This year has been a little like the Spanish Inquisition. No snazzy red uniforms, sadly, but equally unexpected in its nature. Thinking back to just a year ago (is it really just a year?), who would have thought that the social and economic norms that have been in place our entire lives were about to be uprooted?
And yet from the point of view of a patent attorney, there have been genuinely heart warming moments that affirm one’s faith in the human race. Clients old and new have stepped up and responded to the pandemic, some of them reconfiguring their businesses to cope with the new requirements placed on us, some coming up with inventive ways of helping others cope, and some doing both. We’ve been there to help protect those new ideas, via patent, registered design and trade mark filings.
One did stand out – a crowdfunded effort to commission a statuette for the families of every NHS employee who lost their life to Covid-19. The organiser had paid for a sculptor to create a genuinely beautiful design and was raising funds to have enough made to distribute them. We donated our fee back for that one.
I can’t run through the new inventions that we’ve filed this year, sadly, as they are still unpublished so it’s not my place to reveal details. Looking through the ones that were published during 2020, though, they’re quite varied. We helped with a huge range of things - ranging from improving AI techniques for interpreting medical images and creating better setting for medical imaging systems, through to ways of making cars even more lightweight so that their ecological footprint is lower (and their handling is better!), ideas for keeping site workers safe during night shifts, and even a way to get your phone screen protector to go on properly! Running through that list highlights what I love about this job, which is the sheer range of things that we get involved with. The intellectual challenge of getting your head around whatever arrives in front of you is a sure fire way to keep you on your toes. Then there are the lovely clients we get to meet, including a gentleman with a novel hand-held earth digging instrument; I joked that perhaps we should draft the application without at any point calling it a ‘spade’, and he instantly took me up on the challenge. In case you’re wondering, we managed it – 17 pages of description without once calling a spade a spade. They say it’s the little triumphs that cheer you up the most…
Our trademark work took a new turn, with our first direct filing in Ireland under my new-found rights as an Irish trade mark attorney. Remember, this means that we will still be able to help clients with EU-level trade marks and designs into 2021 and beyond. We’ve been asked to take over some portfolios from other firms, if you’d like us to help out with your EU intellectual property rights then just let me know.
Anyway, it only remains to offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who have sent us work to do this year, express my sincere hope that we exceeded your expectations, and wish you all the best for the festive season.
Until next time...