Sunday 19 April 2020

Online Support for Businesses in Wales

Source WIPO

Jane Lambert

As promised in  Responding to COVID-19. What Makers Need to Know about IP. Webinar 15 April at 17:30, I presented my talk to the members of Ffiws over Zoom. It was the first time I had hosted and delivered a talk over Zoom so I was a little apprehensive.  Most of the audience came from North Wales but we also welcomed Kate Hammer from London who runs a project called Shield to deliver PPE to front line workers. There were no technical glitches and we covered the ground. Readers can download my slides from Linkedin Slideshare.

On Tuesday 21 April at 14:00, I shall give a free 90-minute talk on patents.  The talk will cover:
  • What is a patent?
  • The development of patent law from the Statute of Monopolies to the European Patent Convention and the Patents Act 1977;
  • Why governments grant patents: the inventor's bargain with the public;
  • Institutions: The Intellectual Property Office, the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization;
  • Patentable inventions: novelty, inventive step, utility and excluded matter;
  • How to apply for a patent;
  • Specification;
  • Claims and how to interpret them;
  • Enforcement: the Patents Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, Examiners' opinions;
  • Revocation: anticipation, obviousness, insufficiency and added matter;
  • Threats actions;
  • Employees' inventions;
  • Licensing;
  • Supplementary protection certificates; and
  • Alternatives to patenting.
Further details are available in IP Training - Patents 101 Tuesday, 21 April 2020 14:00Register for the talk through Eventbrite.

Next Sunday is World Intellectual Property Day and the M-SParc (the Menai Science Park) will celebrate it with a special lunchtime seminar on green innovation,  We shall discuss two topics, WIPO Green and the Green Channel, We shall try to follow the programme we had announced in
Anglesey to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day with Talks on Protecting and Exploiting Green Innovation at M-SParc on 5 March 2020. I shall say a few words about WIPO Green and the opportunities it offers to businesses in Wales. I shall be followed by Rob Elias of Beacon Biorefining  on the services that his company offers to such businesses. He will be followed by Andrea Knox of Knox Commercial on consultancy joint venture and other contracts. I shall round off with a discussion of the Green Channel at the UK Intellectual Property Office and similar arrangements in other patent offices.  You can register for the event here

M-SParc received a request in February for a discussion on open source software and hardware licensing. It had originally planned a seminar on the topic in Conwy but that is no longer possible in view of the social distancing and movement restrictions.  Plans are in hand for an online seminar at which Carwyn Edwards and I have agreed to speak. Further plans will be announced shortly.

It is not possible for me to hold person to person IP clinics at M-SParc during the COVID-19 emergency but there is nothing to stop my holding them online.  Should any business in Wales require advice or assistance on IP law during this period it should complete the form below. I may not know the answer to every question but I probably know someone who does.  If a client needs a patent attorney I can direct him to her to Sean Thomas or show the client how to use the CIPA database if he or she wants a wider choice. I can do the same for clients who want advice on trade mark registration, company and commercial law, tax and product development.  Anyone seeking such help should fill in the form below.

Monday 13 April 2020

Responding to COVID-19. What Makers Need to Know about IP. Webinar 15 April at 17:30

© 2018 Jane Lambert: All eights reserved

Jane Lambert

All over the United Kingdom, makers have responded magnificently to appeals for personal protection equipment and other devices by hospitals, care homes, general medical practitioners and essential workers in their localities and beyond.

A typical example is the efforts by businesses and individuals on Anglesey organized by M-SParc (the Menai Science Park) to make and distribute masks and shields to local health and social care workers (see PPE Masks/Shields on GoFundMe). Yesterday, I learned of a nationwide campaign called Shield to coordinate such efforts.

I also learned of a government-backed initiative for InnovateUK to invest £20 million in innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath (see InnovateUK to fund Innovative Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic 12 April 2020 NIPC Inventors Club).

Investment on that kind of scale needs legal protection. While the priority must be to save lives and minimize infection, it is in the interests of care providers and patients that the rights of solution providers are recognized and respected.   As I said in IP Services During the Emergency 23 March 2020 NIPC Inventors Club, the laws that protect those rights known collectively as "intellectual property" have never been more important than they are now.

So.  What are those rights?

Well, they include monopolies of the manufacture, importation, holding, marketing or distribution of products that are new, inventive and useful that do not fall within a number of statutory exclusions. These are known as patents and they can last up to 20 years.  They cost several thousand pounds to obtain and even more to maintain and enforce.

A right that arises automatically in the UK is the right to prevent others from reproducing an original product design.  That is called unregistered design right which essentially protects the shape or configuration of an article. It can last up to 10 years from the end of the year it is made available to the public though in the last 5 years anybody including an infringer can apply for a licence to make and distribute it as of right. 

Unregistered design right is not to be confused with registered designs or unregistered Community designs which protect the appearance of products.   Designs that are new and have individual character can be registered at the Intellectual Property Office for five renewable terms of 5 years each. Registration confers a monopoly of the manufacture, importation, stocking, marketing or sale of products that incorporate the design.  Designs that could have been registered with the Intellectual Property Office as registered designs are protected from copying for up to 3 years throughout the EU and the UK for the transitional period as unregistered Community designs.

Software which could include programs for 3D printers and other digital fabrication technologies are literary works which may be protected from copying by copyright in the UK and most other countries for the life of the author plus 70 years.  The right arises automatically as soon as the work is written down or otherwise recorded.   Copyright cannot subsist in ideas as such.  Only in the expression of ideas.

If anybody wants to learn more, I shall discuss these topics in a free webinar for makers on Wednesday 15 April 2020 at 17:30.  If you want to sign up, please register here.