Sunday, 5 February 2017

Creative Industries Federation: Creative Industries and the Business of IP

Jane Lambert

The Creative Industries Federation describes itself as "the national membership organisation bringing together all of the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education to provide an authoritative and united voice in a way never done before." I had previously attended two of its events:  a roadshow in Leeds on 1 June 2015 (see The Creative Industries Road Show comes to Leeds 3 June 2015 Terpsichore) and a Brexit impact meeting n Manchester on 28 July 2016.

On 2 Feb 2017, the Federation held an event called "Creative Industries and the Business of IP". The announcement on the CIF's website promised:
"The Federation and the Alliance for Intellectual Property are convening this highly practical discussion on intellectual property that will address the main policy issues for the creative industries and help to demystify IP. This will include keynote speakers as well as two practical break-out sessions that will explain what you as a creator and/or owner of IP, can do to protect your rights and how you can unlock the value in your IP to grow your business. You will also get an update on the challenges and opportunities for our sector in relation to Brexit."
There were some interesting speakers:
Attendees included entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, accountants, solicitors, patent and trade mark attorneys and representatives of central and local governments, trade and professional associations, colleges and universities.

After a welcome from Penny Macbeth and introductory remarks from John Kampfner and Eddy Leviten there were short presentations by Alex Connock, William Bush and Sally Britton. Alex showed us examples of videos that had been made in Greater Manchester and spoke of the importance of the creative sector to the North West. Bill took up that theme and emphasized the importance of IP to the economy. Sally outlined some of the likely consequences for IP of the UK's departure from the EU.

We then separated into two groups. One left for another room to attend a session called Protecting your IP. That group was addressed by Alison Statham, Gavin Terry and Iain Spinks-Gillen. Those who attended that session were promised:
"a practical step by step guide to to assist creators, SMEs and anyone involved in the creation, distribution or ownership of IP in knowing where their content or products are being traded illicitly and to give some advice on how to deal with the problem."
The rest of us stayed for Valuing your IP:
"an easy to understand and practical session on determining how to value intellectual property so that it can be used positively to maximise growth opportunities such as licensing, funding, creative collaborations, responding to tenders etc."
Nick Konoupias spoke about his company's services and, in particular, about IP audits and how he carries them out.  Tony Pluckrose gave a quick overview of intellectual property and the different types of intellectual property rights that are available.  Kiki Anadu discussed the difficulties of valuing entertainment content having regard to changing demographics, technology and tastes. Rebecca Clayton introduced us to two valuation techniques - one based on income where the "intellectual property" was generating revenue and the other based on cost where it was not.

Both groups reassembled for a talk by Marianne Grant on the Get it Right from a Genuine Site campaign. That campaign sets out to educate the public in general, and suspected file sharers in particular, on the availability of licensed as opposed to pirated material. Marianne made the most memorable observation of the day when she referred to Sebastian Barry's remark that he had spent 50 years on planning his novel Days Without End. An extreme example, she conceded, but a perfect illustration of her point that "intellectual property" takes time and effort to create and should, therefore, be respected.

The meeting finished just after 18:15 and was followed by a cocktail party which offered an opportunity to meet the speakers and other attendees informally.

Having spent most of my career on helping businesses and individuals in the North West protect and exploit their investment in branding, design, technology and creative works and literature I am delighted that the Federation and Alliance have staged that event. I congratulate both organizations and thank them for allowing me to attend.  I made some useful contacts and refreshed my knowledge of IP audits, valuation and current efforts to suppress counterfeiting and piracy. Overall, it was a successful event.

Yet that event could have been so much better. Opportunities were missed to explain to an audience (many of whom had only the sketchiest knowledge of the topic)
Speaking to attendees over drinks, I found a lot of confusion over basic concepts and some worrying misapprehensions.

I think there are three reasons for those misapprehensions.  The first is that every speaker used the term intellectual property to refer to two different things:
  • the intellectual assets that are protected by patents, copyrights, trade marks and so on, that is to say the investment in branding, design, technology and works or art and literature; and
  • the legal protection itself, that is to say patents, copyrights, trade marks et cetera.
That was particularly true of Alex when he spoke of the "intellectual property" (sic) created by children's TV programme makers around Manchester and Marianne when she spoke of the effort that goes into creating "intellectual property."  I make no criticism of the speakers.  The distinction between intellectual assets and intellectual property is one that is well understood by IP specialists but not by the public at large.  Even the IPO refers to "intellectual property assets" instead of "intellectual assets" in its educational output.

