Thursday, 18 June 2015
13 May 2015, 5 pm
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 before.