Friday, 21 February 2020

IP for Inventors, Makers and Designers

"How to Protect Your Ideas and Make Money from Them" 
FFIWS 125 High Street, Porthmadog, 1 April 2020, 17:30 - 19:00

Jane Lambert 

I mentioned the FFIWS maker space at Porthmadog in FFIWS - Another Resource for Inventors, Designers and Makers in North Wales today in my Inventors Club blog,  FFIWS is funded by Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig and the ARFOR Programme by Cyngor Gwynedd.  Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig is one of the projects of Menter Môn.

Rhys Gwilym, one of the officials of Menter Môn is arranging some workshops and other events at FFIWS and has invited me to speak about intellectual property for users of FFIWS's facilities.  I have given similar talks at various FabLabs around the country and other maker spaces in Sheffield and Carlisle.

Although I shall have to spend a few minutes explaining what intellectual property is and how it works I shall make my talk as practical as possible.  I shall concentrate on confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements, rights that come into being automatically such as copyrights, design rights and unregistered Community designs, rights that can be registered inexpensively such as trade marks and designs, licensing and cost-effective methods of enforcement.   I shall explain how and where to get specialist advice quickly and cost-effectively including the community of advisors, investors and entrepreneurs that is gathering around M-SParc on Anglesey.

The talk will take place at FFIWS, 125 High Street, Porthmadog on 1 April 2020 at 17:30.  I shall mention this event to some of the other experts who have spoken at M-SParc and invite them to come to make the event a really special evening.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

My Talk to the Enterprise Hub -"What is a Trade Secret?"

Standard YouTube Licence

Jane Lambert

 I had a good day at M-SParc yesterday. I discussed trade secrets and non-disclosure agreements with the Enterprise Hub between 12:00 and 13:00. For the rest of the afternoon, I held pro bono one-to-one consultations with some of the individuals who had attended my talk as well as other business owners and entrepreneurs.

For the purpose of my talk, I defined "trade secrets" as  "secret business or commercial information the unlicensed use or disclosure of which could benefit a recipient of the information or harm the person who is entitled to prevent such use or disclosure."  A trade secret can be an invention before the filing of a patent application, the source code of a computer program, a customer list or a business plan.

Until the 9 June 2018, the unauthorized use or disclosure of trade secrets was prevented by the law of confidence which had been developed by the courts over many years.  In Coco v AN Clark (Engineers) Ltd [1968] F.S.R. 415, [1969] RPC 41 Mr Justice Megarry summarized that law as follows:
"I would regard the recipient as carrying a heavy burden if he seeks to repel a contention that he was bound by an obligation of confidence.’
‘First, the information must be of a confidential nature. As Lord Greene said in the Saltman case . . ‘something which is public property and public knowledge’ cannot per se provide any foundation for proceedings for breach of confidence. However confidential the circumstances of communication, there can be no breach of confidence in revealing to others something which is already common knowledge. But this must not be taken too far. Something that has been constructed solely from materials in the public domain may possess the necessary quality of confidentiality: for something new and confidential may have been brought into being by the application of the skill and ingenuity of the human brain . . Novelty depends on the thing itself, and not upon the quality of its constituent parts . . whether it is described as originality or novelty or ingenuity or otherwise, I think there must be some product of the human brain which suffices to confer a confidential nature upon the information.
The second requirement is that the information must have been communicated in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence. However secret and confidential the information, there can be no binding obligation of confidence if that information is blurted out in public or is communicated in other circumstances which negative any duty of holding it confidential. From the authorities cited to me, I have not been able to derive any very precise idea of what test is to be applied in determining whether the circumstances import an obligation of confidence. In the Argyll case, Ungoed-Thomas, J. concluded his discussion of the circumstances in which the publication of marital communications should be restrained as being confidential by saying ‘If this was a well-developed jurisdiction doubtless there would be guides and tests to aid in exercising it’. In the absence of such guides or tests he then in effect concluded that part of the communications there in question would on any reasonable test emerge as confidential. It may be that that hard-worked creature, the reasonable man, may be pressed into service once more; for I do not see why he should not labour in equity as well as at law. It seems to me that if the circumstances are such that any reasonable man standing in the shoes of the recipient of the information would have realised that upon reasonable grounds the information was being given to him in confidence, then this should suffice to impose upon him the equitable obligation of confidence. In particular, where information of commercial or industrial value is given on a business-like basis and with some avowed common object in mind, such as a joint venture or the manufacture of articles by one party for the other, I would regard the recipient as carrying a heavy burden if he seeks to repel a contention that he was bound by an obligation of confidence: see the Saltman case . . On that footing, for reasons that will appear, I do not think I need explore this head further. I merely add that I doubt whether equity would intervene unless the circumstances are of sufficient gravity; equity ought not to be invoked merely to protect trivial tittle-tattle, however confidential.
Thirdly, there must be an unauthorised use of the information to the detriment of the person communicating it. Some of the statements of principle in the cases omit any mention of detriment; others include it. At first sight, it seems that detriment ought to be present if equity is to be induced to intervene; but I can conceive of cases where a plaintiff might have substantial motives for seeking the aid of equity and yet suffer nothing which could fairly be called detriment to him, as when the confidential information shows him in a favourable light but gravely injures some relation or friend of his whom he wishes to protect. The point does not arise for decision in this case, for detriment to the plaintiff plainly exists. I need therefore say no more than that although for the purposes of this case I have stated the proposition in the stricter form, I wish to keep open the possibility of the true proposition being that in the wider firm."

