European Intellectual Property Review
The European Intellectual Property Review ironically became the most distinctive ‘British’ academic journal in the field. First published in 1978 and with a monthly frequency, the EIPR was an A4 glossy Journal that disseminated and stimulated interaction and communication among academics, practitioners, and others interested in the development of intellectual property law. The journal was managed by ESC, an Oxford-based company owned by Hugh Brett and Nick Gingell. However, Sweet & Maxwell quickly saw the potential of linking this publishing venture to its portfolio of publications and acquired this and other titles in the 1980s.
Facilitator: And can you say a little bit more about EIPR and what was the goal and why Sweet & Maxwell was interested in ESC? Who were ESC?
Carol Tullo: Again, my memory may be slightly flawed, but I remember going into a meeting with our then Managing Director, David Evans and I think he had an approach from Hugh Brett, the editor and originator of the ESC list. We’d watched it because originally it started with European Intellectual Property Review, EIPR. It was groundbreaking, an A4 glossy Journal that had a range of articles that ranged widely and internationally. It also had common law articles and we were looking at Europe and it was doing what Cornish was doing, looking across the range of subject matter and with an Intellectual Property focus.
So we knew about it. I think we might actually have already had some contact with the team, but I think my memory is that Hugh Brett was interested in perhaps expanding, bringing some more investment or even perhaps having built up something that was successful, selling it on. So Hugh Brett was in Dallas Brett, an Oxford based firm of Solicitors and we had various meetings with him and ultimately did acquire ESC Publishing. I think Hugh stayed on as Editor of EIPR with his small Editorial Team. Nick Gingell was the Editorial Manager and Director. He was the senior person and part of the arrangement in acquiring ESC Publishing in Oxford was that we were keeping an Oxford base, we would keep the Editorial Team and that we would keep Neville March Hunnings and Nick Gingell as they had started to take this format into other commercial law areas and that had some modest success. But what they needed was the marketing reach of Sweet & Maxwell. I’m not sure if they spoke to others, but I suspect at the time they talked to us as we had the pre-eminent intellectual property list. There may have been another connections and I remember we acquired them. These things are never simple and easy, but I also remember going down to visit them in their offices, behind the station in Oxford. And they were literally working out of little rented offices and they had the stock stored next to their desks. It was a bit of a rabbit warren, so we went in and we organized it for them and remodeled it and gave them very simple nice desk space and then help them develop the list. I think it was very successful and ultimately it was drawn into our publishing list and Chris Rycroft took over that list I think and managed EIPR as well. But gradually, as these things go, the generations move on and Nick Gingell left the organization and Neville March Hunnings, who was very important to some of the projects in this area, retired and the titles merged into the Sweet and Maxwell lists.
Facilitator: Was it considered as an academic journal?
Carol Tullo: No.
Facilitator: No?
Carol Tullo: No. It was always a practitioners journal.
Facilitator: Was it practitioner journal?
Carol Tullo: Always a practitioner journal and with an Editorial Board and Hugh Brett and his team, developed a really innovative approach , in s that their ambitions were that they had experts sited around the world. Sometimes it made for some slightly unusual bedfellows in editions that always were over subscribed with articles, trying to get the right mix in the Journal. I’m just looking at some of the articles in this recent edition: copyright law in Zambia, if we were doing something like that, then Singapore, Australia but you need to have something that was pretty UK-based, because not everybody had the luxury even as we went into the 1990s to pay top dollar for a service, without being something that they could get current value out of. We didn’t really want to produce these so they went into the practice library. We wanted them to be ones that the lawyer would take it on their journey to work or would be reading as well. So we tried to balance the international reach, with something that was homegrown, UK and often the comments pieces did that for us as well.
Carol Tullo: Yes, absolutely. So this is a recent issue and then Hugh Brett is still the Editor. I didn’t realize that. I don’t know the Deputy Editor, but obviously, I recognize lots of names on the Editorial Board and lots of names there. But it looks identical to the ones I had responsibility for. I’m amazed!
