not because it was a hole per se.  I am wondering if perhaps the EyePeePee has been helping out at South West Trains recently, because that might explain a lot.

Then we discuss my evil plans for becoming a Ruthless Dictator.  I do not think he is impressed.  In fact, he looks distinctly uncomfortable.  At the point when he drops his face into his cappuccino, and emerges frothy with despair, I realise it is time to change the subject and tell him about my alternative plan, which is to become a washing machine engineer.  A ruthless washing machine engineer, obviously. 


26 January 2015, 12.30 pm

The EyePeePee and I have lunch with Mr Lampert (who is CIPA’s Chief Shouty Person) and Rosa Wilkinson (who is the IPO’s Chief Shouty Person For Making Innocent Business People Understand About IP).  While they are shouting at each other I eat a shedful of really lovely food.  The food is of the type that comes in tiny portions, so you know it is such high quality that you can’t afford a whole one.

One of the dishes I order, once I have worked out which way up to read the menu, includes something called “monk’s beard”.  We have to ask the waiter what this is.  The waiter has to disappear for a while and check Wikipedia.  When he returns, he tells us it is a “coastal vegetable”.  To you and me, that’s posh seaweed.  It is so posh, it is not even on Wikipedia yet, but it looks a bit like grass.  This is a relief, in a way: I would rather it looked like grass than like something a monk had left behind at the barber’s.  And actually it tastes alright.  For seaweed.

Rosa, who is from The North, is delighted to find Yorkshire rhubarb on t’ pudding menu, and even more delighted to find that it comes with white chocolate on the side.  As we congratulate one another on our choice of delectable things that are almost as good as caramel custard tarts, we discuss how to reach out to business advisors and bankers and other folk who have a passing interest in IP but nothing yet which quite approaches Enthusiasm.  Rosa says she will make them Enthusiastic.  And I’ve no doubt she will.


26 January 2015, 3 pm

On we go, the EyePeePee and I, to meet some more CIPA members.  This time our hosts are well prepared.  They have come up with some difficult questions for us, so it is like being on Newsnight trying to explain your way out of a public scandal.  And fair enough, really, to ask what we do for the £395 membership fee.  Going round the country chatting to people and eating their biscuits is possibly not enough.

Once we get talking about non-core skills training, everybody looks happier.  If I am understanding correctly, they would like CIPA to build a machine that turns ordinary patent attorneys into partners.  You would go in one end feeling all confident and happy about your job and you would emerge knowing about cash flow and indemnity insurance and unfair dismissal and TUPE, feeling permanently stressed and grumpy.  And I think: yes; I could build a machine like that.  In fact, I could be the head tutor.

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