19 October 2007

Smoking solutions

(Posted some time after the event ...)
To the Intellectual Property Institute's talk on DNA Patents, given by Sandy Thomas. The venue is the auditorium in BAT's office, where not only are there ashtrays on every table but half-consumed packets of cigarettes too (and the ashtrays are half full - are they maintained that way?) The chairman, Jacob LJ, jokes that he might take an ashtray as a souvenir as they will have no purpose in an office building after 1 July.

(Months later, in October 2007, I find myself back in the BAT building, and again in the company - distant, I have to admit - of Sir Robin. No opportunity presents itself to ask whether he has an ashtray, but I do notice that the examples previously standing on tables have been replaced with stacks of "personal" ashtrays and a general invitation to take on - I should have done, just to see what they looked like. And at strategic points in the building, such as by the lifts, there are plans of that floor of the building with "your personal smoking solutions" (exits onto balconies) marked.)

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