Saturday, 25 October 2014

TechNorth

I am grateful to Barbara Cookson for alerting me to the press release Deputy Prime Minister launches TechNorth.  According to the press release TechNorth is
"a major new Northern Futures project bringing the pockets of excellence in tech industries from across the North together to form an internationally renowned virtual hub." 
The idea is to
"co-ordinate the many pockets of excellence dotted around the region – including the existing digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East tech cluster. It will do what Tech City UK has done for East London – put it on the international map."
Not surprisingly, Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC's technology correspondent,  has expressed some caution ("Can a northern tech cluster take off? 23 Oct 2014 BBC).

Tech City succeeds because skills, capital, customers and suppliers are concentrated in the same place. It is one of the consequences of agglomeration.  If there is to be a technology cluster in the North the conditions that created Tech City - in other words, agglomeration - have to be created here.

As it happens I was at the  "International Economic Conference" in Leeds on 4 July 2014 where Nick Clegg announced the launch of Northern Futures (see Power. Performance. Potential. Leeds Economic Conference 5 July 2014).  In his speech Clegg called for the great city regions (or metros) of the North to work together to create a Northern agglomeration.  As you can see from my article, though Clegg spoke quite a lot of sense his message to local politicians seemed to fall on deaf ears.

A couple of things have happened since 4 July 2014 that may change such attitudes. First, the Scottish referendum forced the government to promise the package of powers to the Scottish Parliament that are known as "devo max". That has created something of a backlash in the rest of the UK which will only be satisfied when similar powers are devolved to Wales and Northern Ireland and the regions of England. Secondly, the City Growth Commission of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) published Unleashing Metro Growth: Final recommendations of the City Growth Commission on 23 Oct 2014.  The report envisaged six "powerhouse super city regions" by 2030 namely London, North, Midlands, Central Scotland, North East and Severn. The North super city region would consist of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Merseyside with a combined population of 6.9 million and a GVA at 21012 prices of £232 billion (an uplift of £19.4 billion).

The idea of a northern agglomeration has been met with scepticism and outright hostility in some circles. "We don't want some kind of northern goo" tweeted someone in response to one if my earlier articles. But agglomeration need not mean loss of identity or the abandonment of local loyalties.  Look at London football teams. There has never been a "London United". Teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, QPR, Tottenham and West Ham which compete in the Premier League are based in districts of Greater London. London is a network of villages and the sense of belonging to the "East End" or "South London" is arguably as strong as county loyalties in the North.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

CPD Event - "The Intellectual Property Act 2014 - What it means for you and your clients" Liverpool 29 Sept 2014

Jane Lambert





















On the 1 Oct 2014 most of the sections of the Intellectual Property Act 2014 will come into force (see "The Intellectual Property Act 2014 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014" 6 Sept 2014). The Act makes substantial changes to patent, registered design and unregistered design right law which I summarized in "Reflections on the Intellectual Property Act 2014" 7 June 2014 4-5 IP Tech. 

To discuss those provisions and their practical effect for businesses and their investors and professional advisers I shall be leading a seminar at the offices of QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter at 88 Church Street, Liverpool, L1 3AY at 16:00 on 29 Sept 2014. Everybody is welcome - artists, bankers, business angels and private equity investors, chartered accountants and other business advisers, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors, patent and trade mark attorneys, solicitors and counsel. All have an interest in this statute and its implementation.

The boardroom at Jackson & Canter has space for only 20 people so it is essential to book. You can do that in two ways. You can call my clerk George on 020 7404 5252 or you can book on-line.  Although there is no charge for the event I shall be passing round the wig for the Lord Mayor's charities. I learned about them yesterday from the Lady Mayoress herself at a wonderful series of ballet, jazz and contemporary classes given by KNT Danceworks in the magnificent ballroom of Liverpool town hall (see "Not every class that you can use Lord Canning's eyes for Spotting" 9 Sept 2014 Terpsichore). At the request of Philip Hannay of Cloch Solicitors in Glasgow we shall try to broadcast the talk or upload a film of my presentation to YouTube.

Our chambers is already accredited to issue CPD points for the SRA and BSB and George is looking into the possibility of obtaining accreditation from IPReg.