Secondly, it was not made clear that primary responsibility for enforcing IP lies with rights holders and not the public. It came as a surprise to many to learn that most IP infringements are not offences and that prosecuting authorities had limited and shrinking budgets to tackle the few infringements that are crimes. Many had never heard of the Patents Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, Chancery Division or Small Claims Track. Few had any idea of how to bring an action in those courts, the available remedies or likely costs. Fewer still knew about IP insurance, collecting societies or threats actions.

It came as another unwelcome surprise to learn that patents. trade marks and registered designs can be revoked or invalidated by the courts or Intellectual Property Office after grant.  It was still more alarming to learn that the first thing that a properly resourced and well-advised defendant would do would be to challenge the registration or title whether by counterclaim or otherwise.  Several were shocked to learn about threats actions.  They were amazed that I had found at least as many businesses that had been ruined by owning too much intellectual property in my career as those that had been lost out through owning too little.

It is perhaps unfortunate that there was no speaker from the Intellectual Property Office, Business and IP Centre, Intellectual Property Bar Association, Intellectual Property Lawyers Association, Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, Chartered Institute of Trade Mark AttorneysLicensing Executive Society, Manchester University Law School or any of the universities. Attendees would have left the event with a better understanding of IP.

Friday, 27 January 2017

SCI-Tech Daresbury

Jane Lambert

Earlier this week the Prime Minister launched the Building our Industrial Strategy green paper which I discussed in "Harnessing the Potential of the UK's Home Grown Inventors" - The Government's Proposed Industrial Strategy 24 Jan 2017 Inventors Club, Implementing the Industrial Strategy: IPO seeks new Business Support Policy Adviser 25 Jan 2017 and Nesta's Inventor Prize 26 Jan 2017 IP Yorkshire. The launch took place immediately after a cabinet meeting at Sci-Tech Daresbury, a science and innovation campus just off the M56 (see Prime Minister launches Industrial Strategy plans at Sci-Tech Daresbury 23 Jan 2017.

I was in Daresbury this morning for the first breakfast meeting of the New Year.  This event attracts about 100 hi-tech entrepreneurs, companies, universities, business support agencies, private equity and angel investors, patent and trade mark attorneys and lawyers from across North West England and beyond. The event takes place between 08:00 and 09:30 after which there is usually a talk on a topic of interest to the business community.

Today's talk was entitled Exporting is Great – and you can do it! by Charles Jacobson, International Trade Advisor at the Department for International Trade. The Department for International Trade is a new department set up by the present Prince Minister under Dr Liam Fox MP when she entered office last year. Before the Department was set up, Charles worked for UKTI. When I spoke to him briefly after his talk, he told me that the Department had left all the previous teams and structures in place.

Although most of the talk was on practical measures such as finding out how to get to the town centre from the airport before leaving the country and some useful websites to consult when carrying out desk research, Charles began with a table ranking countries by the number of patent applications in 2011. China was at the top followed by the USA and Japan. We were bottom of the list. I am not sure of the point he was making but the caption under his slides was that there is a world of ideas out there. True, but the overwhelming majority of them occur abroad and not here.

I have been coming to the Daresbury breakfast meetings and the talks afterwards for several years and can thoroughly recommend them. The next event at the centre is a Biomedical and Chemicals Business Pitching Event on 16 Feb 2017. Future events include a North West University Fair on the 23 March and breakfast meetings on 17 March, 28 April, 28 May, 22 Sept, 20 Oct, 17 Nov and 8 Dec 2017.

Anybody who wants to attend those events regularly should join the Network Hub by registering online.

If anyone wants to talk about this article or business or legal support for high-tech startups in the North West generally. give me a call during office hours on 0161 850 0080 or 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Implementing the Industrial Strategy: IPO seeks new Business Support Policy Adviser

Jane Lambert

In "Harnessing the Potential of the UK's Home Grown Inventors" - The Government's Proposed Industrial Strategy 24 Jan 2017 I discussed the government's industrial strategy green paper Building our Industrial Strategy and in particular its "Investing in science, research and innovation" pillar and its new commitment to "harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user led innovation."

