Sunday, 3 May 2015
A wheeze of workshops
19 March 2015, 2.30 pm
This year’s Leeds seminar is turning out to be quite unlike any other. Someone had the daft idea that instead of falling asleep listening to lectures, it would be a bit of a wheeze if we did some workshops instead. A roomful of patent attorneys emits a collective sigh on hearing this news. Laptops are slammed shut with resignation and not a little resentment. Some of us were hoping to file oppositions this afternoon.
We assemble into groups and go through someone else’s patent, with the benefit of a hindsight that can only come of knowing how the patent was macerated by a High Court judge, and decide how much better a job we could have done OF COURSE. Actually I find this quite hard work. As a chemist, I am used to drafting claims that require a bit of A and a bit of B and some C and a cupful of D, all stirred up at a ratio no-one can clarify yet and for use in the treatment of something nasty and medical-sounding. I had forgotten how hard it is to draft a claim for a mechanical device, especially one with pivots and pins and levers and cams, which must surely be at the cutting edge of science so no wonder I am struggling.
After the seminar-which-was-not-really-a-seminar, I attend the usual happy hour and dinner. The Pee has had to leave early, so it falls to me to do the speeches. I make them very, very short. I do not say grace because God is unlikely to listen, me being a heathen and all, so I hope that nobody gets food poisoning tomorrow because if they do they will know who to blame.