Post Script

Liverpool town hall has posted a lovely pic of the Lord and Lady Mayoress and our dance teacher to twitter which I have embedded below.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

How the Law protects Film Making

Media City, Manchester where much of the UK creative industry is located
Photograph Wikipedia


















Jane Lambert

The announcement on Tuesday of a £13 million investment by Vistaar Productions in a post production facility in Manchester coinciding with the Deputy Prime Minister's trade delegation to India is a good time to consider the legal protection of film making in the United Kingdom.

Copyright subsists in films pursuant to s.1 (1) (b) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ("the CDPA").  It is a property right that confers upon the owner the exclusive right to do a number of restricted acts. Those acts include:
  • copying the film;
  • issuing copies to the public;
  • renting or lending the film to the public;
  • performing, showing or playing the film in public;
  • communicating the film to the public;
  • making an adaptation of the work or doing any of the above in relation to an adaptation.
Anyone who does any of those acts without the licence (that is to say the permission) of the copyright owner infringes the owner's copyright. In England and Wales the copyright owner can sue the person who does those acts without his or her permission ("the infringer") in the High Court or the Manchester, Liverpool and certain other county courts for damages (compensation for any losses the copyright owner may have sustained) or, alternatively, the surrender of any profits that the infringer may have gained from his or her wrongdoing together with an injunction (or order of the court)  to cease and not repeat the infringement or risk a heavy fine or imprisonment.

A "film" is defined by s.5B (1) as "a recording on any medium from which a moving image may by any means be produced". The sound track accompanying a film shall be treated as part of the film for the purposes of this legislation but this provision does not affect any copyright that may subsist in the sound track as a sound recording. The definition of a film should be contrasted with the definition of a photograph and a broadcast. S.4 (2) defines a photograph as
"a recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which an image may by any means be produced, and which is not part of a film."
A  broadcast is defined by s.6 (1) as
"an electronic transmission of visual images, sounds or other information which –
(a) is transmitted for simultaneous reception by members of the public and is capable of being lawfully received by them, or
(b) is transmitted at a time determined solely by the person making the transmission for presentation to members of the public,"
but does not include certain types of internet transmissions.

There is no system of copyright registration in the United Kingdom. Copyright subsists automatically in a film from the moment it is made so long as the following nationality, residence or publication qualifications are met. The first way in which those requirements may be met is if the producer or principal director is a British citizen or resides in the UK (see s.154 (1) CDPA). Those requirements are also met if the producer or principal director is a citizen or resident of some other country that provides copyright protection for the works of British citizens or residents under a treaty or bilateral agreement with the British government. As most countries are party to the Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention or TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) that includes India, the USA and most if not all other film making countries. The requirements are also met if the film is first published in the UK or one of those other countries under s.155 (1) of the CDPA. Unlike artistic, dramatic, literary and musical works there is no requirement for originality for the subsistence of copyright in a film but s.5B (4) provides that "copyright does not subsist in a film which is, or to the extent that it is, a copy taken from a previous film."

Unless the producer and principal director are the same person a film is treated as a work of joint authorship - that is to say "a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author or authors." The producer and principal director will own the copyright in their film unless they were employed to make the film under a contract of employment in which case their employer will own that copyright.

Subject to a number of exceptions, s.13B of the CDPA provides that copyright expires at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death occurs of the last to die of the following persons -
(a) the principal director,
(b) the author of the screenplay,
(c) the author of the dialogue, or
(d) the composer of music specially created for and used in the film.
It is important to note that different rules apply to films made for the Crown, Parliament or international organizations.

The director of a film also has the right to be identified as the director, to object to derogatory treatment of his or her film and the right not to have a film attributed to him or her falsely. These rights are known as moral rights and are subsist quite separately from the copyright in the film.

It is important to note that the film copyright in a film is only one of a number of copyrights that will involved in making the film. For instance, copyright is likely to subsist in the screenplay as a dramatic work and in the score for the sound track as a musical work. Design right is likely to subsist in the the designs of the props and costumes. Each of the actors is a performer with the right to object to the filming, taping or broadcasting of his or her performance. The studio or distributors of the film will almost certainly register trade marks. 

Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Day (the UN specialist agency for intellectual property) discussed the IP issues film making in "WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on 'Movies - A Global Passion." He made that video as a contribution to World IP Day which this year focussed on the cinema. There us more discussion on IP and cinema on the World IP Day page on the WIPO website.

