26 October 2010

Resources for Inventors in North East England

On 9 September 2010 Mark Prisk, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, announced a new collaboration between the British Library, NESTA, Newcastle City Library and Northumberland University for a new Business and IP Centre in the City along the lines of the British Library's Business and IP Centre in London (see "Mark Prisk announces new business advisory service" on the Real Business website).

What's There Now?
That announcement prompted me to look at what is available for private inventors in the North East and indeed the rest of the country. As I want to provide a resource for inventors in the North East I should be very grateful if folk from the region could let me know if I have missed anything. They can get in touch with me either through our contact form or on our local number 0191 580 8090.

Inventors' Clubs
First up is that there does not seem to be a local inventors' club in North-East England. I could not find one either through googling, the excellent WRTI's directory of inventors' clubs or any other source. Now there are patent attorneys and patent clinics in the region so there must be inventors, As inventors like to get together there are almost certainly informal gatherings of inventors. But that is not the same thing as a club with regular meeting, networking and mutual assistance. Having helped set up the inventors clubs in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield and having supported the ones in Blackburn and Manchester we'd like to help. Again, if any local inventor, patent librarian, business angel, local government officer or entrepreneur would like our help, please let us know.

According to the City library website intellectual property advice is available at the City Library in the Charles Avison Building, 33 New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX on Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons. Appointments can be booked through information@newcastle.gov.uk or 0191 227 4100. According to the CIPA website this advice is provided by local patent agents.

The City Library at 33 New Bridge Street is a member of the PatLib network and offers lots of printed and on-line resources on all aspects of business law including patent, trade mark and registered design searches for which it charges a fee.

In addition to national banking, angel and VC networks there are several strong local financial institutions. These include the Entrust business angel network and 4 local community development finance institutions, namely Five Lamps, Northern Pinetree Trust, PNE Group and Street North East.

Regional Development
The Regional Development Agency ("RDA") for the North East England is One North East which, of course, will go the way of the other RDAs very shortly (see "Local Enterprise Partnerships begin to take shape" 21 Oct 2010). There is a regional Business Link based at Spectrum 6, Spectrum Business Park, Seaham, SR7 7TT, Tel: 0845 600 9 006. The RDAs will be replaced by local enterprise partnerships ("LEPs") and proposals have been submitted for County Durham, Northumberland, North Tyneside and the whole North East. Some of these can be accessed from the BIS website.

Professional Advice
There are lots of patent and trade mark agents and some law firms that belong to the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association in Newcastle and other towns and cities in the region. We don't yet know any of them well enough to recommend for private inventors who will have limited budgets and would advise such clients to ask around and shop around and let us know what they find. The same goes for accountants, business advisers, marketing consultants, product designers. We have a page on Inventors Resources for North East England on the Inventors Club website which we will update as and when we can.

Further Information
We have an Inventors Club group on Linkedin which covers developments affecting inventors throughout the UK which you can join. You can of course also join the Inventors Club if you want. The Membership Rules are here. There is no subscription but we may charge for special services such as showcasing inventions and access to professional services.

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