IP Draughts is hands down the best new contracts blog of 2011. It’s published by Mark Anderson, the principal partner at UK intellectual property firm Anderson Law LLP. Mark writes most of the posts himself, although the project is a team effort and includes an occasional post by others at his firm.
Some might argue that IP Draughts is in fact an IP blog, rather than a contracts blog, but I beg to differ. I’ve collected some of my favorite contracts posts to support my case.
Contract Drafting Tips
In 10 words and phrases you should never use in IP contracts Mark discusses 10 words and phrases that shouldn’t make an appearance in a well-drafted contract. Are you a fan of “mutatis mutandis,” “hereinafter,” or “in witness whereof”? IP Draughts isn’t and he explains why.
Victor Warner reminds us in Mistakes, I know I’ve made a few … (Part 1) why it’s dangerous to use both words and numerals in a contract. If a consulting agreement states, “We will pay you £2,000.00 (one thousand five hundred pounds sterling) within 30 days of you completing the Services,” what’s the fee supposed to be? The answer might not be very satisfying to the consultant because she probably focused more on the numerals than the words when reviewing the agreement, but a court would likely focus on the words.
Auto-antonyms can introduce ambiguity into a contract, and ambiguity is the Pandora’s box of contracts. Mark provides a few examples in Ambiguous wording in contracts.
Poorly Drafted Contracts
IP Draughts is no fan of poorly-drafted contracts. Careless drafting is “such” a waste of money: Rainy Sky v. Kookmin Bank provides an example of why.
Sub-par contract templates elicit the nearest thing to a rant I could find on the blog. It’s not really a rant, but “pompous ass” and “muppets” do make an appearance in Today’s plea … start negotiations with suitable documents.
IP Draughts injects a little humor in Top 10 howlers when preparing contracts for signature, Another 10 howlers when preparing contracts for signature, and Top 5 howlers in IP licence agreements: definition, definition …. “Howlers” in the title might oversell the humor a little as the posts aren’t exactly LMAO, ROFL, or even LOL funny, but they did make me smile.
Technical Contracts Stuff
The blog discusses plenty of legal issues that contracting parties should be aware of. In What’s so bad about … indirect loss? Stephen Brett analyzes the business and legal implications of omitting a disclaimer of indirect losses from a commercial agreement. This is the sort of honest assessment of legal issues we could use more of. IP Draughts also discusses penalty clauses, using the term “hold harmless” in indemnification provisions, and inappropriate uses of indemnities.
I followed this year’s U.S. Supreme Court Stanford v. Roche decision with interest, and IP Draughts published helpful and insightful commentary. There were a few posts, but Why you must get an IP assignment from your university employee is particularly outstanding.
Best Contracts Picture
The picture of a contract written on a cow is worthy of mention, regardless of the topic. Formalities for a binding contract: a conventional steer? contains an interesting discussion about contract formalities, and the picture adds a nice visual hook. The word “steer”in the title confused me, because the picture is of a cow, but perhaps this is a bit of British humor that’s lost on me. Maybe those howlers are LOL funny after all….
Thanks very much Brian. Much appreciated. Best wishes for 2012,
Mark: Thanks for producing such great content. We could certainly use more!