In order to implement this new commitment, the government promised to "place Intellectual Property Office representatives in key UK cities - starting with pilots in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine to build local capability to commercialise intellectual property." Advertisements have already appeared on the IPO website for 2 Business Support Policy Advisors in Birmingham and Manchester:
"Both posts will work across their respective regions to:
  • build and develop IP capability
  • ensure that IP is integrated into business and innovation support programmes at a local level
The post holder will join the IPO’s Business Support Policy team and work within the region to develop policy that ensures innovative businesses have the confidence to maximise the value of their IP assets and make a full contribution to the UK’s economic growth."
Full particulars of the Manchester appointment appear at  IPO Ref 2121 - C1 IPO North West Business Support Policy Advisor on the Civil Service jobs website. The post carries a salary of £35,542 - £39,585 and the successful candidate will be based at the Business Growth Hub at Churchgate House on Oxford Street. The closing date for applications is 3 Feb 2017.

The green paper also announced a challenge prize programme to be piloted through the NESTA Challenge Prize Centre which is intended to help inform the government's support to the ‘everyday entrepreneurs’ operating in companies and at home." In its press release Government launches Industrial Strategy green paper, Nesta comments 23 Jan 2017 NESTA's CEO, Geoff Mulgan, said:
"Nesta is particularly excited about the commitment to a pilot ‘Inventor Prize’ to be run with our Challenge Prize Centre. It will seek to harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user led innovation."
Announcing the Inventor Prize 24 Jan 2017 NESTA explained:
"We’re working with BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to pilot an ‘inventor’ prize that will inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation."
Having started and chaired for many years the Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield Inventors Groups, having supported the Manchester one and Ideas North West and having run IP clinics throughout the North for meany years I welcome this government's commitment to harnessing home-grown invention and innovation and will do all I can to support it

One of the ways in which I can do that is through the Inventors Club through which we shall try to offer a wide range of services.  I can help with advice on intellectual property ("IP") and, in particular, with patents (see also my Patents FAQ and IP Glossary). To help inventors, entrepreneurs, their investors and professional advisors throughout the North West and the rest of the country I have expanded and improved my IP service (see Immediate IP First Aid Nationwide 25 Jan 2017.

If you have a new product and are wondering how best to protect it, if you are thinking of launching a new business and are thinking of registering a trade mark, if you have received a solicitor's letter accusing you of infringing someone's copyright, design, patent or trade mark, if you think someone is infringing one of your IP rights or you have any legal question relating to branding, design, technology or creative works, call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Monday, 5 September 2016

IP After Brexit

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for IP
Source IPO Website
Crown copyright: all rights reserved

A few days after the EU referendum, Lady Neville-Rolfe, the  Minister for Intellectual Property, told the British group of the Union of European Practitioners in Intellectual Property in a speech entitled National and International-level concerns and developments regarding the IP landscape  that
"The UK has one of the world’s best intellectual property environments. The changes that will be triggered by the outcome of last Thursday’s vote will not alter that."
I beg to differ.  As the following pie chart shows, the UK continues to trail not only Germany and France in the number of European patent applications but also the Netherlands with a third of our population but even Switzerland with one eighth.

The reason for that is that IP services in the UK are too damned expensive, especially when it comes to enforcement despite Sir Richard Arnold's reforms of what is now the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court and the launch of its small claims track.

The Unified Patent Court, which was ready to open its doors early n 2017, could have made an enormous difference to the cost of enforcement for small and medium enterprises in the UK (see Jane Lambert Preparing for the Unified Patent Court 23 Jan 2016 NIPC Law). Part of the Court's Central Division would have sat in London. Costs would have been strictly controlled. The Court would have had jurisdiction over France, Germany and several other countries as well as the UK. There was even provision for legal aid for SME,  Brexit has stopped the project dead in its tracks. At the very least it has been delayed and even if it does go ahead it will do so without us as the UPC Agreement is open only to member states of the EU.

Another area of law that would have benefited British industry, particularly SME, is the reform of trade secrets law. At present the trade secrets are protected by the law of confidence which is fiendishly complex and anomalous as any lawyer who has had to seek an interim injunction against a departing director or senior employee will testify. On 8 June 2016 the Council adopted the Trade Secrets Directive that has to be implemented by 9 June 2018 which is just when we are likely to leave the EU (see Jane Lambert The Trade Secrets Directive 7 July 2016 NIPC Law). It would have been a golden opportunity to reform our law systematically by putting it on a statutory basis and bringing it into line with that of 27 of our nearest trading partners.

