30 September 2005
Blogging is supposed to be spontaneous which means that errors sometimes get through. I meant to say in "Making Money from Crime" that I had not been to any "Last Tuesday" (that is to say London Tuesday evening meetings) but I have certainly been to many Manchester ones. I have also been to at least one day time event as well as a talk on advisory opinions on 1 July which was brought to my attention and booked through Linda.
The only reason I haven't been to quite so more this year is that we have moved to the Media Centre and as I don't have time for two trips to Manchester per month I have to make a choice between the Manchester Inventors' Group and Second Tuesday meetings and, up to now, more of the former that have caught my interest than the latter. But that may not always be the case. I went to both inventors groups' meetings when I was working in Manchester. The Second Tuesday ones were always very good.
Linda is certainly a better source of information about Ideas21 than me. She says in her comment that she can be reached on 020 8780 9017 at any time. I had found it difficult to reach her in the afternoons on the four or five occasions that I have tried to call her last year but perhaps I was unlucky. Ideas21 also has a comprehensive events diary on its website the address of which I have previously supplied.
Anyone who wants free advice from me on the last Friday of the month should make an appointment with Jacquie Asquith of the Huddersfield Business Generator on Tel +44 (0)1484 483 080 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone wanting to catch me in Bradford should call David Robertson-Brown on Tel +44 (0)1274 772777 and anyone wanting to catch me in Lancashire should call Paul White at Blackburn Borough Council on Tel +44 (0)1254 692692 Email email@example.com for an appointment.
28 September 2005
Ideas21 appear recently to have increased their sub to £35 + a £5 joining fee, but for that you get access to the private bits of the Ideas21 website, a book by James Dyson, the bloke who invented the cyclone vacuum cleaner, and a load of pencils as well as £5 discount on admission to Second Tuesday talks in Manchester. I have been told that Ideas21 also let members of some other inventors' clubs into their events for no extra cost but you will have to ask Linda about that because I have never been able to understand the rules. Her telephone number is 020 8780 9017 and the best time to catch her tends to be the morning.
If you are already a member of Ideas21 and you want to take Linda up on her offer you should email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
27 September 2005
It is perhaps helpful to consider these machines as a bit like 3-dimensional ink jet colour printers. These build combinations of dots of ink into any character imaginable including photos. These build up shapes from small building blocks of material in very much the same way.
It appears that the London meetings are very much like the Manchester ones except that the London ones are free. There is a talk in the Patent Office after which everybody slopes off to "The Witness Box" just up the road. I may have spent a little too long in that establishment in my first 6 months pupillage in common law chambers because I never took to crime, personal injuries or divorce law. That may explain why I now do IP.
Appropriately, tonight's talk is on crime - "Making Money from Crime" to be exact. The speakers include Deborah Leary and Lorraine Gamman as well as patent agent Richard Gallafent. If you want to come, call Linda 020 8780 9017 or email her at email@example.com. Advance booking is essential for security reasons.
I had intended to go to the Last Tuesday meeting after Smith & Williamson's seminar on "The commercial implications for SMEs of owning intellectual property - How to identify, value, exploit and protect intellectual property" at the Institute of Child Health between 12:30 and 18:30 today which looks really good, but professional commitments and distance render that impossible. If anybody wants more info, call Julie Barlin Tel - 020 8492 8600 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Huddersfield has already got a number of links with the region through Nadio Granata's office in Dubai and indeed Alex Khan of these chambers. We hope to build on that connection with this very dynamic part of the world.
26 September 2005
Manchester Inventors' Group
Central Reference Library in St. Peter’s Square, Manchester
Tuesday 4 Oct 2005 18:00
Nick Rawcliffe, one of the more successful inventors on the programme, will address the Manchester Inventors Group next Tuesday on what it is like to stand before the Dragons. He will also give some tips on getting your product to market.
Even without his TV appearance, Nick has a pretty remarkable life story. He worked as a mechanical engineer for the Ministry of Defence, took an MA in Design at the Royal College of Art, worked at Bauhaus in Germany and in Japan.
The Manchester Inventors Group in partnership with Manchester Central Library is a group that aims to help local inventors by providing the right information and sharing experiences.
The group meets on a monthly basis to discuss ideas, listen to talks by keynote speakers, brainstorming sessions, receive help from various support agencies and take part in workshop sessions. In addition, the meetings are a good opportunity to meet likeminded people.
Admission is free to attend. Further information from Chris Brown on 0161 234 1397 email email@example.com.
