From summer 2015 prosecutors in Scotland will be able to use their iPads in all 39 Sheriff Courts.
The news comes after the successful £310,000 pilot scheme which rolled out in February 2013. The iPads feature an app specifically designed for the work of Fiscals (prosecutors) and uses a system which is more secure than traditional paper files.
This latest development shows how technology can assist with reducing huge amounts of paperwork and improving efficiency in the legal profession.
This sort of news is always interesting to an IP/IT solicitor as it raises so many IP and techie issues! For instance:
- who developed the app we wonder – under an agreement whereby the ownership of the IP code was assigned to the Scottish Parliament? Or did the developer retain the ownership, ready to be able to licence in the future to the English Government and/or internationally?
- was their a one off payment or an annual licence fee dependent on number of iPads used or number of users? Or locations?
- what is the name of the app – is it protected and in which geographical locations? As National registrations or a CTM?
- security – we could go to town (or court) with this one! Here’s hoping that the app lives up to security expectations. Goodness knows what could happen with such sensitive and often confidential data if it gets into the wrong hands. We have all heard the tale of when a public authority’s laptop was accidentally left on a train….
We look forward to news that Scotland’s lead will be followed and similar iPad pilot schemes will be implemented in Courts in England and Wales. Could the days of the poor trainee rolling a suitcase full of files to court be over?
For all your IP and technology queries please contact Laura Trapnell on 02380 482114.