This is a complex topic upon which everyone involved in film making and distribution requires specialist advice. We are lucky that one of our members, Thomas Dillon, has specialist expertise which he gained as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel EMEA in the Brussels office of the Motion Picture Association. We are also fortunate in sharing space with Atlas Tax Chambers who can advise on the tax incentives and other allowances that are available in this country. Should you wish to discuss this article further call me on 0161 850 0080 during office hours or message me through my contact form. You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+, Linkedin or Xing

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

What happens to the Judicial Infrastructure if the North becomes connected?



















Yesterday the city regions of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield published One North A Proposition for an Interconnected North. In it the leaders of Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield city councils and the Mayor of Liverpool wrote:
"The 15m population of the North is larger than London and almost as big as the Netherlands but our economy is not doing as well. Our ambition is for the North to be a dynamic counterweight and complement to the London and South-East economy, a destination of choice for investors, helping re-balance and grow the national economy in the decades ahead."
To achieve that ambition, the leaders and mayor propose "a transformation of connectivity at the heart of an aim to maximise economic growth in the North."

The leaders and mayor want a new high speed railway linking their cities and other population centres on the lines of the HS1 link in Kent shown above as well as improvements to, and better management of, the road network. They list the expected benefits as follows:
  • "Stimulating business investment and innovation by supporting economies of scale and new ways of working.
  • Achieving agglomeration economies by bringing firms and their employees closer to business rivals and partners.
  • Enabling firms to access a larger labour supply and providing wider employment opportunities for workers and those seeking work.
  • Increasing competitiveness through access to new and larger markets with the benefits of increased labour market specialisation.
  • Reducing trading costs and using more efficient logistics networks.
  • Strengthening the existing comparative advantages of the North as a place to do business."
All this is very much in line with my own thinking which I expressed in a number of articles in this and other blogs (see "Power. Performance. Potential. Leeds Economic Conference" 5 July 2014) but, more importantly, it is also in line with the utterances of senior figures in the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. It follows that there must be  good chance that the high new speed railway and improved road links will be built.

If those links are built and the  benefits mentioned above materialize there is likely to be an acceleration of business activity resulting in increased demand for intellectual property services of all kinds. As I noted in "Are Southerners really more innovative than we are?" 20 July 2014 and "Well at least a Yorkshireman invented Cats' Eyes" 20 July 2014 the North of England trails London and the Home Counties in the number of patent applications. If business investment and innovation are to be stimulated there should be far more applications from this region. Inevitably there will be more disputes which businesses will wish to resolve locally.

Until its merger with the Chancery Division the Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster had jurisdiction to hear patents and design cases in Liverpool and Manchester. Although other intellectual property claims were brought regularly in the Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Preston District Registries and County Courts until October 2010 (and in theory still can be) patent, registered design, plant breeders' rights and semiconductor topography cases have been reserved to the Patents Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") and its predecessor the Patents County Court.

Page 15 of the One North proposition sets out a timescale for building the transport links and other improvements by the next Preston Guild. By that time the Unified Patent Court should be up and running. Art 7 (4) of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court permits contracting countries to designate up to 4 local divisions of the Court of First Instance and the German Federal Minister of Justice has already indicated that Germany will take advantage of that provision by setting up local divisions in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim and Munich (see "Lokalkammern in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim und München Europäische Patentgerichtsbarkeit auf gutem Weg" 14 March 2014 German Federal Ministry of Justice website). If the North is to become "a dynamic counterweight and complement to the London and South-East economy, a destination of choice for investors" it is essential to establish a local division in Manchester or Leeds.

IPEC is already part of the High Court and its judges have indicated that they will sit anywhere in England and Wales. There would be no difficulty in appointing a second circuit judge and at least one district judge to sit permanently in the North.

In 1988, well before the 1992 Preston Guild, Henry Carr QC and I debated the case for a local IP court for the North of England in the Manchester Club. With any luck we shall have such a jurisdiction by the next Guild.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Are Southerners really more innovative than we are?