I wouldn't dare otherwise, would I. It is therefore with some considerable pride that I see that Sheffield Hallam and Bradford College have joined with the Open University and Cambridge to set up a website for Women in Science Engineering and Technology (SET). This website is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry as part of their Strategy for Women in SET and includes statistics, information for employers, mentoring information and much more. The website is backed up with a team of people at the Resource Centre in Bradford offering information and assistance through our enquiry form or help line.
While on the subject of Bradford, NIPC would like to congratulate Neil Johnson of University knowledge transfer department on his retirement and wish his successor, Lynsey Grieveson, every success.
24 September 2005
This new procedure comes into force on 1 Oct 2005 by virtue of The Patents Act 2004 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2005. The Patent Office has a new "Commencement" page on the topic with links to guidance notes and other information explaining the procedure. Applications will be made on a new form which is not yet on the Patent Office website supported but which should be up later this week with a supporting statement. The procedure is intended to be user friendly so it may not always be necessary to instruct counsel, patent agents or solicitors, but, even where professional assistance is advisable, it ought not to cost very much.
I have already had my first enquiries about settling (barrister talk for "preparing") supporting statements one of which is likely to turn into firm instructions later in the week. I will keep you all posted. Finally, for those who want to learn more. Peter Hayward of the Patent Office and Ian Lewis of Miller Insurance will be speaking on the topic at BPP Law School in Leeds on 24 Nov 2005 at 18:00. Admission is free upon application to Jonathan Haines Tel +44 (0) 845 678 6868, The school can only accommodate 150 in the lecture theatre and tickets will be allocated first come, first served.
22 September 2005
Admission costs £15 for members and £20 for non-members. Food and drink at
at RAIN Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater Street are included in the fee. To register on line visit http://www.ideas21.co.uk/Event_Detail/502
or call 020 8780 9017 and ask for Linda.
Her company was set up by Dr Bob Keown OBE, sometime lecturer in metallurgy at Sheffield University, in 1984. Beta has had an impressive portfolio of customers including British Steel, the National Physical Laboratory and several government departments. Its services include assisting applicants for European research and development funding and providing innovation services to companies to help them develop, promote and acquire new technologies. Beta is the designated UK National Contact Point (NCP) for a number of areas of FP6 including SMEs, Life Sciences and Research and Innovation.
Beta's head office is in Doncaster and it has branches elsewhere in the North.
Bronwen is a chemistry and biology graduate of Sheffield Hallam with experience of environmental analysis and scientific instrument sales as well as consultancy. Sadly, she said she was leaving Beta. We all wish her every success wherever she is going to.
The Leeds Club is now well and truly established. We now have our own website thanks to Ged Doonan. We meet every Wednesday on the top floor of Central Library at 6pm. We have a full programme with Peter Bissell, author of "A Better Mousetrap" and "The Business of Invention" on 19 Oct 2005, Terry Singleton and Clayton Roudette on 16 Nov 2005 and Dr Barry Stoddart of P & G on 21 Dec 2005.
The Inventors Group is only one of many services of the Business and Business Services of Leeds Central Library. There is also a regular patent clinic staffed by local patent agents.
19 September 2005
15 September 2005
He and one of the partners of his firm had written a very interesting article entitled "Tax Exemption on Income derived from Patent Royalties." which he distributed to the list which can be downloaded by clicking here. There is other good stuff on his firm's website. I particularly enjoyed the article on ADR.
12 September 2005
For a start the "PCT Gazette" is now online. This periodical contains information about all new applications received that month. Another useful journal is the PCT Newsletter with information about the patent and utility model; protection available in each country. There is some basic information for applicants as well as more detailed stuff for IP practitioners. There is a facility for registering for email updates.
11 September 2005
Around 200 innovative European projects are to be showcased at this event to 4,000 visitors from 18 countries including 18 venture capitalists. There will also be an exhibition with 200 stands, networking, 40 talks and workshops.
Attendance and exhibition fees seem very reasonable.
The home page describes the role of the USPTO and its history. The index page contains basic information about patents (which in the USA are available for designs and plant varieties as well as inventions), copyrights and trade marks (spelt as one word in US dialect). There is a links panel to some useful downloadable brochures and a complaints button for invention promotion companies. It's good to know that they are doing something about this problem over there, especially since many of the invention promotion companies operating here are based in the USA. Similar information is available on our Patent Office website but it is spread over several pages and you have to know your way around that site to use it to best advantage.
Another thing that our Patent Office could consider is an independent inventors' conference. They have just held their tenth at the USPTO's head office. The cost was very reasonable (US$90 about £50 in real money) with a US$10 (£5.50) discount for those over 55. Very interesting it looked too.
09 September 2005
07 September 2005
"The Genica Programme: Turning Ideas into Reality"
21 Sep 2005
18:00 - 20:00
We are all very sorry to learn that Dr Barry Stoddart is to have medical treatment later this month that will delay his speaking to the Leeds Inventors Group on 21 Sep 2005. Everyone in Leeds sends him good wishes for a full and speedy recovery and look forward to his talk on 21 December 2005. Ged and Stef will see whether they can get in some mince pies and something stronger than tea or coffee to make Barry feel especially welcome.
We are however delighted to be able to bring forward two speakers we had intended to approach in the New Year, Brian Corbett and Bob Middleton of Robinson-Chadburn. Their latest project is the "Genica Programme". Genica "helps entrepreneurs and inventors turn their ideas into reality." This is a series of workshops and one-to-one meetings to help inventors and business people identify possible applications for their inventions and to present them to the market in a way that appeals to users and consumers. The whole programme would take much longer than the time available but Brian and Bob have promised to give us a taster.
Brian and Bob were very much involved in the UMIC awards mentioned in my last post, "Examples of What can be Done". They will complement Peter Bissell on "The Business of Invention" on 19 Oct 2005 and the UMIC award winners Terry and Clayton on 16 Nov 2005.
Leeds Inventors' Group now has its own web page on the Leeds City Council website and NIPC is working on a website for them similar to the Huddersfield site. Photos of the first event on 20 July which Lawrence Smith-Higgins launched are above.
06 September 2005
Terry, already with an impressive portfolio of patents, demonstrated his latest invention, the "anyway up bin". As its name suggests, this is a waste disposal system. Its purpose is to reduce the risk of repetitive strain, back and other injuries among local authority and other cleaning staff. It consists of a case made from cardboard (or other inexpensive material capable of being recycled) around which a plastic bin liner is crimped and a cap with an aperture in the form of a slit with two folding side flaps secured to the roof by two treasury tags. As the bin liner fills up the weight drags the folds of the bag up the side of the casing. That in turn forces the cap upwards. The upwards motion relaxes the tags causing the slit to close. The system therefore regulates automatically and inexpensively the weight of rubbish that can be deposited in the bin.
Clayton's invention, the TIKKI Pavilion, was equally elegant. Described in his patent specification as a building with polygonal floor it is a temporary structure as easy to erect and almost as light as a tent. Clayton emphasized in his talk that it should be regarded as a room extension rather than a marquee. He explained that the original concept was for corporate hospitality but people who had seen it gradually began to identify domestic uses. A short video suggested all sorts of uses from mini-gymnasium to dining room.
Both Terry and Clayton have accepted my invitations to address the Leeds Inventors Group at Leeds Central Libtrary at 6pm on Wednesday 16 November 2005. It should be a really good evenining.
The other main event of the evening was a discussion as to how the Manchester Inventors Group should be constituted now that public funding is no longer available. Basil Philipsz offered to welcome the Manchester inventors as a chapter of IdeasNW or work with them closely in other ways if they wished to set up a separate organization. The meeting voted narrowly in favour of accepting Basil's invitation. However, everyone agreed to set up an association and consider links with IdeasNW later. We resolved to establish a working committee under Steve Mansfield's Chairmanship. On behalf of NIPC I pledged to sponsor the new Manchester Inventors Group to the extent that our chambers already support IdeasNW.
05 September 2005
03 September 2005
Before doing anything else I would urge inventors to do some homework on the IP insurance market. There have been some useful recent reports published by the European Commission and IP Wales. The EC report was prepared by CJA Consultants Ltd. and is entitled Patent Litigation Insurance. The IP Wales reports are "intellectual Property & Legal Expense Insurance" by Prof Beynon and others and the preliminary report downloadable from the same site. If you really don't have time for anything else, at least read Mandy Haberman's short article "Insure or Unsure?" (Mandy speaks from experience) and the DTI's "Insurance to protect IP Rights".
Types of Insurance
There are two types of insurance policies available to patentees and other IPR owners:
- IP or "Before-the-Event" Insurance Cover
- "After-the-Event" or Legal Expenses Cover
I shall discuss the latter first because there is less to say about it.