Since 9 June 2018 European Union trade secrecy law has been harmonized by Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (Text with EEA relevance) OJ L 157, 15.6.2016, p. 1–18 which I discussed in The Trade Secrets Directive on 7 July 2016 NIPC Law.  It would appear from The Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc.) Regulations 2018 which implemented the Directive into the laws of the United Kingdom that the Directive did not repeal the old judge-made law but provided trade secret owners with new rights and remedies (see Jane Lambert Transposing the Trade Secrets Directive into English Law: The Trade Secrets (Enforcement etc) Regulations 6 June 2019 NIPC Law).

For the rest of my talk, I discussed confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements which is one of the "circumstances importing an obligation of confidence" that Mr Justice Megarry is likely to have had in mind in Coco v Clark.  Those agreements are easy enough to draft but much less easy to enforce in infringement proceedings.  Defendants tend to argue that the agreement was not intended to cover the information in question, that it was not really confidential or that the claimant is not entitled to rely on it for some other reason.  In There's more to the Law of Confidence than NDAs 14 Oct 2019 NIPC Inventors Club, I wrote:
"If you want to rely on the law of confidence, print a form in duplicate on no carbon required paper with boxes for:
  • The name and full postal address, job title, email, telephone and other contact details of the confidante and those of his or her employer if they are different.
  • Identify the information to be delivered and the way in which it is to be passed (that is to say, private conversation, whether it is is a document and if so what it contains).
  • An acknowledgement that the information has been disclosed in confidence.
  • A finite period in which the confidante can contentod that the information is not confidential at all and a rapid and cost-effective way of resolving such contentions such as expert determination or expedited arbitration.
  • The use to which the information may be put.
  • A deadline for the return of confidential documents and may have been made.
  • Submission to the jurisdiction of the English courts.
Every single confidential conversation and the delivery of every single document should be recorded and logged separately. If any of the conditions is breached, the confider should call the confidante at once. If it is still not put right the confider should consider legal action including possibly an interim injunction."
Trade secrets have a number of advantages over patents.  The right to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure arises automatically.  It costs nothing.  There is no need for registration. Theoretically, it can last for ever and some trade secrets like the recipes for Chartreuse or Coca Cola have been kept secret for centuries in the case of the liqueur and well over 100 years in the case of the fizzy drink. On the other hand, if a competitor discovers the secret through his own R & D or even by reverse engineering there is nothing to stop him from using it.  A patent, on the other hand, could stop such a competitor in his tracks if he makes or does something that is caught by one or more of the claims.

My next visit to the Enterprise Hub is scheduled for the end of April to join in the celebrations for World Intellectual Property Day. The theme this year is "Invest for a Green Future" which could not be more appropriate for the Menai Science Park. That has been the science park's theme from the day it opened on St David's Day 2018. 