Facilitator: I saw the first – this year recently and it looks the same.
Carol Tullo: Yes. It is. It is.
Facilitator: So for you, what it looks different is the A4 as well or–
Carol Tullo: No. It was exactly like that when we acquired it.
Facilitator: – but was that innovative?
Carol Tullo: Yes. I think it was. There was nothing like that. If you think about the classic academic journals like Law Quarterly review, Modern Law review.
Facilitator: Like something? Yeah?
Carol Tullo: Yes. They are quite dull, they may have had plain block covers. They were academic, they were wordy. This (EIPR) – I think, we redesigned them and so it looked like this. But I think we kept broadly the look and feel, the design was one that we could take through the range of products they were dealing with, because we certainly introduced a number of new journals in this format that we wanted to develop and–
Facilitator: The Competition Law I think.
Carol Tullo: Yes. There was Competition and there wer quite a few I think and I can’t remember what exactly what they were. It also meant of course, that we had a brand that we could also then show that we had a full portfolio of products, that worked for wherever bit of practice you were interested in, picking up an article, international reach. I think we also did conferences as well. I think we–
Facilitator: Linked in that?
Carol Tullo: We linked to that. If we did a conference based around Copinger and Skone James, it would be heavy weight. It would have authority, authenticity – it probably didn’t allow us to capture this vitality, youth, innovation of –the EIPR. So that gave us another string to our bow really. Yes.
Facilitator: I think Jeremy Phillips did something similar afterwards with Informa Publishing?
Carol Tullo: Yes. Yes.
Facilitator: It was some journal that they looked to me–
Carol Tullo: Very similar? Yes?
Facilitator: Yes, with Managing Intellectual Property and I think Trademark World and Copyright World, not as successful as EIPR, but I think the idea is similar in that sense of news. I mean I think it’s more about news and updates than the EIPR. That’s what I was asking you whether you considered EIPR as an academic journal or not?
Carol Tullo: No. No, we definitely didn’t. I mean, it wasn’t superficial. It was authoritative, it was good quality writing, but it was in bite size chunks, so people could pick up a subject and look at it. When I left Sweet & Maxwell and I moved onto work within the wider Thomson Reuters, and particularly in Intellectual Property and doing some work with some of their other European Publishing Houses (at the time in the mid-90s we were moving between I suppose Looseleaf and desk publishing into online services) the then Managing Director of European Company, Steve White, asked me to produce a newsletter for the staff on issues to do with Intellectual Property, because this affected publishing as well and I produced what I called IPB. The Intellectual Property Bulletin, just for internal use and I would from my own knowledge in writing and reading I would scan what was going on and I would write little pieces about perhaps a case or –if I noticed a news report about something happening in the early days of online and the Internet, I might write a little piece about it. So you’ve just reminded me.
Facilitator: To be updated?
Carol Tullo: I mean there were issues for editors to recognize. Plagiarism, there wasn’t so much plagiarism but we were very careful to make sure that we were accurate and that we knew what some of the strengths of what affected Publishing Law. So I mean, Publishing Law was just starting and now there are some solid little reference books on Publishing Law and Copyright for publishers – that was just starting as well.

Chris Rycroft: Oxford, Sweet & Maxwell and the EIPR

Facilitator: And weren’t you also involved in the EIPR?