One of the core demands of Japan’s Message to the United Kingdom and the European Union is "Unified protection of intellectual property rights  Protection in the UK of registered Community designs and EU trademarks." More specifically the concern of one of the biggest sources of investment in British manufacturing is:
"To uniformly protect intellectual property in the UK and the EU in order not to create disadvantages for the right holders. If the UK’s withdrawal had an impact on the rights and effects of registered Community designs and EU trademarks, this could generate disruption."
So IP matters. Although IP played a minimal role in most voters' concerns in the referendum  debate it will play a massive role in the eventual settlement which could affect not simply our trade with the rest of Europe but inward investment from important overseas trading partners such as Japan, the USA, China, India and South Korea.

It is for that reason that Liverpool law form Guy Williams Layton have invited me to speak at their seminar IP after Brexit on 14 Sept 2016 between 16:30 and 18:00. I will outline the present IP structure which is based on a mix of domestic and EU legislation and the enormous potential black hole in the legal protection of British brands, designs, technology and creative works when the EU trade mark, Community design, unitary patent, the trade secrecy regime and EU plant breeders' rights disappear. However. although there is much uncertainty and many negatives I will also focus on some of the opportunities that we will have to exploit elsewhere in the world including little used tools such as our 100 or so bilateral investment treaties to protect our trade and investments abroad (see Jane Lambert  Bilateral Investment Treaties: Claiming Compensation from Foreign Governments under Bilateral Investment Treaties for failing to provide adequate IP Protection 27 July 2013 NIPC Law).

If you want to take advantage of the new international trading opportunities or simply stay in business at home you need to start planning for the post Brexut environment right now.  As a first step call Michael Sandys, IP Partner at Guy Williams Layton, on 0151 236 7171 or email him at to book your place. This could be the best use of 90 minutes of your time that you will ever make.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

IP and Brexit: The Software Industry

"Baby" the world's first stored program computer
Author Tom Jeffs
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

As much of our intellectual property law derives from European directives and regulations our withdrawal from the EU is bound to affect the legal framework that protects investment in branding, design, technology and the creative works. I explored this topic generally in What Sort of IP Framework do we need after Brexit and what are we likely to get? 3 July 2016. As the impact is likely to vary from industry to industry I am addressing separately the situation of each industry.

In this article I focus on the software industry, that is to say the businesses that write and maintain systems and applications software, databases and web pages. According to IBISWorld  the industry employs over 125,000 persons in the UK and is expected to generate some £21.8 billion in revenue. I am posting it in IP North West because the software industry started in this region.

In most industries investment in developing new products and processes is protected primarily by patents but that is not possible for software because art 52 (2) (c) of the European Patent Convention ("EPC") and s.1 (2) (c) of the Patents Act 1977 exclude programs for computers from patent protection to the extent that the invention relates to software as such. Consequently, the industry relies heavily on the law of confidence, copyright and database rights to protect its technology.  The law of confidence prevents unauthorized disclosure or use of information that has been communicated in confidence or circumstances giving rise to an obligation of confidence. Copyright prevents copying of original literary works which specifically include computer programs, preparatory design material for computer programs and databases. Database right protects investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of a database.

The law of confidence is common or judge made law.  Its basic principles were summarized by Mr Justice Megarry in Coco v AN Clark (Engineers) Ltd. [1968] F.S.R. 415 [1969] R.P.C. 41:
"In my judgment, three elements are normally required if, apart from contract, a case of breach of confidence is to succeed. First, the information itself, in the words of Lord Greene, M.R. in the Saltman case on page 215, must “have the necessary quality of confidence about it”. Secondly, that information must have been imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence. Thirdly, there must be an unauthorised use of that information to the detriment of the party communicating it."
Trade secrecy laws are about to be harmonized across the EU by the Council's adoption of the  Trade Secrets Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/943 of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure  OJ 15.6.2016 L 157/1) on 8 June 2016. I have discussed the directive in The Trade Secrets Directive  on 7 July 2916.