While taking a break from my one-to-one's, Pryderi ap Rhisiart, M-SParc's managing director presented me with an ambassador's badge.  One of the reasons why M-SParc is so important is that it is helping to reverse a trend of relative economic decline and depopulation which has drained Northwest Wales of its best and brightest.  The businesses that are establishing themselves at M-SParc and other locations in the Menai area are attracting them back as well as highly skilled individuals from the rest of the world. I sense a real buzz whenever I step into the science park's atrium. For that reason, I shall wear my M-SParc badge with pride.

Much of the credit for the success of yesterday's meeting is due to Emily Roberts who runs the Enterprise Hub. She advertises the meetings and sets up the PowerPoint and refreshments.  I am very grateful to her for her work.

If anyone wants to discuss this article call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Building a Better Mousetrap - Visit to M-SParc on 27 Jan

Jane Lambert

"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door".  That saying is attributed mistakenly to Ralph Waldo Emerson; It is a misquotation. According to Wikipedia Build a Better Mousetrap etcEmerson's actual words were:
"If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."
Nevertheless, the saying appears to have been taken seriously for the same article adds:
"The phrase has turned into a metaphor about the power of innovation and is frequently taken literally, with more than 4,400 patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for new mousetraps, with thousands more unsuccessful applicants, making them the "most frequently invented device in U.S. history."
There seems to be some truth in that.  There is a YouTube channel in the USA called Mousetrap Monday with 1.23 million subscribers that tests different types of mousetrap.

I am not sure what could count as a "better mousetrap" because every type of rodent control seems to inflict suffering.  According to the RSPCA Living with Rats and Mice, spring traps do not always kill outright, poison induces haemorrhaging, beasts caught in glue traps have been known to tear off their fur or even bite through their limbs in futile efforts to break free and even live traps can be cruel because released rodents have a very low survival rate. Many starve or freeze to death because they cannot find food or shelter in a new environment or they fall prey to other animals including other members of their species.  Rats and mice may be dangerous, destructive and indeed disgusting creatures that have to be controlled by lethal measures, but that is no excuse for inflicting more pain on those beings than is absolutely necessary.

If despite everything that I have just said, you have somehow invented a better mousetrap or, indeed, some other new product or process it is imperative that you keep your trap shut (no pun intended) until you are ready to commercialize it.  The reason for secrecy is that patents are granted only for inventions that are new. If you tell everybody how to make or use the invention then it is no longer new,  is it?  You may need to disclose your invention to a potential collaborator or investor but you must be careful to do that only in confidence and that's where I can help you.  On Monday, 27 Jan 2020 at 12:00 I shall be talking about trade secrets. confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements at the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) on Anglesey and you can find out all you need to know about that topic by registering for the event through Eventbrite.

As usual, I shall stay at the science park until 17:00 to discuss any issues that tenants of the science park or other local businesses may have.  If anybody wants to book a slot, call 020 7404 5252 and ask any of the clerks for an appointment.   Alternatively, just fill in the "Initial Advice and Signposting" form below.

My visit takes off immediately after Burns Night which remembers one of the world's greatest poets.  Among his most popular poems is "To a Mouse".  Having watched some of the videos on Mousetrap Monday I can't help thinking of the second verse of that poem:
"I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An’ fellow-mortal!"
Should any of my readers find themselves in  Southwest Scotland, I strongly recommend a visit to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.  One of my favourite parts of the museum is the Poet's Path that contains a statue of the ‘Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,"  In the photo above there is a picture of my shaking paws hands with it.  Not so "wee" this particular "beastie," I think you'll agree.  Burns also wrote "Auld lang syne" and although we are well into January this is my first opportunity to wish my readers a Happy New Year or. if they prefer,  Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Trade Secrets and Non-Disclosure Agreements

The Atrium at M-SParc

Jane Lambert

On my last visit to the Menai Science Park (M-SParc), last month, I spoke about IP Database Searches and Understanding Specifications. I had a good audience and I think it shows that there is a demand for short talks on specific subjects, When I return to Anglesey at the end of next month, I propose to talk about trade secrets and non-disclosure agreements.

