Thursday, 10 October 2019

Birmingham Tech Week

Jane Lambert

Birmingham Tech Week is taking place right now. The Tech Wek's website described it as a collaborative series of events across the city and city region between 7 and 13 Oct to highlight Birmingham’s tech scene and focus on a number of innovative topics. The events taking place this week are listed here.

The topics to be discussed include;
  • artificial intelligence
  • autonomous vehicles
  • 5G (mobile communications technology)
  • FinTech (financial services technology)
  • health tech, 
  • IOT (internet of things)
  • VR (virtual reality), and
  • women in technology. 
Speakers are from The Alan Turing Institute, Amazon, Barclays, BBC, Deliveroo, IBM Watson, National Express, NatWest, PWC, Salesforce and Uber.   Readers can listen to some of the presentations on YouTube,

My chambers have recently opened an annexe at 2 Snow Hill which hosts some of the leading law firms in Birmingham.  One of them held a reception earlier today which I attended with several of my London colleagues, our Chief Executive and one of our clerks.  One of the topics we discussed was Birmingham Tech Week as well as the tech sector in the West Midlands in general, its needs and how we could assist its businesses and investors.  I see a lot of opportunities there.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of the topics mentioned in it is welcome to call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Small Claims IP Litigation in Birmingham

Author Highways Agency Licence CC BY 2.0 Source Wikipedia Birmingham

Jane Lambert

One of the most interesting announcements of the new Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Guide is the decision to appoint from October 2019 district judges to hear small intellectual property claims in Birmingham (see The New IPEC Guide 4 July 2019 NIPC News).

The cases that those district judges will be entitled to hear pursuant to CPR 63.27 will be claims for £10,000 or less for the infringement of intellectual property rights other than patentsregistered and registered Community designssemiconductor topographies and plant varieties. In Small IP ClaimsI gave examples of cases that might be suitable for the small claims track and of others that would not.  The claimant must ask for the claim to be allocated to the small claims track in its particulars of claim and no objection should be raised by the defendant.   However, even if a case falls within the jurisdiction of the small claims track and the parties want it to stay there, the court may transfer it to the multitrack if it is likely to take more than a day to try or there is a difficult point of law or factual issue to decide.

Proceedings in the small claims track are governed by CPR Part 27 and the Part 27 Practice Direction as modified by CPR 63.27 and CPR 63.28 and paragraph 63.32 of the Part 63 Practice Direction.  Though successful claimants can obtain final injunctions and orders for delivery up of infringing materials as well as damages or accountable profits they cannot claim interim injunctions.  Liability and the amount of any damages or other pecuniary relief to be awarded are decided at the same time.  Directions are given automatically in accordance with Appendix B or of the Part 27 Practice Direction after statements of case are exchanged and although the court has power under CPR 27.6 to hold preliminary hearings these are the exception rather than the rule. There is no provision for disclosure and the costs that may be recovered from an unsuccessful party are limited to court fees, £260 if an injunction is sought and a lawyer has been instructed, travelling expenses and loss of earnings up to £95 per witness and up to £750 in experts' fees.

The new IPEC guide indicates that those wishing to bring an IP case in the small claims track in Birmingham should use the electronic filing system.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or small claims track IP litigation generally should call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

"Confidence to Innovate: know your intellectual property" - Free Seminar in Birmingham, 14 March 2018

Jane Lambert

The Intellectual Property Office will hold a free seminar on intellectual property at the iCentrum in Birmingham between 08:30 and 12:00 on Wednesday 14 March 2018. The full name of the seminar is
Confidence to Innovate: know your intellectual property and you can register through Eventbrite.

According to the Eventbrite page, the seminar will show "how intellectual property underpins innovation and why strategic management of intellectual property assets is vital for business growth." The event is intended to inform business owners and their professional advisers.   

There will be speakers from the Department for International Trade which has an office in Birmingham, the law firm Browne Jacobson, patent agents Barker Brettell, Midlands Innovation which represents 8 local universities and the Intellectual Property Office itself.

The full address of the venue is
Innovation Birmingham Campus
Faraday Wharf Holt Street
B7 4BB
For further information call Emma Richards at the Intellectual Property Office on 0300 300 2000.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Business and Property Courts in Birmingham

Birmingham City Centre
Author GavinWarrins
Reproduced with kind permission of the author
Source Wikipedia

Jane Lambert

For several years, the specialist judges of the Chancery and Queen's Bench Divisions in London, including those who sit in the Patents Court and Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") or hear other cases in the Intellectual Property List, have worked together in the Rolls Building. Since 2 Oct 2017, those judges together with the specialist judges in Birmingham and other major cities have been known collectively as "The Business and Property Courts". I wrote about the development in Launch of a Judicial Superhighway? 12 July 2017 IP Northwest, The Leeds Business and Property Courts 12 July 2017 IP Yorkshire and "Better than the M4 - The Judicial Superhighway" 2 Oct 2017 NIPC Severn.

