To an audience that included not only inventors but also representatives of Leeds intellectual property professionals, including Michael Harrison, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents, Peter Bissell delivered a splendid presentation on his work as NESTA assessor. The presence of these high powered professionals was not coincidental. The CIPA commends "The Business of Invention" which Peter wrote with Graham Barker. Several firms of patent agents buy the book in job lots and distribute to their clients to introduce them to the patent system.
Starting from the premise that its much easier to pick losers than winners Peter identified the points that most frequently trip up inventors. Failure to search was the most obvious one including failure to specify a market. Peter pointed out that it is not necessarily the first invention in a technology that proves to be most successful but the first to meet a practical need. Taking cats' eyes as an example, it was not the first reflecting surface that was commercially successful, but the first to use rainwater for self-cleaning. In the Q & A session that followed, a member of the audience asked Peter whether he had actually invented anything that had made money. Peter was able to reply proudly that he had - a concrete breaker and a computer guard among other things.
Next meeting on 16 Nov 2006 will star Terry Singleton and Clayton Roudette, winners of the University of Manchester Incubator Company invention competition (see "Examples of what can be done" 6 Sept 2005). We also plan a brainstorming session on 15 Feb 2005 along the lines of the IdeasNW event planned for today in Blackburn. IdeasNW chair, Basil Philipsz, has kindly offered to show us how it is done. Other talks will include Barry Stoddart of Procter & Gamble on 21 Dec 2005 on how to approach a multinational and two of our local patent agents will talk about their services to local inventors and entrepreneurs. Should be good.