One of the things I love about law, and about IP law in particular, is the chance to rub shoulders with some really smart people, who know about loads of interesting things. I love original thinkers, fresh ideas, and people who aren’t afraid to question the status quo – to ask why something should continue to be done a certain way, to admit they don’t understand things, to say what they think in a plain and frank manner. I like being around people who aren’t afraid to share their nascent, fledgling ideas, even if those ideas might ultimately turn out to be wrong. I admire intellectual honesty and intellectual courage.
One of the (few) things that I really disliked about my last job – hearing patent and trade mark cases at IPONZ – was feeling restricted about what I could say and write outside the role. As a government employee, and even as a very small cog in the vast judicial machine, there were limits as to what I could say about controversial legal issues, and especially about case law. It was important to be balanced, and neutral, and polite. Now that I have largely thrown off the quasi-judicial yoke (I will still be restrained about all matters copyright, given my role in the Copyright Tribunal) it turns out that I have a log-jam of six years’ worth of “Thoughts and Views” on myriad IP and IP-adjacent issues that I need to get off my chest. And I define “IP-adjacent” broadly – patentable technologies, privacy, consumer law, bioethics: basically, whatever kick I happen to be exploring at the time.
I hope that this is not a one-way conversation. I would love for this to become a space where IP people of all stripes can share views in a less formal, slightly more irreverent manner than we usually get to do. Come share what’s on your mind. What’s bugged you for ages? What do you think is unfair or nonsensical? What exciting things are you working on or thinking about?
No formal or beautiful writing is required to participate here. Let’s be polite, but not necessarily measured. I won’t raise my eyebrows at the odd exclamation mark. In fact, let’s aim for more exclamation marks than semicolons. Outrageous I know; coming from a lawyer, that’s just crazy talk…!