On 10 May 2006 I chaired a seminar on alternative dispute resolution of intellectual property disputes. We had three star speakers:
- Ignacio de Castro from the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre in Geneva
- Peter Back of the UK Patent Office, and
- Sara Ludlam of Leeds law firm Keeble Hawson.
As is clear from my slides, IPCEX (the IP Centre of Excellence for the North) chose that topic to coincide with the launch of the Patent Office mediation service a few weeks earlier. As I have said repeatedly in this blog over the past year, UK or at least English patent litigation is among the most expensive in Europe and goes a long way to explaining why we fall behind not only countries like the USA and Japan but also the rest of Europe including even the Netherlands in the European patent application stakes. It is high time something was done about it and the mediation initiative and Patent Office opinions are steps in the right direction.
Ignacio, who has practised in London as an English solicitor as well as a Spanish lawyer, spoke on WIPO’s domain name dispute resolution services as well as the international arbitration and mediation services that are available through the WIPO. His presentation “Alternatives to Litigation for the Settlement of IP and Technology Disputes” was excellent. It was jam packed with statistics, case histories, procedural schematics and much, much more. It is well worth downloading.
Peter’s presentation on the Patent Office mediation service was pretty good too. He traced the history of the proposal from consultations with Judge Fysh and Micael Leathes (actually it went back to an initiative of Judge Ford in 1996 to my knowledge) and the launch of the project.
Last and certainly by no means least was Sara. Sara came to Keeble Lawson after working as an in-house legal advisor and was pretty well placed to give the industry view of ADR which appeared to be pretty mixed. She took a straw poll of other senior legal advisors whose views ranged from cautious interest to scepticism.
Altogether it was a pretty good meeting. We plan to have another good one on 14 September 2006 with our “Protecting your IP in China” seminar in Liverpool and we hope to see you there.