I take a different view. If Northern Ireland is to flourish its businesses have to innovate and if those businesses are to innovate their investment in branding, designs, technology and creative works have to be protected. Accordingly I checked the resources that are already there and found that there was quite a lot going for Northern Ireland:
"There is the Queen's University in Belfast "a broadly based, research-driven university with a dynamic world-class research and education portfolio and strong international connections". There is the HALO Business Angel Network on the Northern Ireland Science Park. There is a patent information unit at Belfast Central Library which is more than can be said for Manchester now that Chris Brown has gone or Liverpool while it is refurbished. According to CIPA there are 4 patent agencies in Belfast, namely Ansons, F R Kelly, Hanna IP and Murgitroyd and three of those firms have "Trade Mark Experts" listed on the ITMA website. I would add that there is also the excellent Eddie O'Gorman who runs the PatentNAV IP Search and Management Service. So there is already a lot going for Northern Ireland."
I have not however been able to find a patent clinic or inventors club either in Belfast or any other city or town in Northern Ireland and I am not sure what sort of advice is available through Northern Ireland Business Information which seems to be the equivalent of Business Link.
I hope to visit Northern Ireland in the next few weeks to meet colleagues from the Northern Irish Bar, local patent and trade mark agents and solicitors specializing in intellectual property and technology, media and telecommunications law. I hope also to meet Mr McFarlane who is the head of the patents section of Belfast Central Library to gauge whether there would be any enthusiasm for local patent clinics and inventors clubs.