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Yesterday I attended a webinar given by the Intellectual Property Office to Big Ideas Wales entitled Understanding IP. It consisted of a presentation given by Nich Chard, one of the business engagement officers at the Intellectual Property Office and a Q&A at which Nick and Emma Richards, Business outreach manager at the Office, answered questions from members of the audience. It was advertised to begin at 17:30 and end at 18:00 but there were so many questions that it continued until 18:15. According to Nick, there were about 20 individuals on the call including him and Emma.
I attended the webinar because I have given a lot of talks on IP and held a lot of clinics across Wales mainly at the Menai Science Park on Anglesey but also at Parc Menai near Bangor, Aberystwyth University, the Beacon Centre at Llanelli and Glyndwr University at Wrexham. I do that work because IP is essential to securing investment in branding, design, technology and creativity. Such specialist advisory services as Wales enjoys are concentrated around Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. If Wales is to attract investment to establish new knowledge-based industries to reverse the decline of so many of its industries and depopulation of its rural communities that have occurred during my lifetime it must protect such intellectual assets.
On its "About" page, Business Wales states that it "is here to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in Wales and encourage young people under 25 to develop enterprise skills whatever the career choice." its website provides an introduction to business for younger audiences and makes the right links to business.wales.gov.uk to help build knowledge of business; with tools, information and help for those who want to start a business. Big Ideas Wales endeavours to help those under 25:
- "Get some inspiration about what you might want to do in the future
- Find out a what it’s like to start your own business
- Hear from other entrepreneurs in Wales (who share their stories and top tips!)
- Discover more about yourself with useful guides and self assessments
- Help you generate ideas and think them through
- Get involved in enterprise and take advantage of opportunities and workshops
- Learn about key business topics and links to improve your knowledge
- Find out what’s happening in your college or university and how to get involved!
- Find out what “business support” is all about and who might help
- Join like minded young people on our social media channels Facebook,Twitter and Instagram."
There is certainly a fair amount of information on the Big Ideas site including some guidance on intellectual property on "How to pick a business idea page".
Nick's presentation covered trade marks, copyrights, design registration, patents and confident all within half an hour. Clearly, he couldn't cover everything in that time and he did very well to cover as much as he did. While he was talking members of the audience were asking questions in the chat channel which Emma did her best to answer. On certain aspects of trade mark law, Nick went into quite a lot of detail. However, one matter that could have been emphasized is that with a few exceptions IP rights have to be enforced by the owner in the civil courts and that can be both risky and expensive. Whenever I give a similar talk I stress the need for adequate funding of enforcement which usually means specialist IP insurance since most legal indemnity policies specifically exclude IP.
Although they are concentrated in the Southeast corner of Wales, the country has some valuable resources. In addition to the Intellectual Property Office at Newport and the Business and Property Courts in Cardiff, there is Inngot IP at Swansea which superseded IP Wales, one of the most useful websites on IP in the UK. Both initiatives were launched when the present Principal of Bangor University held the Hodge chair of law at Swansea.
Since it opened in 2018, the Menai Science Park has hosted a lot of talks and other events on IP. It has reached out to neighbouring centres of excellence such as Bangor Law School and the Pontio Centre. It has offered the most ambitious contribution from Wales to World Intellectual Property Day. It plans the best ever webinar on "IP for Funding and Growth" between 12:30 and 14:00 on World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2021 with speakers from the Intellectual Property Office, the Welsh Government, Inngot, BIC Innovation, Knox Commercial Solicitors and IP Tax Solutions. It hopes to follow that up with another seminar later in the year - with any luck in its boardroom or training room - on "IP for Scale-Up" with speakers from the nearest business angels networks and private equity investors.
Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of the topics mentioned should contact me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.