After the event cover is not specifically related to intellectual property enforcement. It is a policy against the other side's, or your own and the other side's, costs of litigation. Insurers only take on the risk if they are pretty sure you are going to win. A typical premium is one third of the estimated costs. As these are unlikely to be less than £150,000 in a Patents County Court case the insurer will look to the insured for £50,000. Insurers may accept payment for such cover by installments but it is a hell of a lot of money for an SME to stump up at a time of maximum vulnerability.
This is very much cheaper and easier to obtain particularly if it is sought at the time of the patent application. Premiums can start as low as £500 for £150,000 cover for a start up company against the other side's costs. More typically, the premium will be £4,000 plus but that will include own costs, as well as other side's costs, cover to hudreds of thousands and perhaps one or two million pounds. Insurers will negotiate exclusions, reduced premiums for accepexcesscesss and so on. Before the event cover is the sort of cover that is most likely to deter infringement.
In mentioning the following websites I must make clear beyond peradventure that I am not recommending any of the companies that are mentioned or referred to. This is a small and esoteric area of insurance and it is essential that an IPR owner takes specialist advice. I would also advise a lot of shopping around for the best deal.
One of the informativetiive website on the subject is probably Intellectual Property Insurance Services. This is run by an agent of Templeton Insurance Ltd in the Isle of Man. In fairness, I should point out that Templeton has another agent in Kent or South-East London but I don't know a lot about them. IP Insurance Services' website gives details of its start-up, standard and after-the-event policies. Their prime mover is an entertaining Scotsman of Singapore origin called Ian Macleod. He often accepts invites to address inventors' group, Business Link and other meetings. While repeating that I amendorsingrsing Mr Macleod's or any oinsurancerance company, it is worth listening to what he has to say if he is in your area.
Another good source of information is Mandy Haberman's "Make Sparks Fly" site. I have already mentioned her article "Insure or Unsure?" The reason Mandy speaks from experience is that she was able to see off a number of predators for her feeding cup because she had been wise enough to take out cover. Mandy has found three insurance companies to sponsor her site though when I checked them out while researching for the "Insurance" chapter of a book I am writing on IPR enforcement Hiscox told me that they no longer write before-the-event policies and Richmond House Group is yet to return my call. Miller Insurance Services Ltd does offer bother intellectual property asset protection and Intellectual property litigation cover. Its director, Ian Lewis, has written a very interesting paper "Coming of Age of Intellectual Property Insurance" which I commend.
Finally, I should say that IP Wales has arranged a special scheme for its members with HSBC Insurance the particulars of which can be obtained through its website.
More to come
Insurance is an important topic as it seems to me to be the only way many companies can afford to protect their intellectual assets. I shall be posting a lot of articles on this and other sites over time. Bookmark this one because I shall always link back to this article.
5 Feb 2006 "IP Insurance: Two more Insurers Identified"
02 September 2005
fundamentals" when it comes to protecting investment in brands and technology.
In my article, I suggest that business people in this country have only too good a grasp. They know that enforcement is prohibitively expensive. If they can't enforce a patent or other IPR, why bother to apply for one? It hasn't always been the case. Until 2000 there was a lot of state support for innovators through civil legal aid. Since then, inventors and entrepreneurs have been left to their own devices.
The article considers insurance, suing outside the UK and the promise of possible changes in the law.
01 September 2005
I put it to the test and chose TRIZ which Paul Field of Huddersfield University introduced to me in his Innovation Forum a year ago. Sure enough it was there on Mr Leith's website. I was sufficiently impressed to read more and was led to a Sheffield site "Brainstorming" run by a company called Infinite Innovations.
26 Aug 2005 "Acquiring Intellectual Property" a primer on Intellectual Property
24 Feb 2004 "Applying for a Trade Mark"
28 Aug 2005 "Applying for Patents"; and
27 Aug 2005 "Patents Acts 1997 - 2004"
30 August 2005
Building on the success of Trevor Baylis's visit to Huddersfield for "Brass from Gumption" on 18 Feb 2005, Paul Field, Innovation Manager and Business Mentor of the University of Huddersfield has launched the "Ideas Gateway". This offers Baylis style breakouts - that is to say confidential brainstorming sessions at which inventors and professional and business advisors test ideas for new businesses and inventions.
For more information, call Paul Field on 01484 472264 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org .
St Peter's Square
- Terry Singleton who won first prize with his "anyway up bin" in the UMIC 2005 Ideas competition; and
- Clayton Roudette who came second with his TIKKI pavilion