March 2020 News

Covid-19 Update

It’s time for my newsletter again… normally I’ll try to find some snippet from the news about IP, ideally with a mildly amusing angle of some sort. There doesn’t seem to be any of that at the moment, though - the news is all about one subject, and not much of it is funny.

It’s fair to say that this is not a problem anyone has first-hand experience of dealing with. Fortunately, we have collective knowledge from previous and lesser outbreaks, which is a form of intellectual property (know-how) which doesn’t get the attention it really ought to have. I did carry out a short exercise on behalf of a manufacturing client recently, to document and record their know-how prior to them entering into a licence agreement that preserved their rights in respect of pre-existing IP. There was much less to do than I expected – their processes were already superbly documented, and it was clear that anyone stepping into a new role there would have all the necessary knowledge to hand immediately. Perhaps we should put pandemic planning in their hands once this is all over.

I’m sure you’ve all been inundated with emails from companies saying how they’re coping, so I won’t go there. We’re doing what everyone else who is sensible is doing – working from home wherever possible, and if we absolutely have to come into the office then we are keeping well clear of each other. I’ve also made a major investment – an industrial-size soap dispenser is arriving for the office kitchen shortly. That’s not because we make a lot of mess here, it’s just that it was the only one I could get…!

It’s likely that all businesses will take a hit during this outbreak, some more than others. That’s just one of those things, though – its more important to look after the health (and the lives) of those around us. I was very upset to hear of a former colleague whose employers are refusing to implement home working and have point-blank told him that if he doesn’t turn up, he won’t get paid. The thing is, his partner at home is in the middle of a course of chemotherapy, and is very immunocompromised. If you’re running a business, please don’t do that to your staff. It doesn’t help them, and in the long term that doesn’t help you.

So stay safe, and if you have any bright ideas for products that will help with the virus then let us know and we’ll swing into action. Try to take more care of yourself than this chap, though -

Until next time...

Best Wishes
Michael Downing

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