Copyright law is codified by Part I of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This statute has been modified many times to comply with EU directives, most particularly the Software Directive (Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs OJ L 122 , 17/05/1991 P. 42 - 46) and the Database Directive (Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases OJ L 077 , 27/03/1996 P. 20 - 28) but copyright law in the EU has never been harmonized as such.

The Database Directive has been implemented in the UK by The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 (SI 1997 No 3032). Database right is a new intellectual property right which did not exist before the 1997 Regulations came into force.

Patents are granted for the UK by the Intellectual Property Office ("IPO") pursuant to the Patents Act 1977 and the European Patent Office ("EPO") pursuant to the EPC.  There is not yet such a thing as an EU patent but there is an agreement to set up a Unified Patent Court ("the UPC agreement") and legislation to permit the EPO to grant patents for the territories of most of the member states of the EU including the UK, France and Germany to  be known as unitary patents.

Businesses in the software industry have trade marks which may be registered with the IPO for the UK alone under the Trade Marks Act 1994 or with the EU Intellectual Property Office for the whole EU including the UK under the EU Trade Mark Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 207/2009 of 26 February 2009 on the European Union trade mark OJ L 078 24.3.2009, p. 1).Art 50 (3) of the Treaty on European Union provides:
“The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.”
It follows that all regulations will fall away and that HM government shall no longer be required to implement directives. Statutes and statutory instruments that have been passed to give effect to directives will continue to apply unless and until they are amended or repealed because they were made by or under the authority of Parliament.

Negotiations over the terms of British withdrawal from the EU are likely to take time which makes it highly likely that the UK will still be a member state on the 9 June 2018 when the Trade Secrets Directive is to be implemented.  As the directive provides an opportunity to codify secrecy law and bring it into harmony with the laws of countries with which we wish to do business and collaborate it is probably in our interests to implement it. Having said that, it was the opinion of the European Scrutiny Committee that our law already complies with that directive (see Documents considered by the Committee on 12 February 2014 - European Scrutiny Committee Protection of trade secrets).

As Parliament has already enacted legislation to enable the Secretary of State to ratify the UPC Agreement and the statutory instrument giving effect to ratification has already been drafted (see The Draft Patents (European Patent with Unitary Effect and Unified Patent Court) Order 2016 10 March 2016) it is also possible that the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court will come into being before the UK leaves the EU. However, the UK would cease to be party to the UPC Agreement upon our departure since the Agreement is open only to EU member states.

Copyright and database right law would remain the same as they were created by or under an Act of Parliament.

The only intellectual property right affecting the software industry that would actually cease to apply to the UK upon our departure would be the EU trade mark.  The courts in the UK that have been designated EU trade mark courts will lose their jurisdiction over EU trade mark matters. However, registrations under the Trade Marks Act 1994 would be unaffected and EU trade marks would continue to apply to the rest of the EU.

End user licences, software development, maintenance, escrow and other commercial agreements should be kept under review, particularly if the Trade Secrets Directive is implemented and the unitary patent comes into force before we leave the EU. They should be reviewed again if and when we eventually leave the EU. Proprietors of EU trade marks should register corresponding trade marks here if and in so far as they have not already done so.

I will be conducting seminars on IP and Brexit and its impact on various industries including the software industry in Liverpool on 14 Sept and London on 15 Sept. Should anyone wish to attend either of those seminars, he or she should  call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or get in touch through my contact form.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Preparing for the Unified Patent Court

I have been invited to speak to the Merseyside meeting of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys at the Hope Street Hotel at 40 Hope Street in Liverpool on 28 Jan 2016. The title of my talk is "Preparing for the UPC" and the reason why I have been asked to give that talk is that the UPC or Unified Patent Court is likely to open for business in the next few months. When it does the European Patent Office will be able to grant European patents with unitary effect or unitary patents, that is to say single European patents for the territories of a group of EU member states, including the UK, France and Germany, as though they were one country.