According to Ed Pepperall QC, the national network of Business and Property Courts was a Birmingham idea.  He discussed its conception and development in The significance of the new Business and Property Courts – a view from the Bar.  His article is a contribution to a new introduction to the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham which was compiled by the Midlands Chancery and Commercial Bar Association and published by LexisNexis.

The introduction states that one of the advantages of the project will be the integration of the courts sitting in Birmingham with those in London:
"The B&PCs will be a single umbrella for business specialist courts across England and Wales. There will be a super-highway between the B&PCs at the Rolls Building and those in the regions to ensure that international businesses and domestic enterprises are equally supported in the resolution of their disputes."
It adds:
"Lord Justice Briggs’ reports have consistently recommended, and the Judicial Executive Board has accepted, that no case should be too big to be tried outside London. We should be able to provide an integrated Business & Property Courts structure across England & Wales. The aim is to achieve a critical mass of specialist judges sitting in each of the Business & Property regional centres so that all classes of case can be managed and tried in those regions. At the moment, many such cases migrate to the Rolls Building for a multitude of inadequate reasons. Once there, they are often tried by a section 9 circuit judge from the region whence the case originated. It should become easier to transfer regional cases back to the regions for management and trial.

Waiting times are considerably less in the regional centres than they are at the Rolls Building. In all the Business & Property Courts and Lists, a High Court judge can be provided to try an appropriate case outside London."
If specialist cases are tried regularly in Birmingham and the other major regional court centres more local practitioners will develop expertise in patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant breeders' rights which are reserved by CPR 63.2 to the Patents Court and IPEC in London.  Although the Patents Court and IPEC Guides have always stated that the Assigned and Enterprise judges are ready and willing to sit outside London for the convenience of the parties and to save time and costs, a patents trial outside London does not happen very often. I can think of only one case, Hadley Industries Plc v Metal Sections Ltd and another [1998] EWHC Patents 284 where that happened and that was nearly 20 years ago. In that case, the claimant's solicitors were in Birmingham and the defendant's in Nottingham but the counsel (one of whom is now an assigned judge) came from London.

In addition to an overview and chapter by Mr Pepperall, the introduction contains profiles of the judges who sit regularly in the Birmingham Business and Property Courts and lists useful email addresses and phone numbers and useful practice notes such as "Where to start a claim" and other guidance.

Should anyone wish to discuss this article or the Business and Property Courts generally, he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

SME2017 - 3 and 4 Oct

Jane Lambert

The Coventry and Warwick Local Enterprise Growth Hub's SME2017 opens at the National Exhibition Centre at 09:00 today and runs until 16:00 tomorrow. It is billed as "the Midlands biggest exhibition for SMEs", There is a massive exhibition and there are two days of seminars with talks on finance, funding, innovation, IT, marketing and outsourcing. Tickets are free and may be ordered through the event's website.

The Intellectual Property Office will be at the show and one of the speakers will be Gary Townley. He will speak in the Innovation Platform Theatre from 15:00 to 16:00 today.  You will find a summary of his talk by clicking the "Innovation Theatre" tab on the "Seminars" page of the SME2017 website. Gary will be followed on the platform by Mark Houghton of Patent Outsourcing Ltd. of Bakewell who will speak from 16:00 to 17:00. You will find a summary of Mark's talk immediately below Gary's.

Between them, Gary and Mark should give you a good introduction to intellectual property and how it can be used to protect your investment in branding, design, technology or creativity. There is, of course, a limit to what they can cover in two hours.  If you require further information locally, you can visit the Business and IP Centre at the Library of Birmingham where you will find more resources online and in print as well as talks and clinics with patent and trade mark attorneys.  If it is hard for you to get to Birmingham there are other Business and IP Centres in Exeter, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich and Sheffield and Patent Information Units in the rest of the UK.

You will also find information about IP and technology law in the West Midlands in this blog.  This blog is connected to NIPC Law which contains in-depth articles on IP and technology law, NIPC Branding with articles on trade marks, domain names, geographical indications and passing off for entrepreneurs and their investors, NIPC Inventors Club with information on patenting, trade secrets and starting a new business for inventors and entrepreneurs and other regional blogs covering developments in the East of England, East Midlands, London, North West, Severn Estuary, South East and Yorkshire. There are also features on the Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse, the Brexit negotiations and all sorts of other special topics.