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry celebrating the North-West's
proud industrial past. But what of the present?
Source Wikipedia





















According to the Intellectual Property Office's Facts and Figures for 2012 and 2013, some 1,259 British patent applications were filed from the North West in 2013 which was down from 1,426 the previous year. The number of applications from the region was behind South East England (2,822), London (2,588), East of England (1,802) and the South West (1,368) but we were ahead of all the regions including the West Midlands (1,180) and, most importantly, Yorkshire (984).

Some 204 British patents were granted to proprietors in the North West in 2013 compared to 437 in the South East, 346 in London, 340 in South West England and 337 in the East. Again, the North West did better than the rest of the UK.

There were 4,222 applications for British trade marks from North West England in 2013 compared to 12,699 from London and 6,197 from the South East. There were 3,521 new registrations in the region compared to 10,583 in London and 5,258 in the South East.

With 471 applications the North West came fourth in the number of registered design applications in 2013 behind London 1,153, South East England 1,066 and the North East 548. In the number of design registrations the North West trailed fifth with 397 compared to 883 from South East England, 720 from London, 484 from North East England and 451 from the West Midlands.

We can assist artists, designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and investors in the North West with our talks and publications all of which are free of charge. For our chargeable services see "IP Services from Barristers" 6 Apr 2013 4-5 IP. If anyone wants to discuss his article or any patent, trade mark, design or other intellectual property matter he or she should call us on 0161 850 0080 or get in touch through my contact form. You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+, Linkedin or Xing.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Power. Performance. Potential. Leeds Economic Conference

Millennium Square Leeds 


















Yesterday I attended an International Economic Conference at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds which had been organized by Leeds and Partners to celebrate the start of the Tour de France. The guest of honour was Nick Clegg MP, the deputy prime minister.

In his speech the deputy prime minister said
"It’s time for us to put aside outdated local rivalries. As we’ve seen with the Local Enterprise Partnerships in Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester, united we’re stronger."
Noting that "Northern cities like Leeds aren’t just competing with other locations in the south, east or west of England" but also have to rank against global cities like Frankfurt, Lyon, Bangalore and Chengdu for incoming investment, the deputy prime minister announced the Northern Futures Project. Clegg described it as
"an open call to our local leaders, businesses and experts in housing, transport, planning, science and education across the north of England to answer this fundamental question: how do we build on the strengths in the north to create an economic core in the heart of the region that can compete with the biggest cities and regions in the world?"
As Clegg had noted "Leeds, along with Sheffield and Manchester, can and should form part of a northern hub, driving economic investment and growth across the north of England." Those 3 cities are all within 45 miles of one another.
"Together, they can offer investors access to flexible, highly-skilled workforces, world-class universities with cutting-edge research expertise, a strong industrial base and clusters of innovative businesses in high-growth sectors such as precision manufacturing, creative and professional services, healthcare, retail and green industries."
It will be remembered that I had argued for something like a northern hub in "Creating a Northern Counterweight to London is good for the Nation" 5 Apr 2014 and "Nesta in Manchester" 3 Jan 2013.

Unfortunately Clegg's words seemed to fall very much on deaf ears because the leaders of Leeds and Wakefield City Councils and the Chief Executive and York who had gathered to discuss KPMG's Magnetic Cities report competed in an orgy of what I can only describe as Manchester bashing. "I wasn't going to mention Manchester" said one, "They're only better at self-promotion" said another. "We've hot a bigger economy £55 billion as opposed to £51 million" chimed a third to the general acclamation of the crowd.

I was tempted to observe that for so long as that sort of thinking prevails no part of our region - by which I mean the almost continuous "H" shaped conurbation along the M62, M1 and M6 corridors from Wetherby and Rotherham to the Irish Sea - and certainly not Leeds will ever amount to much. However, I had already made myself unpopular by two pointed interventions.

In the first I pointed out to Clegg that if our region is to prosper it needs the sort of autonomy enjoyed by Greater London with its larger than life Mayor or better still the local decision making autonomy enjoyed by Scotland and Wales. "Oh" replied a chastened Clegg "I'm disappointed that you don't think that we've given you enough. That's what the city deals are all about." If I'd had a chance to reply I would have said: "big deal."

In my second intervention I suggested to the KPMG team and civic leaders that if we want to emulate San Francisco or even Tel Aviv and Bangalore we need the concentration of angels, VCs and entrepreneurs that have subsisted around Silicon Valley for the last 30 years. The only place in the UK that had anything like that was Silicon Roundabout and Tech City in London. They were not created by central or local government and it was no good moaning about the disparity in economic activity between North and South, "What we needed" I suggested "was a silicon ginnel". I had to explain that a "ginnel" was an alley.