Chris Rycroft: Yes. So what happened was, I’m not quite sure what the date of this was, but Sweet & Maxwell acquired a publisher called ESC Publishing who were based in Oxford, set up by Hugh Brett, and Nick Gingell was the person who did all the work, basically. I think what happened was that first of all it was more of a conference company. ESC stood for European Study Conferences. They used to run regular conference and then they saw an opportunity to do journals as well, and EIPR, European Intellectual Property Review was the first journal that they set up, and it was very canny to spot that the market was there and no one else was in it at all. It was absolutely head and shoulders the market leader as a journal on IP law for years and years. It probably still is, but now it costs 1500 pounds a year to subscribe. It’s part of Westlaw which means that all the law firms who subscribe to Westlaw get it automatically as part of that subscription. So the whole market has changed for journals now. But my insight into that was that when Sweet & Maxwell acquired ESC, you know, how fantastic or how brilliant that this IP journal has joined the Sweet & Maxwell fold. They also published European Competition Law Review which was just as good, but on competition law. They subsequently launched Entertainment Law Review and a whole series of journals on banking and trade, and all sorts. But they were based in Oxford, Nick Gingell was running this team in Oxford. So by the time I asked to move to the Oxford office in 1994, and actually moved in ‘95, there were at least three journals, and they were just launching a few more. It was a really impressive operation. I think I’m right in saying that EIPR was already a monthly by that stage, and they had very efficient commissioning and production techniques, which I think were ahead of their time. They got good content, good news coverage as well, on an international basis, had a really strong editorial board, and became the centre of discussion and debate amongst IP lawyers. If you want a comparison, the role EIPR had was a bit like the role that the IPkat Blog kind of took on in the digital age. Jeremy Phillips set up journals of his own. I think he was involved in EIPR from fairly early on, but he also set up his own journal. He was quite canny and got involved in the commercial side of setting up journals himself. So what happened was that I asked to move to Oxford because I was fed up living in London and I could see the advantages of working alongside the team who were producing EIPR. There was a lot of synchronicity there. But what happened was that Sweet & Maxwell in its wisdom decided that it would be a good idea if I was to take over management of the Oxford office, which needless to say put Nick Gingell’s nose out of joint, and most of the other people in the team as well.
I hated it. I never wanted to be in management, and so that was a pretty miserable time for me. But in the end, we sort of worked through it. Nick was there working alongside me for a bit. I moved to Oxford and the acquisition of ESC in Oxford was all made on the promise that yes, there’d always be an Oxford office of Sweet & Maxwell and we shall go on investing in there being an Oxford branch.
But then there came a time when, no doubt for financial reasons, Sweet & Maxwell decided it was an expensive luxury having all these people in Oxford with their boring problems to do with premises and computers. I think the lease was running out on the existing premises in Oxford and rather than have the cost of kitting out new offices, Sweet & Maxwell decided to shut down the Oxford operation and move everything to London. So I think I’m right in saying that’s when Nick would have gone, along with the majority of the Oxford employees. I think there were about 12 of us.
I wrote to Richard Hart at that point, and asked if there were any jobs going at OUP because I was potentially being made redundant. I’d always fancied the idea of working on the law list at OUP. In fact Richard had been building it up, and doing fantastic things. But he wrote back saying, well there’s nothing going at the moment, even though he knew perfectly well that there would be because he was preparing himself to leave and set up Hart publishing and would be gone within a matter of months. If he’d only told me, I would have been able to take three months holiday and take my redundancy payment and set up at OUP in a few months’ time. Frustratingly, it didn’t work out like that!
That’s how I ended up commuting up to London for quite a few months and actually working on a digital intellectual property project. One of the first new media projects to conceptualise what kind of materials one could put together in the intellectual property field. Materials, case law, commentary, and CD-ROM’s. Producing the kind of package that IP lawyers would be interested in. So I fully researched that and presented that. But that was when I left. That was the end of 1996. I gave my presentation and I said farewell. I moved to OUP who by that stage knew that Richard Hart had gone and so they signed me up.
Facilitator: Can you say a little bit more about EIPR, what was and how it was made?
Chris Rycroft: Well, bear in mind that this was never something that I was directly responsible for. They had a slick program of commissioning articles, commissioning news items and a production process that would work several issues in advance, so that they knew that they had a pipeline of content. They had local printers and type setters that they could use and dish it out. I think in fact they had a big and very responsive and involved editorial board. Hugh Brett was no doubt very helpful in introducing people to the movers and shakers and creating the editorial board. Nick was very good at that, going and meeting all the right people.