27 January 2009

Web 2.0: Bradford BarCamp

BarCamp has nothing to do with Cumberland Lodge. In fact it has nothing much to do with barristers save that I will be there.   I have always intended to put my name down for one of these events and never quite got round to doing so. I missed the Manchester and Leeds BarCamps. I am certainly not going to miss the one in Bradford

What is this BarCamp, I hear you say? The website describes it as "an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendee" but, of course, you can read it for yourself can't you. You can also watch the YouTube clip of what happened in the Orlando BarCamp.

The Bradford BarCamp will take place at ShipleyCollege on 18 April 2009 from 10:00 to 17:00. I've offered to talk about the legal issues.   I think these issues are important but I am not sure that I will get an audience.   Ian Green has some very good topics.   Ian spoke at Bmedi@ last year and gave a very entertaining talk.   He claimed to be the man who got everybody to thing that a particular day in January was the most miserable day of the year.   It is worth attending the event just to hear his contributions.

You can register for the event through the website and I would recommend your getting a move on.   Places for BarCamps usually fill up very quickly. 

15 January 2009

Accolade for IP Yorkshire in the Flood Report

IP Yorkshire was mentioned in the report "Straight There No Detours: Direct Access to Barristers" by Professor John Flood and Avis Whyte of Westminster University which was commissioned by the Bar Council. The Bar Council has not yet got round to posting the report to its website but anybody interested can download the report from the Social Science Research Network's site at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1321492.

At page 21, Flood and Whyte write:
"Most types of work appeared suitable for Public Access. One particular area mentioned to us was the ability of counsel to give “red light/green light” opinions on cases. This could be done far quicker and for less cost than by a solicitor. An example of the speed of reaction by barristers is given by Jane Lambert in her blog “IPYorkshire”. In a trademark matter the barrister was able to examine the papers and form an opinion within a few hours and refer the client to appropriate patent and trademark agents (she believed it necessary that the response the client needed to make should come under the letterhead of a professional rather than under his own hand)."
I think that must have been a reference to my post of 12 Sep "No Names, No Pack Drill but here is a Success Story that shows how the Panel works"   The client wrote quite a nice little commendation for us a few days later in "Trade Marks: A Very Satisfied Client"

This blog was also commended on the next page (as were our chambers) for making public access services known to the public:
"And some barristers have developed their own websites and blogs as a way of informing potential clients of their services. For example, IPYorkshire directs itself at the IP industry in the north-east, as does NIPC Law."
In the year that two of the biggest sets in Manchester, namely Peel Court and 8 King Street, folded it is nice to be able to report something positive from my profession.

12 January 2009

Social Networking: Process can be served by Facebook

As most of my clients and connections in Yorkshire and Humberside know, IP Yorkshire is on Facebook. We're also on LinkedIn and twitter if anybody is interested.   These are social networking sites where people go for as bit of fun. However, that may change with the decision of Master Harper of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) to permit a mortgagee's solicitors to serve process by "poking" in a possession action against two mortgagors whom it was unable to serve by any other way.

As it happened, the master's permission was given too late because the mortgagors withdrew their profile from Facebook before they could be served.   But the decision has resounded around the world with Facebook apparently rejoicing: 
"We're pleased to see the Australian court validate Facebook as a reliable, secure and private medium for communication. The ruling is also an interesting indication of the increasing role that Facebook is playing in people's lives,"
(see "Australia OKs Facebook for serving lien notice" on Yahoo). Some some informed comments by Antipodean counsel, you can do worse than read the post on IP Wars by my WIPO colleague Warwick Rothnie.

Could it happen here? CPR 6.3 (1) permits a claim form to be served by any of the following methods:
"(a) personal service in accordance with rule 6.5;
(b) first class post, document exchange or other service which provides for delivery on the next business day, in accordance with Practice Direction A supplementing this Part;
(c) leaving it at a place specified in rule 6.7, 6.8, 6.9 or 6.10;
(d) fax or other means of electronic communication in accordance with Practice Direction A supplementing this Part; or
(e) any method authorised by the court under rule 6.15."

As for other methods of service, CPR 6.15 provides
"(1) Where it appears to the court that there is a good reason to authorise service by a method or at a place not otherwise permitted by this Part, the court may make an order permitting service by an alternative method or at an alternative place.
(2) On an application under this rule, the court may order that steps already taken to bring the claim form to the attention of the defendant by an alternative method or at an alternative place is good service.
(3) An application for an order under this rule –
(a) must be supported by evidence; and
(b) may be made without notice.
(4) An order under this rule must specify –
(a) the method or place of service;
(b) the date on which the claim form is deemed served; and
(c) the period for –
(i) filing an acknowledgment of service;
(ii) filing an admission; or
(iii) filing a defence."
That appears to be, if anything, sligjtly broader than Reg 6460 of the Court Procedure Rules of the Australiabn Capital Territory under which service through Facebook was authorized.    I have to say that I think service could be effected through Facebook or some other social networking site here.