Earlier today I warned a public access client that he would need a solicitor as well as a barrister and advised him to find one who specializes in intellectual property. With unusual astuteness, the client replied that every law firm of any size in his town claims to practise IP and he was pretty sure that that could not be the case.
I get a pretty good idea by asking the following questions. Has the firm been instructed in any reported IP cases? Do they subscribe to the FSRs (Fleet Street Reports) or RPC (Reports of Patent Cases)? Are they in the IPLA?
That's all very well for me but it doesn't help a member of the public. Then a simple two point test occurred to me:
- Ask him to read the word "patent". If he pronounces it "pay tent" he is probably not an IP specialist.
- Ask him to spell "trade mark". If he spells trade mark as one word he certainly isn't. Unless, of course, he is an American. Trade mark is spelt as one word in transatlantic patois.