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.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Costs: The Football Association Premier League Ltd v Berry and Another

Jane Lambert











In The Football Association Premier League Ltd v Berry and Another [2014] EWHC 726 (Ch) (13 March 2014) the claimant sought summary judgment in its claim for copyright infringement against the proprietor of  a watering hole almost opposite the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts in Liverpool that is well known and well loved by counsel on the Northern Circuit and their instructing solicitors (see "City centre bar fined showing Premier League football could be forced to close" 14 March 2014 Liverpool Echo). The application was largely conceded and counsel for the parties agreed a minute of order which provided for injunctions, an inquiry or account of profits and costs on the standard basis. The only issue that was not agreed was the amount of an interim order for costs and that issue fell to be decided by Richard Spearman QC sitting as a judge of the High Court.

The transcript of the hearing before Mr Spearman does not give very many details of the action but the press report to which I referred above provides the following background information:
"Premier League bosses said their investigators had visited First National earlier in the season and seen TVs in the bar showing the Al Jazeera channel, which was recently rebranded beIN Sports.
They argued the channel had only bought rights to show games to viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, and so by showing it in the UK the law was being broken."
In his judgment the deputy judge noted that the claim was not "not for the entirety of the broadcasts, which are broadcasts of football matches, but is limited to claims for infringement of the copyrights in logos and graphics which appear as part of the broadcasts." However, he also said at paragraph [14]:
"it seems to me absolutely obvious that these rights are valuable and important rights. From the brief sight I have had of the relevant screenshots it is quite obvious that they convey useful and interesting information to viewers."
The defendant had argued that the claimant could expect only a few hundred pounds by way of damages and that this action was an example of a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut. Her arguments were summarized by Mr Spearman as follows:
(a)   This was a claim against a single publican in respect of a very small number of broadcasts, 7 in all.
(b)   Only some of those broadcasts were the subject of the summary judgment application now conceded by the defendant.  
(c)   Licences would have been available from BSkyB for £1,230.18 plus VAT per month, which would have given him access to the entirety of BSkyB's premium sports content of which the logos and the graphic works the subject of the litigation were only a small part.
Mr Spearman was "very far from persuaded that the value of the claim will be in the measure of a few hundred pounds." A monthly licence fee from BSkyB would amount to £28,000 over the period during which the matches were shown.  Moreover, additional statutory damages had also been claimed.

At the hearing the defendant argued that the claim could and should have been brought in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") where recoverable costs are capped. His problem, however, was that he had raised that argument for the first time only a few days before the hearing. Moreover, his defence had been based on European and national competition law which was outside IPEC's jurisdiction, he had put the claimant to proof on subsistence, title and use and both sides had instructed leading and junior counsel in the litigation.  

Much more significant in the deputy judge's view than the amount of the recoverable damages was that this litigation was "part of a battle on a much wider front between publicans and the like in general and copyright owners such as the claimant in this case and BSkyB as to whether the claims of the copyright owners are untenable in light of European and competition law considerations."  Accordingly, it seemed to Mr Spearman that "the importance of the rights to the parties on both sides are very high and very clear, reflected not least by the fact that both sides in this litigation have used very well known and experienced leading and junior counsel."   That he considered "to be very relevant on the proportionality of this litigation and the costs incurred."

The claimant's costs of the applications were over £148.000 and it asked for an interim payment of £65,000. In United Airlines Inc. v United Airways Limited [2011] EWHC 2411 Mr Justice Vos had  said that he had to determine not the irreducible minimum that was likely to be awarded, but a reasonable estimate of what is likely to be awarded.  An interim payment of £65,000 had been ordered in the somewhat similar case of the Football Association Premier League v Luxton (see "Premier League live football: Pub landlord broke copyright law" 30 Jan 2014 BBC).  Although Mr Spearman did not place much reliance on what was said about other cases, the fact that Mr Justice Rose ordered an interim payment of £65,000 within 28 days gave him some comfort that an order of that sort was not wildly out of the appropriate league. Accordingly, Mr Spearman made an order for payment of the same interim amount in this case.

The awarding of costs generally and deciding the amount of interim payments are matters within a judge's discretion. Though I am a little puzzled at his finding that the damages likely to be awarded upon an inquiry will exceed £25,000 since the claimant would receive only a proportion - and I would have thought only a small proportion - of the licence fee paid to BSkyB for a whole month's sport I cannot see any obvious fault in the judge's exercise of his discretoion. Despite Woolf, Jackson and the launch of IPEC civil litigation in this country is still too damned expensive. It is imposing an intolerable burden on British business and something needs to be done about it.  Until something is done the lesson from this litigation seems to be that if you want to fight the football clubs make sure you get some proper funding to do so either from others in your trade or from an insurer (if insurance is available for a case like this) or some other third party.