Why that topic?  Well, every business has trade secrets and for some companies such as Coca Cola, Microsoft and the distillers of Chartreuse a trade secret may be the most valuable intellectual asset that they own.  It can last a lot longer than a patent and can provide much better protection just so long as secrecy can be maintained.  Also, as patents are granted only for inventions that are new, every patentable invention starts off life as a trade secret,  If you want to discuss your invention with a consultant or a customer before you apply for a patent you had better make sure he or she signs a confidentiality agreement before you disclose any secret technical or commercial information to him or her.

The law relating to trade secrecy has recently changed across Europe with the coming into force of the Trade Secrets Directive last year.  Non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses in consultancy, employment, joint venture, licensing and other commercial agreements have to be reassessed in the light of that Directive and the implementing regulations (see The Trade Secrets Directive 7 July 2016 NIPC Law and Transposing the Trade Secrets Directive into English Law: Confidentiality Agreements 30 Nov 2019 NIPC Law). So, too, must  companies' measures for keeping their sensitive technical and commercial information secret.  I shall also be talking about remedies if secret information is disclosed or used improperly.

This topic should be useful for each and every business in North West Wales from the very smallest seaside café with a recipe for scrumptious bara brith to the increasing number of knowledge-based businesses with winning technologies in life sciences or computation.  As with my previous visits, I will hold pro bono one to ones after the talk until the science park closes.

Shortly, Pryderi will give me a date for the talk and Emily will post a notice on Eventbrite inviting registrations. if in the meantime anybody in Northwest Wales (or anywhere else for that matter) wants to discuss this topic or any other IP issue, he or she should call me on +44 (0)202 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Welsh IP Cases - Happy Camper Productions Ltd. v BBC

Author Resprinter123
Licence CC BY 3.0 
Source Wikipedia BBC Cymru Wales

Jane Lambert

Chancery Division (HH Judge Keyser QC) Happy Camper Productions Ltd v British Broadcasting Corporation  [2019] EWHC 558 (Ch) (11 Feb  2019)

I am grateful to Mr Iain Connor of Pinsent Masons for bringing this case to my attention in his presentation to the International Copyright Law Conference entitled Key Case Law Update, Critical Developments in  2019 on 3 Dec 2019.

This was an application for an interim injunction to restrain the BBC from broadcasting the first episode of Pitching In.  It was a drama about the owner of a caravan park in North Wales.  The applicant alleged that it infringed copyright in the script for a TV programme (or alternatively a film based on the script) about the owners of a holiday camp in West Wales that had been written by the directors of the claimant production company.  The application was made the day before Pitching In was due to be broadcast.  Cancelling the transmission could have cost the BBC £130,000 in rescheduling costs and a great deal more in reputational damage.

An injunction is an order of the court to do or refrain from doing something.  In Scotland, such an order is known as an interdict.  In the United Kingdom, disobeying an injunction or interdict is a contempt of court which can be punished by a fine or imprisonment.  In Wales and England, an injunction can be awarded after a trial when the parties' rights and obligations have been determined to prevent further infringement of the successful party's rights. That is known as a "final injunction".  But an injunction can also be granted at the beginning of the court proceedings before those rights and obligations have been determined to prevent irreparable harm to one or more parties in the period between the issue of proceedings and the trial of the action.  Injunctions of that kind are known as "interim injunctions."

As the court does not know for sure how an action will end, an applications judge in Wales or England will grant an interim injunction only if he or she is satisfied that the applicant could win and that the respondent could not compensate the applicant adequately by paying damages.  That may be for many reasons.  Possibly the respondent would not have the means to pay any damages.  Alternatively, it may be impossible to assess the full extent of the loss because records might not be kept or evidence would be missing.   There are also some kinds of loss for which no amount of money would be adequate recompense.

If damages will not be an adequate remedy for the applicant, the court will consider the position of the respondent if it grants an injunction and the order turns out not to have been justified. In most cases, the respondent would simply be delayed for the period between the start of the proceedings and their resolution which can be compensated by the applicant.   In nearly every case an applicant will be required to promise to pay damages to the respondent if the injunction turns out not to have been justified.  That promise is known as a "cross-undertaking in damages,"  In those circumstances, the court has to consider whether the applicant could afford to pay such damages if ordered to do so and whether those damages would be adequate compensation for the respondent.  All of those factors were considered by the House of Lords in American Cyanamid Co. v Ethicon Ltd   [1977] FSR 593, [1975] 1 All ER 504, [1975] 2 WLR 316, [1975] UKHL 1, [1975] AC 396.

