31 January 2012

Straight from the Horse's Mouth:"Filing a UK patent application - process and procedures"

When you apply for a British patent you have to satisfy the Intellectual Property Office  that your invention is new, involves an inventive step, is capable of industrial application, does not fall within any of the statutory exclusions and meets all the other requirements of the Patents Act 1977. The official who considers your application is called an examiner. The photo shows a group of them to the left. Very brainy people as you can imagine. Albert Einstein once did that job for the Swiss federal intellectual property office.

It's not often that you actually get a chance to meet a patent examiner but this opportunity will arise on Monday 6 Feb 2012 in Sheffield and Wednesday 15 Feb 2012 in Leeds.

Sheffield and Leeds inventors groups are delighted to welcome Kalim Yasseen, an examiner of the UK Intellectual Property Office to our February meetings. Kalim will talk about  "Filing a UK patent application - process and procedures".

These talks are important not just for inventors but also for patent agents, entrepreneurs, business advisers, bankers, angels and venture capital investors and just about everyone involved in the patenting process.

The Sheffield talk will take place at Sheffield Central Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 1XZ on 6 Feb at 18:00.

The Leeds talk will take place at Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3AB  on 15 Feb at 18:00.

Both events are free.

28 January 2012

Liverpool Inventors Club Re-launch - Fabulous FabLab

As everyone in Liverpool knows, Liverpool Central Library at William George Street has been closed for refurbishment since 23 July 2010. According to patent librarian Ruth Grodner, it is not due to re-open to the public until some time in  2013.

The library hosted Liverpool Inventors Club and th:e CIPA patent clinic. Since the refurbishment, both have been looking for a new home. Now thanks to QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter, we have found a new one for the Inventors Club and the patent and trade mark agents and other IP practitioners in IP North West will provide a patent clinic service for Liverpool until the CIPA one is up and running again.

The Inventors Club will kick off to a fantastic start with a presentation by Haydn Insley of the Manufacturing Institute who runs the fabulous FabLab Manchester. The meeting will take place on Monday, 27 Feb 2012 at 18:00 at the offices of QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter at
88 Church Street
L1 3AY

This is an event for everyone in Merseyside, not just inventors but artists, business angels, designers, patent and trade mark agents and other IP professionals, venture capitalists.   The lot.

Space is limited so book your ticket quickly. Click here to register for the event or contact your host Michael Sandys at 0151 282 1700 for further info on the event.

Further Information on FabLabs

IP North West
FabLab Manchester, Introduction to Intellectual Property
The Manchester FabLab
FabLab Manchester

Inventors Club
Jane Keats "Factories of the Future"

IP Yorkshire
FabLabs for Yorkshire: IntegreatPlus Learning Lunch

21 January 2012

BIPC Newcastle

On 26 Oct 2010 I blogged an announcement by Mark Preece MP of a new a new collaboration between the British Library, NESTA, Newcastle City Library and Northumbria University for a new Business and IP Centre in Newcastle along the lines of the British Library's Business and IP Centre in London (see Jane Lambert "Resources for Inventors in North East England"). I am pleased to say that the Centre is now open at Newcastle City Library and it has a website and twitter feed.

The home page of the website claims to be the "only dedicated Business and Intellectual Property Centre outside London". Leeds Business and Patents would be entitled to argue with that. Like Leeds, the BIPC sets out to be  "a comprehensive one-stop-shop for the region’s business talent, offering everything from research materials to subscription database access; tailored 1:1 consultation sessions to the latest business journals."

The BIPC's resources include:
  • A wide selection of business reference and lending books.
  • Free factsheets and guides (including Trade Marks, Design, Copyright, Esp@cenet, Historical Patents Searching, Patent Information and IP protection)
  • Current and backdated newspapers and journals including Management Today, Investors Chronicle, Trade International, Moneyfacts, Marketing, People Management and Contrax Weekly.
  • A dedicated seating/study/networking area for business use.
  • Display cabinets exhibiting successful case studies and historical patents journals.
  • 2 x Apple Macs and 1 PC dedicated for business use.
  • Business database subscriptions including Keynote, Cobra, Corporate Researcher and Which?
  • A private interview room with PC/internet access.
  • Interactive ‘Skills Swap’ networking board.
Resources available in the wider library include a 100 seat cafĂ© with terrace area, printing, photocopying, scanning and faxing facilities and free internet and Wi-Fi.   All good stuff.

The enterprise is a joint venture between the City and British Libraries, Newcastle Science City, Northumbria University, the Bdaily business network, some local solicitors and the Newcastle branch of a  firm of patent and trade mark agents. Advertised services include assistance with business planning, patent, trade mark and design searches and skill training.  BIPC has an interesting programme of events starting with  business coaching and a talk by Trevor Baylis on 24 Jan 2012. It plans to develop a range of services on the London model.

One thing that they do seem to lack in Newcastle is an inventors group like the ones in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.   When I published my article in 2010 I received a number of enquires and offers of help from inventors in the North East.  Our chambers would be very glad to help set up such a group in Newcastle if anyone would care to contact us on 0191 580 8090 or through our form.

The Library is open until 20:30 on Monday to Thursday.   It shuts at 17:30 on Friday and Saturday and 17:00 on Sunday.   Its address is 33 New Bridge St West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX.

17 January 2012

Ideas North West: Going for Grants

If you missed Charles Lucas and Tom Bathgate of Going for Grants when they spoke in Yorkshire you can catch Charles in Accrington on Thursday.

He will be speaking to Ideas North West  at

The Globe Centre
St.James Square
Thursday, 19 Jan 2012 at 18:00 for 18:30.

Further information from Margaret Tate on 01254 208419.

08 January 2012

Leeds Inventors Club: John Biddleston

Leeds Inventors Group is in for a treat this month. The first speaker of the New Year will be John Biddleston who gave an excellent talk to the Sheffield Inventors Group on 7 Nov 2011.  

The title of John's talk will be "The Importance of Planning". He is well qualified for that topic as he us a product design consultant as well as an inventor.  He is also a qualified teacher and knows how to keep an audience's attention.   I wish he had been one of my masters.

The talk will take place on 18 Jan 2012 at 18:00 at Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3AB. For further information call Ged Doonan or Stef Stephenson on  0113 247 8266 or  email piu@leeds.gov.uk.

01 January 2012

Happy New Year - this could be the year the recovery starts

Last year a group of economists predicted a modest recovery for the British economy. Many of the economic indicators suggested that they might be right. Manufacturing was powering ahead and exporters were doing well. However, I thought they were over optimistic and said so many times in my twitter stream. Several people including one of my best friends accused me of talking down the economy but I am sorry to say that events proved me right.

This year, economists are predicting gloom and doom and again many of the indicators are suggesting that they may be right. Again, I take a different view. I think the pessimism is exaggerated. I believe that 2012 will be the year in which we see signs of recovery.

Why do I say that? The answer is that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and CIVETS (Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) countries as well as other emerging economies are growing so quickly internally that they can lift the world from recession. That was the outcome that I envisaged at the start of the downturn (see The Coming Economic Downturn: How it will affect inventors and what they can do).

I am not alone in anticipating recovery. Neil Mackay, managing director of Advantage Business Angels for whom I have a particularly high regard has said so too in "A First Sighting of Recovery" though for somewhat different reasons.

The only fly in the ointment I can see is that property prices are falling in China. This seems to be the result of government policy but if real estate has been taken as collateral it could affect the Chinese banking system. Then we would all be in trouble.