If you are one of the 27 defendants whose cases have been listed for hearing by Judge Birss QC on 17 Jan 2011 in Media CAT Ltd. v Billington EWPCC 18 (17 Dec 2010) mentioned in my case note on our IP/IT Update blog today my advice is very simple. Be there! Preferably with a barrister or solicitor advocate who specializes in intellectual or a patent or trade mark agent advocate. Contrary to popular belief intellectual property barristers do not always charge an arm and a leg for advice and representation. But for those who cannot afford to pay anything at all here are possible sources of help.
Bar Pro Bono The Unit acts as a clearing house, matching barristers prepared to undertake pro bono work with those who need their help. To access their help you need to apply through your local CAB, law centre or MP. Take a butcher’s at the “Do You Need Help” page of the Unit’s website.
Law Works is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group which is a charity that aims to provide free legal help to individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay for it and who are unable to access legal aid. According to its website LawWorks helped provide free legal advice to over 40,000 people and around 350 voluntary sector organisations last year. The Group works with just under 100 member law firms and teams of in-house counsel, as well as mediators, law students and solicitors who have been made redundant.
Our chambers also runs NIPC Clinics where you can get up to 30 minutes free legal advice on IP or technology law either from one of us or from one of our solicitor, patent or trade mark agent friends around the country. We can’t give you free representation but an individual barrister, solicitor or patent or trade mark agent may be glad to do that.
And a word of warning! ACS Law may not always have got their tackle in order but that doesn’t mean they can’t and never will. If you have received, or do receive a claim from them in the future, you have to take it seriously. Contact one of those services now. It really won’t wait until after Christmas.