So here is my recipe for a successful North.
(1)   Stop fighting the wars of the roses which were really medieval power struggles between different branches of the royal family and their acolytes and nothing to do with the inhabitants of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
(2)   Let's recognize the reality that we already have a metropolis that stretches from Wetherby to the Wirral with branches taking in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield in Yorkshire and Warrington to Preston in the North West and coordinate its governance. Metropolises do not need to share the same local authority - look at Southern California - or indeed be in the same state for Greater New York embraces New Jersey and Connecticut as well as southern New York or even the same country as is shown by Windsor and Detroit or Basle, Mulhouse and Freiburg but they do have to think of themselves and function as one metropolis.
(3) Infrastructure investment decisions have to be taken locally and not centrally. We need something like crossrail now and we should not have to wait until goodness knows when for the Treasury to fund HS3.
(4) We need local forums for the settlement of our disputes and should not have to traipse down to the Rolls Building in London. IPEC which is now part of the Chancery Division should sit in Leeds and Manchester and probably also Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Newcastle as well as London. Not only will that save the costs but it should also  facilitate the development of expertise in the local bars and law firms. The same should happen in other specialist practice areas. When the Unified Patent Court launches there should be a local division in Manchester or Leeds.
(5) We need not replicate everything on both sides of the Pennines. Manchester has an international airport. Leeds does not need to rival it.
(6) We should adopt as our own and celebrate the treasures of the region and not knock or ignore them. Leeds trumpets itself as the artistic capital of the North because it has Northern Ballet (which incidentally started and flowered in Manchester and it is scandalous that Manchester ever let it go) quite oblivious of the fact that Manchester has the Bridgewater Hall, several of the world's greatest orchestras in the world, The Lowry, the Royal Exchange, the Museum of Science and Industry and the City Gallery with its unique collection of Manchester impressionists. Liverpool also has a fine orchestra and magnificent museums as does Bradford, Wakefield and Preston. No creative spirit will be tempted out of London by any single one of those attractions but the combined total of our region's artistic treasures is almost irresistible.

The one thing that surprised me most about yesterday's economic conference in Leeds is that nobody mentioned the International Festival of Business which has been taking place just over an hour away in Liverpool since the beginning of June (see "Liverpool International Festival for Business" 26 April 2014) and has attracted the Prime Minister and political and business leaders from around the world. The only time that Liverpool was mentioned was when one of the speakers said that he would prefer to meet folk in London 220 miles away than Liverpool 70 miles away because "London was easier to get to," I could not believe my ears as I visit both cities regularly and there is no question that Liverpool is much nearer however one travels. That's the sort of provincial negativity that has to stop if the North is to become the industrial powerhouse that Clegg, Osborne and Miliband, who are all Northern MPs, say they want to create in this region.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Liverpool International Festival for Business




















I should first like to wish all my readers a Happy World Intellectual Property Day.

In June and July Liverpool will host the International Festival for Business. According to its website
"The International Festival for Business (IFB) 2014 is the largest global concentration of business events during 2014......... IFB 2014 is very ambitious. It is a key part of the government's target of rebalancing the economy and achieving its export and investment objectives."
The blurb continues:
"A festival like this has never been held before. IFB 2014 isn’t a talking shop - it’s a chance for you to develop your business. We are placing an explicit focus on creating new international and domestic business-to-business relationships and commercial openings for small, medium and large UK companies."
This is not just a business event. There is also to be a festival of culture embracing music, theatre, art and sport.

We think it is a great idea and we will support the project in any and every way we can. As intellectual property is the glue that holds together investment in branding, design, technology and the creative works we shall hold a workshop on the Intellectual Property Bill similar to the one we are holding in London on 19 May in conjunction with our good friends in the Intellectual Property Department of QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter and other IP professionals in and around Liverpool.  We also hope to run clinics, seminars on tax, media and entertainment and sports law, help for inventors, designers and performing artists, a roving publication, social media events - you name it we shall do it.

In the meantime, if you have any questions call George on 0161 850 0080 or fill in our contact form.