Is this Really All We Can Expect over the Next Ten Years?

I have just received an email from Mr. Neil Mackay, Managing Director of Advantage Business Angels which contains the following Jeremiad:

“Despite the focus on the immediate problems in the USA and in Greece the underlying issue remains: the western economies have to change. China, India, Brasil et al all work harder for lower rewards and arguably now have education systems to challenge those in the west.

Politicians talk about this rebalancing as a short period of adversity. The serious economists I read talk about a decade of real adversity and declines in living standards in the west. In particular there is talk about an increase in the price of risk.”

That chimes in with the speech by Lord Digby Jones at the “Growth Through Innovation” conference at PERA last week which I reported last week in my Inventors Club blog. However, are we inexorably destined to “a decade of real adversity and declines in living standards.” On Sunday evening I listened to In Business on Radio 4 which reported on additive manufacturing or 3D printing. This is one of a number of technologies that enable just about anyone to make just about anything just about anywhere. One of the contributors spoke of bringing manufacturing home. What he meant was that if it is possible to fabricate in say Birmingham a currently imported component there is no longer any advantage in importing it from a low wage economy.

Whether these technologies develop will depend in large part on how the law protects those technologies and the products they generate. I touched briefly on that issue in my case note on the “Star Wars” Helmet appeal, Lucasfilm v Ainsworth yesterday.

Last week the courts delivered a slew of important cases which I am working through. Having been in Newzbin I, the next case that I shall discuss will be Mr. Justice Arnold’s decision in Newzbin II or Twentieth Century Fox and Others v BT. I have also circulated “Counsel’s Opinion”, my Summer update on IP law for solicitors and patent and trade mark attorneys, and “IP Yorkshire”, my review of branding, design, technology and the arts in Yorkshire and the Humber. Like many other barristers I am following the development of the special English speaking common law enclave in Dubai known as the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”). Today I blogged about data protection legislation in the DIFC.

If anyone wants to discuss any of those issues, requires advice in a specific case or requires representation here, the EPO, OHIM or, indeed, Dubai, he or she should not hesitate to call me on 0800 862 0055 or use my contact form.

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About Jane Lambert

I am a barrister specializing in intellectual property, technology, media and entertainment and competition law. I specialize in helping SME (small and medium enterprises) protect and exploit their investment in brands, design, technology and the arts. SME require intellectual property (legal protection for their intellectual assets) at least as much as big business but their limited means restrict the way they can use it. Looking after such clients wisely requires skills and knowledge which have taken me years to learn.
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