His Honour Judge Keyser QC, who heard Happy Camper Productions Ltd.'s application against the BBC, referred to that case at paragraph [17] of his judgment (see  Happy Camper Productions Ltd v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [2019] EWHC 558 (Ch) (11 Feb 2019)).  He said:
"The test to be applied is accordingly the familiar test in American Cyanamid Co (No 1) v Ethicon Ltd [1975] AC 396. In very broad terms, the purpose of the exercise, without adjudicating on the case, is to seek to ensure that if one makes a mistake it is the least bad mistake one can make, in this sense: one is concerned with the question, Is it worse to have granted an injunction on an interim basis if ultimately it should be found that there is no entitlement to an injunction, or to have refused an injunction if ultimately it should be found that there is an entitlement to an injunction? That is the broad idea behind the test."
His Honour appears to have concluded that the "least bad mistake" would be to refuse Happy Camper Production's request for an interim injunction and his reasons were as follows.

First, he had serious doubts as to whether the claimant could win.  The production company was formed after the script for the claimant's show had been written which meant that the authors did not write it in the course of their employment and there was no evidence that any copyrights had been assigned to it.  More seriously there was not much evidence of copying.  The producer of the BBC's programme had been given a copy of the claimant's script but there was little evidence that she had actually read it. There was even less that she, the BBC or its programme makers had copied it.  The setting of both works in a caravan park in Wales was the main common feature but the plots and characters were very different.  Moreover, although the learned judge did not mention these cases, it is not easy to protect the format of a TV show (see  Green v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand [1989] UKPC 26 (18 July 1989), Fraser v Thames Television [1984] QB 44 and Banner Universal Motion Pictures Ltd v Endemol Shine Group Ltd and another [2017] EWHC 2600 (Ch) (19 Oct 2017)).

Secondly, Judge Keyser thought that the claimant could be compensated adequately by an award of damages were its directors to prevail. Those authors had submitted their manuscript to the BBC in the hope of licensing it.  Am award of damages could be based on the licence fee that would have been negotiated by the parties had the script been accepted.

Thirdly, pulling the programme the day before its first transmission of Pitching In would have been very damaging to the BBC and there was a serious question mark as to whether the claimant could even meet the immediate cost of rescheduling its programmes.  Injunctions are an equitable remedy and there is a maxim that delay defeats equity.  The claimant knew about the corporation's plans to broadcast Pitching In for 6 months but had held back until the very last moment before launching this application. As the judge remarked, that was "dreadfully late".

Anyone wishing to discuss this article, copyright or interim injunctions generally may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

IP Database Searches and Understanding Specifications

I should like to thank Emily Roberts and her colleagues at M-SParc (the Menai Science Park) for organizing an excellent seminar yesterday. We had so many attendees that we had to move to a bigger conference room.  It was particularly good to see graduate students and undergraduates from Bangor Law School in the audience. After the talk, I held a pro bono clinic with representatives of 5 local companies.  We have laid the foundations for a very successful support network for the new knowledge-based enterprises located in the science park and elsewhere in Northwest Wales.

In yesterday's presentation, I discussed the reasons for searching IP databases. Obviously, if you want to register a patent or design you need to know the prior art.  Similarly, if you want to register a trade mark, you need to be aware of the same or similar signs for the same or similar goods or services. However, that is not the only or possibly even the main reason for searching patent, design or trade mark databases. There is an enormous volume of technical and commercial information in those records and it is available to anyone with access to the internet absolutely free.

I introduced my audience to three patent databases that I use frequently:
  • The IPO's Ipsum service if you want lots of information about the prosecution of a patent application which is not available anywhere else;
  • Espacenet which is very easy to search; and
  • Google Patents which has records from many patent offices all in one place.
After regaling the attendees with stories of Arthur Pedrick and his wacky inventions (something they really ought to teach in law school) we looked up Ginger's cat flap (GB1426698) and its wider embodiments and the cart before the horse (GB1128974A). For trade marks, we explored the IPO's service looking up the UK's first registration, namely the Bass triangle for pale ale. For designs, I recommended DesignView.