One of the reasons why European businesses have been less creative and innovative than their competitors in the United States, Japan and other countries is that it is much more expensive for European entrepreneurs to patent their inventions in the European Union.  In 2005 the European Patent Office commissioned research which compared the cost of patenting an invention  set out in a specification consisting of 11 pages of description with 10 claims spread over 3 pages in Europe the USA and Japan (see Cost of Patents: EPO Report tells us what most of us already knew 23 Dec 2015 NIPC Inventors Club). I wrote:
"The cost of obtaining such a patent was €30,530 in Europe (as of 23 Dec 2005 £20,861.15) compared to €10,250 (£7,004.85 for a comparable US patent granted to a US company - British applicants would have to pay £16,469.94 which is still less than they have to pay for protection in their own market) and €5,460 (£3,731.36) that a Japanese company would have to pay for a patent in Japan."
That was 10 years ago and some costs such as translation have come down as a result of the London agreement (though others have gone up) but the differential still remains. The unitary patent will greatly reduce the cost of patent prosecution in our home market (or if we decide to exit the EU in the forthcoming referendum) our biggest and closest export market.

Even greater savings will be made in the cost of patent enforcement. Another report from about the same time compared the cost of bringing an infringement claim in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and United States (see The Enforcement of Patent Rights by the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee). The costs in France, Germany and the Netherlands ranged from €10,000 to €50,000 whereas those in the Patents Court were over £1 million and between £150,000 and £250,000 even in the Patents County Court. Costs in the USA were even higher that in England but there it is unusual for the losing party to pay the successful party's costs and it is possible for lawyers to accept instructions on a contingency fee basis. When those factors are taken into account it is small wonder that the UK continues to file consistently fewer applications for European patents than German, France and the Netherlands (6,823 in 2014 compared to 31,647 from Germany, 12,873 from France and 8,104 from the Netherlands according to the European Patent Office).

From the day it opens Unified Patent Court will have exclusive jurisdiction over claims for the infringement and revocation of unitary patents. For a transitional period of 7 years it will share jurisdiction over claims for infringement and revocation of other European patents including those that designate the UK with the Patents Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court and other national courts unless the owners of such patents decide to withdraw their patents from the UPC's jurisdiction within that transitional period.  After that transitional period the UPC will have exclusive jurisdiction over all European patents including those that have been granted for the UK. Eventually businesses from all parts of Europe, including the UK, will operate on a level playing field in that costs and delays for UK businesses should be no greater than for their German, French or Dutch competitors.

The immediate reduction in prosecution and maintenance costs and the eventual levelling out and reduction in enforcement costs should act like a shot in the arm for British businesses and especially those based in North West England. Lower costs should be particularly beneficial for small businesses and individual inventors who will be eligible once again for legal aid - a benefit that was taken away by the Access to Justice Act 1999 (see Jane Lambert Legal Aid for the UPC 23 Jan 2016 NIPC  Inventors Club).  If you want to discuss this article or the unitary patent or Unified Patent Court in general please call me on 0161 850 0080 during office hours or message me through my contact form.


Preparatory Committee
UPC website
23 Jan 2016
Jane Lambert
23 Jan 2016
Jane Lambert
NIPC Inventors

Friday, 18 December 2015

.lancaster Domain Name

Author Antiquary
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

I am proud to have been born in the historic county of Lancaster even though the city in which I was born had been a county borough for many years. For centuries there was a Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster and the judicial title "Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster" for the presiding judge of the Chancery Division in the Northern and North Eastern Circuits remains survives to this day. The city from which Lancashire derives its name is of course Lancaster which has a population of just over 52,000 according to Wikipedia.

There is  another Lancaster on the other side of the Atlantic in Pennsylvania.  That Lancaster has a slightly larger population than the English city but it retains its allegiance to the red rose which appears in the city's flag (see Wikipedia Lancaster, Pennsylvania). There is also a county of Lancaster in Pennsylvania which was settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch. It is well known for its distelfinks.

Lancastrians on both sides of the Atlantic may be interested to learn that ".lancaster" will soon be available as a new generic top level domain name.  According to Nathalie Dreyfus that gTLD will be generally available in December 2015. Surprisingly, the application to sponsor this gTLD came not from Lancashire or even Pennsylvania but from France.  The proposed sponsoring organization is "Lancaster" of 95 Rue du Parc, 93130 Noisy le Sec in France. Even more surprising is that ICANN's String Delegation Readiness Report  determined the LANCASTER String not to be a Geographic Name which meant that it did not have to complete a Geographic Names Review.

Apparently there have been no objections to the creation of the .lancaster registry but that begs the question how many people in either the UK or the USA were aware of the application? If anyone wants to discuss this further give me a ring on 0161 850 0080 or 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form,