It is important to note that intellectual property law exists not just for the benefit of intellectual asset owners - in this case the Premier League - but is intended to strike a balance between the interests of intellectual asset producers, competitors and consumers.  However that picture is complex because the public also has an interest in maintaining the viability of the clubs, investment in the sport and the convenience of watching football on television, According to the Echo Liverpool received £54,8 million from broadcasting and Everton £51.8 million last season. At least some of that money seems to find its way to schoolchildren.  For instance the Echo reported that Rainhill School received a grant of £300,000 to improve its football facilities.

After the World Cup Samuel Okoronkwo, Robert Griffiths QC and I together with one of our colleagues from Atlas Tax Chambers will hold a half day seminar in London on regulation of agents, competition, broadcasting, licensing and other issues relating to football. If you are interested in pre-registering call George on 0161 850 0080 or fill in my contact form.  You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+, Linkedin or Xing. We look forward to seeing you.

Further Reading
Jeremy Phillips "Costly copyright litigation? Blame the litigants" 18 March 2014 1709 Blog

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Creating a Northern Counterweight to London is good for the Nation

Salford Quays        Source Wikipedia

















On the 28 Oct 2013 The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce ("RSA") launched an independent commission known as the City Growth Commission is to investigate how England’s cities can become engines for growth (see the RSA press release Independent City Growth Commission launched by RSA  28 Oct 2013).

Chaired by the well-known economist Jim O'Neil the Commission will address the following questions:
  • "What are the key benefits – for the economy, investment, innovation, productivity and public finances – of shifting to a multi-polar growth model, in which our major cities are key players in the nations’ economy? 
  • What does the international evidence show about the role of cities in driving growth and catalysing innovation and what are the key success factors that we can learn from?
  • What is the relationship between public service reform and economic growth at city level? How can more effective demand management through public service reconfiguration and integration help to drive social and economic productivity and enable our cities to become financially sustainable?
  • How can decision making and responsibility be better aligned with the reality of local labour markets, so that employment support, childcare, skills policy, welfare strategy and economic development are integrated around the needs of local people and businesses?
  • How can growth in other English cities complement London’s economic success, and what should be the interrelationship between devolution, growth and reform strategies in London and in our other major cities?
  • What needs to change between Whitehall and our cities to make multi-polar growth a reality? What does the Centre need to do to enable this and what economic and revenue levers do cities require?
  • What are the practical, organisational, cultural and systemic barriers that stand in the way of a fundamental shift in economic power to our cities and how can these be overcome?"
The Commission will take evidence until this summer and then deliver its report in the autumn.

In "Prosperity Lives in the City" 30 Oct 2013 Bloomberg View, O'Neill wrote:
"More often than not, cities are the engine that powers economic growth. When a country’s cities succeed -- and I do mean cities, plural -- the economy is much more likely to prosper."
He also noted that although the British economy was beginning to pick up growth is not well balanced. The most conspicuous form of imbalance is regional in that there is an increasing dependence on London and the South East. O'Neill developed his ideas in an interview with Toby Helm of  The Observer 2 March 2014  "Cities chief Jim O'Neill's tip for a prosperous Britain: devolve to the north"  Stressing that the economic success of the capital was a good thing he suggested that the solution to the regional imbalance lay not in holding London's back but in making the other cities of the United Kingdom more like London. For instance, by improving transport links in the M62 corridor cities along its route could be welded into a single economic area. 

The BBC's economics correspondent Evan Davis took the idea a stage further in his article "The case for making Hebden Bridge the UK's second city" 10 March 2014 BBC website and his TV programme "Mind The Gap: London Vs The Rest" shown that same evening. Citing a World Bank conclusion that
"The large and growing academic literature suggests that doubling city size increases productivity by 3% to 8%"
Davis argued that if the population of Manchester could be quadrupled it would be between 6 and 16% richer than it is now. Now if Manchester were to quadruple in size it would occupy much of the space between Leeds and Liverpool. The components for such a conurbation already exists in the four contiguous metropolitan counties of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West and South Yorkshire. If those conurbations would only think of themselves as one we have our second city already with a green centre located somewhere around Hebden Bridge.

