Readers may remember that back in May, AmeriKat told the story of the Annual Sir Hugh Laddie Lecture which brings the leading minds in IP law to address an always packed auditorium on the latest IP challenges, opportunities and analysis. The lecture series is organised by Professor Sir Robin Jacob who is the Sir Hugh Laddie Chair in Intellectual Property Law at UCL.

After a successful decade of events, a compendium of the lectures have been collated in a new IBIL publication entitled The Sir Hugh Laddie Lectures: The First Ten Years, edited by Sir Robin Jacob, and IPKat readers can have a 15% discount, using the code SHLL15 by placing an order before 1 September 2019!

In the preface, Sir Robin Jacob reminisces of the times that himself and Hugh where opposite each other in chambers, and advising on opposite sides – usually resulting in a settlement and sometimes the two being mixed up by judges. The book opens with portraits of Hugh and Robin side by side, to avoid any further confusion! Robin reveals that all the speakers for the lectures where first choices, no one ever refused, and the result is a formidable collection of talks that ranges over the entire spectrum of IP.

The collection of verbatim lecture transcripts, rather than formal papers, brings IP to life in a way that would be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in IP. The lectures present a narrative of the discourse in IP over a decade, offering an opportunity for reflection. We are simultaneously reminded of IP as a concept that is both characteristic of its time and conceptually universal. 
The book begins with Laddie’s inaugural lecture: The Insatiable Appetite for Intellectual Property Rights, from December 2007. He mentioned that for the first time the UK IPO ran a educational competition called “Cracking Ideas”… which has now developed into a large range of teaching resources. Looking at the increase in scope of IP, from additional rights to increased registrations, Laddie considers if you can have too much of a good thing. From trade mark registration addiction, to excess copyright, and expansion of the patent net, his arguments are even more profound 12 years later! “Copyright illustrates…how far we have departed from rationality or balance.”  He points out that the rhetoric around IP is too extreme, using language that polarizes the debate with uncompromising attitudes and a ferocious determination to preserve things as they were, makes it impossible to secure a sensible regulation that serves society. He concludes:

The gluttony which has resulted in the growth of completely unnecessary or excessively long IP rights undermines the system itself.

What follows is the transcription of 10 lectures from 2009-2018, by speakers The Rt. Hon. Lord Leonard Hoffmann, Raimund Lutz, The Hon. Mrs Justice Macken, Judge Randall R. Rader, Professor Dr Joachmin Bornkamm, Professor Hugh Hansen, Judge Alex Kozinski, The Hon. Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC, Shira Perlmutter and His Honour Michael Fysh QC SC. This includes the Q&A from the audience as well as notes of laughter and applause, giving it a script-like feel that captures the moment. 
The talks cover topics from trade mark function, European Patent Court, Internationalisation of the law, the public domain, advocacy, patents and populism. Then there is the talk by Michael Fysh which is about many things really, including the contents of his late pupil master’s room, and solicitors sporting moustaches. 
Overall, as Sir Robin Jacob says, the book is a “rallying call to keep IP rights within rational bounds, given in Hugh’s inimitable style.”  It is an easy-read, whilst still providing thoughtful and perceptive discussion on controversial policies, legislative developments, and changes in the IP landscape. As such, this book would appeal to anyone with an interest in intellectual property in general, specifically practioners, lawyers, judges, legislators, and researchers. In particular, I would urge those with an interest in expanding IP and those who might be in a position to decide on the extent of that expansion to heed this book.
Extent: 218 pages 
Publisher: Intersentia

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