If you want to discuss this article or IP generally, call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Intellectual Property and Birmingham's Commonwealth Grounds Bid

The National Indoor Arena, Birmingham
Author Cls14 at English Wikipedia
Licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported

Jane Lambert

On Friday 29 Sept 2017 Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, announced that Birmingham would be the UK's candidate city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games (see Press release Government confirms Birmingham bid for the Commonwealth Games 2022 29 Sept 2017).

The Commonwealth Games Federation ("the Federation"), the body that organizes the Commonwealth Games, describes them as " a unique, friendly, world class, multi-sports Games, which is held once every four years" (see Commonwealth Games FAQ).  The Games are open to athletes who are citizens of the 52 member states of the Commonwealth or the dependent territories of those member states. Over 5,000 athletes from 70 teams are expected to compete at the next Commonwealth Games in more than 15 different sports and over 250 events.

Cities that have hosted the Games report tangible and lasting benefits.  In the Commonwealth Games Manchester 2002 A Prize Worth Winning? the Manchester Commonwealth Games legacy report noted:
"The area which was once known as the workshop of the world had been in steady decline for the last 30 years. Large-scale de-industrialisation had a huge and devastating effect on employment Plans had been in place since the early nineties for the regeneration of this area. However, the hosting of the Games and the decision to site the stadium in this area was the catalyst needed. This was the focus which attracted a range of other initiatives to New East Manchester.
Is it working? This is a long-term regeneration strategy but one year after the Games how many of these lofty ambitions are now starting to be realised.
Will there be A New Town In The City?
  • Over the next 15 years New East Manchester is expected to secure over £2 billion in public and private funding. 
  • The momentum gained from the investment in world class sporting facilities at SportCity presents a new image to the commercial world. There has been a quantum shift in perceptions of the area from current and prospective residents and investors.
  • The New Business Park development is expected to create over 6000 jobs. The development of a new retail centre, four star hotel and the new housing developments are expected to create 3,800 jobs for the people of East Manchester.
  • Manchester City Football club as the new resident in the City of Manchester stadium is drawing nearly 40,000 people to the streets of East Manchester for each of its� home games.
  • There is a renewed sense of pride in the area. New canalside homes are being built and the metro link lines lay to provide a rapid transport link to the city centre.
Without the impetus provided by the Games investment on this scale could not have been secured."
Like other major international sporting events, the Commonwealth Games will be funded:
"Through the sale of international broadcasting rights; corporate sponsorship programmes; ticket sales; licensing and merchandising sales; and contributions from Central and Local Government" (see Commonwealth Games FAQ).
I have not yet found any statistics as to how much each of those revenue  streams contribute to the Commonwealth Games but Professor John T Gourville of Harvard and Professor Marco Bertini of the London Business School estimated that of the US$2.8 billion revenues generated by the Sydney Olympics some $1.3 billion came from broadcasting, $892 million from domestic and international sponsorship and only $551 million from ticket sales (see Jane Lambert Olympics Association Right and London Olympics Association Right 31 July 2017 NIPC Law).

In order to protect those revenues, the Nairobi Treaty provides special protection for Olympic symbols. The International Olympic Committee requires the government of every host city to create new intellectual property rights known as "association rights" to prevent ambush marketing and other unauthorized exploitation of the Olympics (see Olympics Association Right and London Olympics Association Right supra). To implement the Nairobi Treaty, Parliament enacted the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995. After the 2012 Games were awarded to London, Parliament passed the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Act 2011 and Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012.

There is no similar treaty or legislation in the UK to protect the Commonwealth Games symbols but the Federation has registered the initials "CGF",  the words "COMMONWEALTH GAMES" and a device known as "The Bar" as UK trade marks for goods and services in classes 14, 16, 25, 38 and 41 with effect from the 9 Nov 2000 under registration numbers UK00002252153UK00002252159 and UK00002252160. Clause 18.1 of the Federation's Bylaws requires it to establish and maintain The Bar" as an official emblem. All rights relating to that emblem shall belong exclusively to the Federation. It is also required by 18.2 to establish and maintain an official flag which will consist of The Bar set on a white background featuring "CGF" above "The Bar". All rights related to the flag shall also belong exclusively to the Federation. The Federation is permitted by clause 18.3 to establish a symbol or symbols of the Commonwealth Games. All rights related to such official symbol or symbols shall belong exclusively to the Federation.  The "Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property" is defined by clause 18.4 as:
"the intellectual property rights in the term "COMMONWEALTH GAMES", the initials "CGF", the Official Emblem ("The Bar"), the Official Flag, the Official Symbol or Symbols, event specific names, symbols and logos, intellectual property relating to the organisation, exploitation, broadcasting and/or reproduction of the Commonwealth Games by any means whatsoever and any other materials, products or works that a reasonable person would assume are related to or connected with the Commonwealth Games."
Clause 19.1.1 provides:
"The Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property is the exclusive property of the Federation and the Federation owns all rights concerning its use, organisation, exploitation, broadcasting and/or reproduction by any means whatsoever."
Subject to its Constitution, Bylaws and regulations, the Federation has the exclusive right to exploit the Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property in any way that it sees fit.  No other entity has any right in respect of the Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property or any representation of it without the express written approval of the Federation. However, the Executive Board of the Federation is authorized to assign or otherwise deal with the right to exploit commercially part or all of the Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property to one or more affiliated Commonwealth Games associations ("CGA") and/or the organizing committee ("OC") of a host city on such terms and conditions as it sees fit. The decision to assign or otherwise deal with the Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property is at the sole discretion of the Executive Board. Affiliated CGAs and OCs must vest in the Federation any intellectual property to which the Federation is entitled pursuant to the Federation's Constitution, Bylaws and regulations.