I pointed out that searches that business people and students can make are nothing like as extensive as searches carried out by attorneys and specialist search services and anybody seeking patent, design or trade mark registration should not dispense with their professional services.

We then discussed the elements of a patent specification, namely the abstract, description, drawings and claims and I stressed the importance of claims.  I introduced the audience to the Protocol on art 69 EPC and we considered the consequences of the new art 2.  I mentioned the Supreme Court's judgment in Eli Lilly v Actavis and we considered the three reformulated Improver questions by reference to whether the substitution of a carrot hanging from a string in front of the horse's nose was an equivalent to the food tray would fall within claim 1 in the cart before the horse invention.

After I finished my clinic I drove across the Britannia Bridge to Bangor to attend a splendid triple bill by Ballet Cymru at the Pontio Centre.  Members of the company had introduced ballet to the students of a local primary school who presented an impressive curtain-raiser in the theatre's foyer.  Alex Hallas, who tutored the children, told me that many including several boys had been inspired to take up ballet seriously.  Throughout my life, I have found ballet to be an excellent mental as well as physical exercise. Probably I could not do my job well without it.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of the topics mentioned in it should call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Patent, Design and Trade Mark Filings in Wales

GB189420431 (A)

Jane Lambert

Wales can claim to have invented one of the world's first flying machines years before the Wright Brothers.  Wiliam Frost of Saundersfoot filed an application for a patent for the following invention on 25 Oct 1894:
"The flying machine is propelled into the air by two reversible fans revolving horizontally. When sufficient height is gained, wings are spread and tilted by, means of a lever, causing the machine to float onward and downward. When low enough the lever is reversed causing it to rise upward & onward. When required to stop it the wings are tilted so as to hold against the wind or air and lowered by the reversible fans. The steering is done by a helm. fitted to front of machine."
Nowadays, aerospace is an important sector of the Welsh economy - one of several that are developing impressive new products and processes that require legal protection.

According to the Intellectual Property Office's Facts and Figures 2018, some 351 patent applications were filed from Wales in 2018 which was 2.7% of the UK total placing Wales 10th in the UK's nations and regions behind London with 2,625, Southeast England (1,944), Eastern England (1,811), Southwest England (1,312), the West Midlands (977), Northwest England (956), Scotland (756), Yorkshire and the Humber (693) and the East Midlands (486). However, Wales was ahead of Northeast England (279) and Northern Ireland (143).  That was 8% fewer than the number of applications made the previous year which was more than the UK trend that was down from 13,286 to 12,843. On the other hand, Wales bucked the trend in the number of grants which was 114 in 2018 - up from 109 in 2017.  The number of grants for the UK was 3,001 in 2018 down from 3,260 the year before.

There was an increase in the number of trade mark registration applications from Wales (1,809 in 2018 up from 1,700 in 2017) which was in line with the UK as a whole (66,875 in 2018 and 63,097 in 2017).  As in patents, Wales trailed all other nations and regions except Northeast England and Northern Ireland in trade mark applications.  There was also an increase in the number of grants to applicants in Wales (from 2,274 in 2017 to 3,159 in 2018) in line the rest of the UK (113,334 in 2017 to 122,165 in 2018).

Wales was ahead of the East Midlands, Northeast England, Northern Ireland and Scotland in the number of design registration applications in 2018 (1,965 in 2018 compared to 634 in 2017). That was also roughly in line with the UK as a whole which made 14,797 applications in 2017 and 20,984 in 2018.  There was also a similar increase in the number of grants up from 541 in 2017 to 939 in 2018.

Tomorrow I shall be speaking to Welsh entrepreneurs, inventors and creatives at the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) about patent, trade mark and design searches and how to read patents between 13:30 and 14:30.  We have had such a brig response that we have had to move the meeting from the boardroom to the training room but I am sure we could still take in a few more.  This link will take you to the Eventbrite page where you can register for the talk.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or IP generally may call me on 020 7404 5252 during normal office hours or send me a message through my contact page.