14 December 2018

The Pontio Centre: A Resource for Inventors, Designers and Makers in North Wales

Author UA
Licence Copyright waived by the author

Jane Lambert

On 1 Dec 2018, I attended a performance of Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs by Ballet Cymru in the  Bryn Terfel Theatre at the Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre of Bangor University. If you are interested, you can read my review of the performance in Ballet Cymru's Dylan Thomas Programme: The Company's Best Work Ever which I posted on 13 Dec 2018 to my dance blog Terpsichore.

The Bryn Terfel Theatre is just one of a number of facilities at the Pontio. There is also a cinema, restaurant, students; union, bars and caf├ęs and, most importantly, the Hwb which is the Pontio innovation area.  I was unable to visit it on 1 Dec 2018 but here is the description on the "About" page of the Pontio's website:
"Pontio Innovation is about equipping individuals and businesses with the tools they need to succeed in the modern economy. With a focus on transdisciplinary working and rapid prototyping, the Co-Lab, Media Lab, Hackspace and Fablab areas are equipped with cutting-edge technologies. It will boost the University’s cross-disciplinary teaching programmes and encourage collaborative work between students, staff and local businesses. Check out the Innovation Events page for details about what's going on here and read more about the Pontio Innovation philosophy."
For artists, designers, inventors and other makers it is important to translate an idea in the brain or on a sheet of paper into three-dimensional objects that they can show to collaborators, investors and customers. That is where the three-dimensional printers, laser cutters and other equipment at the centre's FabLab can help.

A FabLab is a fabrication laboratory and I have written quite a lot about them in this and other blogs. Readers can find more information and links to some of those articles in Liverpool Inventors Club Re-launch - Fabulous FabLab 28 Jan 2012.  The Pontio offers training in the use of that equipment and access to the machines which can be booked through the centre's website. Details of those courses can be found on the "Innovation Events" page.

There is also some very good information about innovation generally on the "Pontio Innovation" page.  The only topic that appears to be missing from that page is a mention of intellectual property. For the benefit of users of the Pontio innovation space as well as artists, designers, inventors and makers generally I shall try to fill that gap here.

All the things that can be made in the Pontio FabLab and other parts of the Hwb are intellectual assets.  Expenditure of time and money on making those assets can be protected by a bundle of laws known as intellectual property.  Examples of those laws are patents for new inventions, trade marks and the law of passing off to protect brands, registered designs and unregistered design right to protect aesthetic and technical designs and copyright and related rights to protect creative output.

Users of the Hwb's facilities should be aware that the laws that protect their intellectual assets also protect other peoples'.  They must be careful not to copy beyond what is expressly or impliedly licensed, to check for registered rights such as patents, trade marks and registered designs and, wherever possible, to take out specialist IP insurance to enforce their own rights and to resist infringement claims by others.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any topic raised in it is welcome to call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.