31 January 2011

Do we need a UIA in Britain?

The letters UIA stand for United Inventors Association. According to its website it is "a non-profit [organization] dedicated to inventor education and support." It delivers such education and support through videos, a blog, a monthly newsletter, internet radio station and other channels. The Association also registers local inventors clubs, accredits service providers and negotiates discounts for members from approved suppliers.

There are three grades of membership:
  • Inventor;
  • Club Member; and
  • Premium.
Internet and club membership are free. Premium members pay an annual subscription of US$99. All members get the newsletter, list of friendly companies. discounts from service providers and the "Spot a Scam" video. Club members - that is to say, paid up members of affiliated clubs - get all the benefits of inventor membership plus a 5-part mini service and an invitation to a cocktail party at the "National Hardware Show". Premium members get a 10-part mini service, access to inventor resources and an opportunity to attend the filming of the "As seen on TV show" as well as the other benefits of club membership. According to the sponsorship page, there are over 10,000 members of the UIA.

Service providers can join as "silver", "gold" or "platinum medallion" sponsors. Silver medallion membership costs US$499, gold US$1,999 and platinum US$4,999. Sponsors appear to include lawyers, patent attorneys, publishers and many other professionals.

The UIA has a Code of Ethics which covers personal and professional integrity, governance, legal compliance, responsible stewardship and openness and disclosure. Any business that wishes to sponsor the the UIA must promise to operate in accordance with those ethics (see the eligibility criteria for sponsorship).

The strength of the UIA is that it plugs local inventors' clubs with a nationwide community. This gives it the numbers to negotiate discounts with service providers. It also enables each club to offer its members a much wider range of resources that it could possibly offer by itself. There is clearly a need for an organization like the UIA in this country.

23 January 2011

Resources for Inventors in Yorkshire and the Humber

Yorkshire and the Humber consists of the metropolitan counties of West and South Yorkshire, the shire county of North Yorkshire and the unitary authorities of York, Kingston upon Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East England. Major cities include Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Hull and York. The region covers just over 15,420 square kilometres and has a population of 5.14 million.

Regional Development
Yorkshire Forward is the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber. This agency will be abolished with the other regional development agencies by March 2012. Proposals for local enterprise partnerships have been accepted for the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions.

Business Advisers
Business Link Yorkshire is based at 1 Capitol Court Capitol Business Park, Dodworth, Barnsley, S75 3TZ. Tel: 0845 604 8048, At present it can field a team of business advisers in all parts of Yorkshire and Humberside who can offer advice and mentoring and access to other sources of advice. It also runs conferences, workshops and seminars throughout the region. The regional Business Link networks are due to be disbanded in the next few months. Taking their place will be private consultancies such as Business Doctors and business coaches like Gail Cherry of Torchlight Consulting.

Business Angels
There is a local angel network known as YABA (Yorkshire Association of Business Angels).

NIPC Clinics offers specialist IP advice throughout Yorkshire and the Humber and beyond. Local clinics staffed by local patent agents are also operated by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys at Leeds and Sheffield Central Libraries.

Community Development Finance Institutions
There are no less than 9 community development finance institutions in Yorkshire and the Humber:

Inventors Clubs
There are inventors clubs in Leeds and Sheffield.

There are Patent Information Centres at Leeds and Sheffield Central Libraries.

Professional Advisors
Jane Lambert, the only specialist intellectual property counsel outside London, practises from the Media Centre in Huddersfield. Specialist solicitors include Kate Reid, James Love, Sara Ludlam and Dai Davis. Patent agents with whom we work closely include Jane Bray, Peter Draggett, Dan Bates, Chris Hemingway and Michael Harrison. Ros Beattie of Company Solutions offers high quality accountancy services for start-ups and other small businesses. Richard Hall of pd-m International is a recommended product design consultant.

Further Information
We have a page on inventors' resources in Yorkshire and Humberside on the Inventors Club websitewhich we shall expand and update as and when we can. We have an Inventors Club group on Linkedin which covers developments affecting inventors throughout the UK. 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. Anyone who wishes to contact us should call us on 0113 320 3232 or use our online form.

22 January 2011

Inventor Forum

Inventor Forum can best be described as a consultancy for private inventors. It was started by Simon Brown who is a private inventor who has brought his invention successfully to market.

According to the company's website,
"Simon recognized that he would have done a lot of things differently, and saved significant time and money in doing so. But there was nobody to turn to who could provide the upfront, comprehensive road map and basic knowledge that he really needed ... so Simon has set up Inventor Forum. Bringing together a range of people who have been directly involved in a number of successful invention-based businesses from 'ground zero;, Simon can give inventors access to the knowledge, experience and support of a network of business partners, associates and professional specialist advisers (lawyers, accountants, etc) who have proven they understand the needs of the inventor-entrepreneur."
The company provides this service in three stages:

1 an initial evaluation
  • 2 an extended consultation whereby Inventor Forum provides a comprehensive start-up guide with information on market research, intellectual property, tax, fund raising and so on; and
3. ongoing support and assistance.

Inventor Forum also offers services such as market research and pitched preparation to established businesses.

You can contact Simon at

Inventor Forum Ltd
Motivo House
Bluebell Road
BA20 2FG

Tel: +44(0)1935 475525

Mob: +44(0)788 9911493

You can also follow him on twitter and Linkedin.