Saturday 12 September 2020

Ecosystem2 - Unleashing Potential


Jane Lambert

This is a photo that I took from the car park of a science park.  It was not in Silicon Valley though there are plenty of hills and skies like those in the photo in Northern California.  Nor was it CERN though there are similar views of the Jura. The picture was taken just outside Gaerwen in Northwest Wales where the Menai Science Park or M-SParc is located. Northwest Wales may not have the weather of California or Geneva but it has a good research university, a great arts and innovation centre and the most appealing combination of coastal, mountain and pastoral countryside that I know. 

Last Tuesday, I was one of 32 speakers who participated in M-SParc's Ecosystem2.  This was a 2 hour and 29 minute webinar in which each contributor was allotted 3 minutes to talk about him or herself, his or her business and contribution to M-SParc. There were speakers from the Welsh Government, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the local authorities, Bangor University, Menter Môn, Hwb Menter, KTN/InnovateUK, funding agencies, angel networks, clearing banks and professional service providers such as me.  The webinar has been recorded and has been posted to M-SParc's Facebook page.  As you will see from the comments, a lot of people enjoyed it.  I think it is well worth watching.  I have encouraged some of the other organizations I support to consider their own webinars on similar lines.

I enjoyed all the presentations but the one which made me chuckle the most was Andrea Knox's.  Andrea is a commercial solicitor and an insolvency practitioner with premises in the science park as well as Colwyn Bay. In her talk she contrasted orderly liquidation represented by a suave, handsome young fellow with a disorderly one represented by a photo of a particularly dishevelled Mr Boris Johnson.

When it came to my turn I explained what I do for a living and how members of my branch of the legal profession support patent and trade mark attorneys and solicitors in a way that is analogous to the support a specialist surgeon or physician offers a GP in medicine.  We help them by advising on difficult points of law, drafting complex legal instruments for use in business as well as litigation and by representing them in the courts, tribunals and negotiations.  I do two things for M-SParc.  I help to organize and participate in events like Wales's only celebrations of the World Intellectual Property Organization's World Intellectual Property Day in 2019 and 2020, a seminar on patent searching and interpretation which was attended by IP students from Bangor Law School and a workshop on non-disclosure agreements in the light of the new trade secrets directive. I have also held an online workshop with FFIWS  and spoken at another with the Enterprise Hub on understanding IP. I hold regular pro bono IP clinics, the most recent one being on Monday.

I have one remaining ambition for M-SParc and that is to provide local infrastructure for inventors and entrepreneurs.  There are many talented professionals on M-SParc such as Huw Watkins of BIC Innovation and Steve Livingston of IP Tax Solutions but the nearest patent and trade mark attorneys are over 50 miles away.  I envisage a role for the IP graduate students at Bangor Law School in providing basic advice and signposting businesses to patent attorneys and other professionals.  I should also like to see an inventors club with regular talks from angels, bankers,, business advisors, patent and trade mark attorneys, product design engineers, venture capitalists and other professionals.

I delivered 85 seconds of my 3-minute talk in Welsh. It was very basic Welsh because I have not been learning it very long.   I must have made all sorts of grammatical and pronunciation errors although every Welsh speaker who heard me has been sufficiently polite not to point them out to me.  I have been asked whether I shall carry on learning Welsh now that I have given my talk and the answer is yes.  I have already benefited a lot from studying Welsh and I discover something of interest every day.  That is more than enough incentive to learn more.

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

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