Search the internet for "Jeremy Phillips" and you will find out that he is an intellectual property consultant; author, lecturer and commentator on patents, trade marks, copyrights and most contemporary issues involving intellectual property rights. Those who don't know him would very quickly get the strong impression that he's been fairly busy in the world of IP during his 50-something years on the planet.
And they would be right: while Jeremy is based in London, his influence extends much further due to his roles in creating, editing and writing for IP magazines and journals, as well as blogging. He is well known as a "founding co-blogmeister" and current blog team member on the award-winning IPKat intellectual property weblog. Not satisfied with that, he has more recently created blogs focusing on European trade marks (Class 46), African IP (Afro-IP) and the interface between IP and monetary matters (IP Finance). It's frankly surprising that Jeremy has not yet been inducted into the IP Hall of fame, but no doubt that will happen this year.
Duncan: OK, so Jeremy, I've often wondered - if you hadn't been an IP lawyer what would you have been?
Jeremy: er .. I'm not actually an IP lawyer. It's just that everyone thinks I am. I've never held any professional qualification for any job I've ever done in my entire career. I would have been a teacher, though. I love teaching and spent the first 11 years of my gainfully employed life in doing just that. But I couldn't pay the bills
Duncan: Right, with all due respect to my fellow lawyers and patent and trade marks attorneys, that probably explains why you have been so successful. I know (and have met) a lot of people who have been heavily influenced by you. I'm always delighted to meet one of your former students. Who would you say has been the greatest influence in your IP work and why?
Jeremy: In the Ethics of the Fathers Ben Zoma is quoted as saying "Who is the wise man? He who learns from all men". I've tried to implement that from the start, which means I've been influenced by my teachers, colleagues, students, rivals, friends and foes alike.
Duncan. So, getting down to brass tacks - what would you say is the one intellectual property issue that you think successful companies must do incredibly well?
Jeremy: They treat their problems as business problems rather than as legal problems. Many lookalikes and inexact copiers are a distraction that can be swept aside by better marketing policy...