In his article Davis wrote:
"The suggestion that[Henden Bridge] is Britain's second city came from resident David Fletcher, who was active in the 80s saving the town's old mills and converting them to modern use.
His point is that Hebden Bridge is an inverted city with a greenbelt centre and suburbs called Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
His point was that the real second city of the UK is a trans-Pennine strip that extends the relatively short distance across northern England, joining the built-up areas that lie second, fourth and sixth in the UK ranking.
Certainly, Hebden Bridge has attracted a lot of professional couples who are split commuters, one heading towards Manchester and one towards Leeds each morning. It is a place that allows both those cities to be treated as next door.
And maybe therein lies some kind of answer to the critical mass of London. It's not a second city called Hebden Bridge, but a super-city that tries to turn the great cities of northern England into one large travel-to-work area.
It would require a lot of physical infrastructure to improve links between the different centres.
And there would doubtless be rivalry and tension. The fact that Manchester is at its centre may not delight those who enjoy the football rivalries that are well known in that neighbourhood.
But there is no need to combine the teams, or to combine the names.
There would simply be a need to build on the success the bigger cities of Britain have been enjoying in recent years."
Regrettably but perhaps predictably Davis and O'Neill's suggestions of integrating existing conurbations was taken literally and stimulated all sorts of unhelpful emotions including Trans-Pennine rivalries not to mention Cis-Pennine rivalries such as those subsisting between Liverpool and Manchester on one side and Bradford and Leeds on the other.

As I pointed out in "NESTA in Manchester" 3 Jan 2013 the Pennines are not a big deal. The coastal range that separates the San Fernando Valley from the city of Los Angeles is a much more formidable barrier but it does not prevent the people of Southern California from thinking of themselves, and functioning, as one metropolitan area.

It may be that this sort of regional thinking is beginning to take root at last. Something very similar to Davis's plan was canvassed by Haughton G, Deas I, Hincks S, 2014, "Making an impact: when agglomeration boosterism meets antiplanning rhetoric" Environment and Planning A 46(2) 265 – 270. It may also be manifesting itself in the ‘Destination Management Plan’ to turn the formerly derelict Manchester Ship Canal docklands into a cultural and sports complex to rival London's South Bank. This scheme has the support of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Manchester United Football Club as well as The Lowry, the Imperial War Museum North, the BBC, the University of Salford. Trafford MDC and Salford City Council. Certainly if the M62 corridor is to be an economic counterweight to London and the South East it needs a strong cultural base to attract and keep the professionals and business leaders who can make that happen.

As O'Neill is a prominent Manchester United supporter he might reasonably be expected to favour initiatives like Destination Management Plan.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Tax Relief on R & D and Inventions

Immediately after the Daresbury Business Breakfast on the 28 Feb 2014 Ian Rowland of Grant Thornton and Jack Stevenson-Hill of Marks & Clerk presented "Are you minimising your business costs by optimising tax relief on your R&D and inventions?" The presentation covered the Enterprise Investment Scheme ("EIS"), the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme ("SEIS"), Entrepreneurs' Relief, Research and Development Tax Relief and the Patent Box.

The discussion on the Patent Box was particularly timely as it is a year since it came into force. At a similar meeting last year I had asked a number of questions such as what happens to the tax relief if a patent is a revoked? Is all the tax clawed back or is the allowance disallowed from the date of revocation? This year the presenters were able to give me some answers and I was pleased to hear that the general view is that the tax allowed for the time the patent was in force will not be claimed back.

In the audience was an official from HM Revenue & Customs and although he made clear that he could and would say nothing that might bind his department he did not dissent from the speakers' view. After the presentation I got to talk to the official who told me that the Manchester Specialist Unit Large & Complex Business contains most of the Revenue's expertise on the patent box and other tax relief. He did not give me his name and though we exchanged business cards his card contains only the postal address of his unit (which is in Glasgow) and an email address which starts off with the word "randdmanchester". He also gave me to understand that his team look at issues on a case by case basis and are interested in outcomes.

Ian and Jack sent me a copy of their slides which is very interesting and comprehensive. I would be happy to put them on Slideshare and embed them into this blog if they were happy for me to do that. In the meantime I am sending them a copy of this article. If you want to discuss IP and tax I should be happy to talk generally on the subject if you call me on 020 7404 5252 or fill in my contact form. If there are any questions that I can't answer I will pass them on to Anne Fairpo who wrote the book.