The Federation reserves the right under clause 19.2 "to exploit commercially all broadcast and/or narrowcast and/or any other form of communication rights relating to the transmission of the Commonwealth Games to the public, including those related to television, radio, internet and television and radio archives, on a worldwide basis."  It also reserves the right to exploit commercially sponsorship rights in relation to the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Games Intellectual Property on a worldwide basis though the Executive Board is authorized to assign any or all of those sponsorship rights to the Host CGA and/or the Organizing Committee on such terms and conditions as it sees fit. Sponsors of the Games or of the Queen's Baton relay may be named as official sponsors of those events.

Clause 19 B.1 of the Bylaws provides that a Commonwealth Games team is the exclusive property of the affiliated CGA in its territory and that the affiliated CGA owns all rights concerning its organization and exploitation by any means whatsoever. Commonwealth Games England has registered the image of a rampant lion above the words "We are ENGLAND" in colour and monochrome as a UK trade mark for a range of goods and services in classes 6, 9, 16, 18, 25, 28 and 41 with effect from 18 Sep 2009. That mark appears in the top left-hand corner of the home page of Commonwealth Games England. That same CGA has also registered "ENGLAND COMMONWEALTH GAMES DELHI 2010 OFFICIAL FRIEND" as a trade mark for the Delhi Games. A number of earlier marks have expired.

Subject to the written approval of the Federation, clause 19 B.3 of the Bylaws requires each affiliated CGA to incorporate The Bar along with a design of its own choosing to make its own emblem. Subject to the CGF Documents and the directions from time to time of the Executive Board, clause 19 B.4 assigns to all affiliated CGAs the right to exploit commercially the official emblem as incorporated into the emblem of the affiliated CGA within their own territories but not outside them.

Clause 19.C.1 of the Bylaws requires each OC to incorporate the Bar along with a design of its own choosing to make its own emblem.  The emblem of the Glashow Games consisted of the letter "G" in a number of circles above the words "GLASGOW 2014" and "XX Commonwealth Games" above The Bar against a green background.  The emblem is reproduced in the top left-hand corner of the home page of the Glasgow Games website. If the Federation chooses Birmingham to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games the emblem of those Games will be a heart surrounded by a burst of colours above the words "BIRMINGHAM 2022" and "XX COMMONWEALTH GAMES" over The Bar and the slogan "HEART OF THE UK, SOUL OF THE COMMONWEALTH". Birmingham City Council applied to register that emblem as a UK trade mark for goods and services in classes 6, 14, 16, 18, 25, 28 and 41 on 31 Aug 2017 under number UK00003253631. That mark appears in the centre of the home page of the Birmingham 2022 website.

When the Games came to Manchester in 2002 a number of intellectual property, contractual and commercial issues arose and I was asked to advise on some of them. I expect similar issues to arise in 2022. Anyone who wishes to discuss this post or any other issue relating to IP and sport should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Innovate 2017 Conference

Jane Lambert

Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency,  will hold its Innovate 2017 conference at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on the 7 and 8 Nov 2017. This is billed as "an event creators, investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world", a "place to be inspired and network with future-focussed thought leaders" and a "chance to hear captivating speakers and see game-changing innovations for the first time."

The themes of the conference will be:
These themes will be explored according to this agenda.  

There will also be an innovation showcase - no details are provided but there is always an exhibition and competition by that name at the regional Venturefests, a support zone at which Digital Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Birmingham and other agencies will be present and an exhibition.

Surprisingly, the IPO is not yet listed in the support zone and the IPO has not yet included Innovate 2017 in the IPO Events Calendar. Specialist advice will be required on the optimal legal protection of any intellectual assets that may result from any collaboration between creators, investors and entrepreneurs, inspiration by thought-leaders and game-changing innovation and any agreements that they may negotiate among themselves.

Should anyone wish to discuss this article, intellectual asset protection, joint ventures and licensing or any other legal topic relating to innovation, he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.