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.

No comments: