The Intellectual Property Lawyers' Association (previously known as the Patent Solicitors' Association) was formed in November 1982 to act as a centralised voice for those law firms in England and Wales with significant IP practices who wished to lobby for improvements to the law and practice of intellectual property law in the UK. Some 66 firms are members of IPLA and their practices extend throughout England and Wales. The Constitution for IPLA was modified in 1995.
Full meetings of IPLA are held quarterly. Representatives of IPLA also sit on other committees including the IP Court Users' Committee and the Patents County Court Users' Committee.
Over the years IPLA has been centrally engaged in many of the advances made to the practice of IP law in the UK. To give two examples - IPLA was instrumental in the simplification of the discovery procedure in patent litigation and then played a key part in the re-writing of the civil procedure rules in England and Wales as they pertain to IP matters (the so-called Woolf Reforms of 1999). More recently, IPLA contributed to the IP Court Users' Committee's proposals for the reform of procedures in the Patents County Court, which are praised in the Jackson Review of Civil Litigation Costs. IPLA also commented on the Preliminary Report of the European Commission's Pharmaceutical Sector Enquiry. It is continuing to participate through written observations in the development of the procedural rules of the EU's proposed Uniform Patent Litigation System, and is also represented on the UK Intellectual Property Office's Expert Group on the UPLS.
Another important interest of IPLA is improvements in the training of IP solicitors and to that end IPLA arranged, in conjunction with Bristol University, the creation of a specific IP diploma course. The course is held annually and attracts of the order of 50-70 lawyers, generally newly-qualified lawyers, from law firms throughout England and Wales. In 2008, Oxford University took over the running of this course.
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