Monday 19 December 2022

New Year, New Beginnings

Fireworks at Midnight on New Year's Day
Author Clarence Ji Licence CC BY 2.0  Source Wikimedia Commons

 

















The New Year is an opportunity for the formation of new businesses, the launch of new products and services, the opening of new business premises and all sorts of other new business initiatives.   There will be a business plan for most of those initiatives but many of those business plans will lack an important component.

That missing component will be intellectual property and the reason why it is important is that it protects your investment in branding, design, technology and creativity.  Without such protection, it will be so much easier for competitors who have not spent time and money on research, development or marketing to filch your business.

The way to prevent that from happening is to identify the advantages that attract customers to your business. It may be your reputation in the marketplace, the look of your products or the way they work or are made.  You may need an IP audit to identify those advantages (see How to use an IP Audit 19 Jan 2022 NIPC News).  Once you have identified what attracts customers to your business you must choose the optimum protection.   That is not necessarily the most expensive.  A patent will give you extensive protection for up to 20 years but if the invention is likely to become obsolete in a year or two you may prefer to rely on trade secrecy or unregistered design right.

Whatever intellectual property right you choose to protect your asset you must be prepared to pursue infringers and defend challenges to your rights. Infringement, invalidity and revocation proceedings take place in the High Court.   Unless the claim is for £10,000 or less and does not involve patents, registered designs, semiconductor topographies or plant varieties it must be brought in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court where recoverable costs are limited to £80,000 or the Patents Court or Intellectual Property list where such costs are unlimited.   The only way that most small businesses can afford such costs is by taking our specialist IP insurance (see the IPO's Guidance on IP Insurance on the government website).

Unless you are confident that you can raise several hundred thousand pounds at short notice, IP insurance is not a nice-to-have extra but as much a necessity as your staff, plant and premises.   Just as you make provision for recruitment, rent and equipment leases or acquisition in your business plan you must do the same for your IP rights and their legal protection and enforcement.   In an extreme case, failure to do so could threaten the existence of your company.

If you are about to undertake a new venture in the New Year I wish you every success.  If you have questions or concerns feel free to contact me at 020 7404 5252 during normal business hours.  Alternatively, you can send me a message through my contact form at any time. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Wales Enterprise Day 2022: Intellectual Property Rights outside the UK


 







Jane Lambert

Wales Enterprise Day celebrates business expansion.  Last year's theme was start-ups becoming scale-ups.  This year's is about obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights abroad.  Businesses that export, license, manufacture or market their goods and services abroad need to make sure that their brands, designs, technology and creativity are protected outside the United Kingdom and that they have the means to enforce such protection in foreign courts and tribunals.

I discussed those topics in Protecting Intellectual Assets Abroad on 6 Oct 2022 in IP after Brexit and in Protecting your Brands, Designs and Technology Abroad on 21 Oct 2022 in this publication. Essentially a business should seek legal protection for those assets in its markets and in the jurisdictions in which its actual or potential competitors are to be found.  That is where a lot of mistakes are made and money is wasted.   For instance, many SMEs arrange for their product to be manufactured in China or some other country for distribution in the UK without first obtaining industrial design, patent or trade mark protection in that country, They then wonder why lookalikes flood their export and sometimes even their home markets.

To help businesses to avoid those mistakes I shall chair a hybrid in-person and online seminar on Protecting your Brands, Designs, Technology and Creativity at the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) on 18 November 2022 between 12:15 and 14:00.   To protect those assets businesses need to put the following arrangements into place:

  • Legal protection in the form of patents, copyrights, trade marks, registered designs and other intellectual property rights in each of their foreign markets and the countries where their competitors are to be found;
  • Local teams of lawyers and patent and trade mark attorneys to enforce such protection; and
  • Adequate funding for enforcing such protection.
M-SParc has gathered experts in each of those fields to speak on those topics.

The most important markets are the European Union, the United States and China.  Sean Thomas of Thomas Harrison IP will explain how to apply for patents whether directly or through the European Patent Convention or the Patent Cooperation Treaty.   He will discuss trade mark registration through the Madrid Protocol and design registrations through the Hague Agreement.  He will address such issues as how much a typical application will cost and how long it will take.  He has a lot of experience in registering and enforcing IP rights in China and the United States and will pass on some valuable tips.

When the UK was in the EU, the judgments of its courts could be enforced throughout the Union, EU trade marks and registered Community designs applied to the UK and they did to the other member states and London was to host one of the Central Divisions of the Unified Patent Court.  All that ended at 23:00 on 31 Dec 2020 when the implementation period provided by the EU withdrawal agreement expired.  Businesses in the UK that hold EU trade marks, registered Community designs or unitary patents have to bring proceedings in an EU member state.

Happily, a short ferry trip from Hollyhead lies an English-speaking common-law country that remains within the European Union,  Its courts can try EU trade mark, registered Community design and plant variety disputes.  Its counsel and solicitors can appear before the Unified Patent Court.  The Brussels Regulation continues to apply to the Irish Republic.

I have asked my friend and colleague James Bridgeman SC to speak on how the Irish legal profession can help UK businesses enforce their intellectual property rights.  James holds an appointment that is equivalent to King's Counsel in the United Kingdom.  He appeared in one of the leading cases on rights in performances before the Court of Justice of the European Union.  Before he was called to the Bar he practised as a trade mark attorney.   As a Past-President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, he can suggest strategies in which the rights of British businesses can be enforced through international arbitration.

International IP litigation does not come cheap but, fortunately, it is possible to obtain insurance against such expenses.   M-SParc will welcome back Ian Wishart a director of Sybaris Special Risks whose company specializes in IP insurance. He has already spoken at M-SParc on litigation insurance for the UK.   On Friday he will discuss policies for the EU, USA, China and elsewhere,  In countries such as the USA where contingency fees are possible litigation funding is an alternative to IP insurance.   Sybaris talks to investors in litigation funding.  If there is time, Ian will say a few words about that market,

This will be a fascinating session.   Readers can register through this link.  Anyone wishing to discuss this topic can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

Friday 11 November 2022

North Wales Creative meets Creative Wales

 
Author Tanya Dedyukhina Licence  CC BY 3.0  Source Wikimedia Commons

 


















On 9 Nov 2022, I attended a meeting of Creative North Wales (Gogledd Creadigol) at the Galeri arts centre in Caernarfon.  That was not my first encounter with Creative North Wales.  I wrote about them in Gogledd Creadigol on 11 May 2021 after I had given a talk to their members on Copyright Licensing and Information and Communications Technology on 21 April 2021 (see Jane Lambert Copyright Licensing and Information and Communications Technology 13 April 2021).

The evening began with an introduction to the executive and prominent members and a review of their recent activities.  One of those was a webinar entitled Powering up the Video Games Industry which took place just before my talk.  The keynote speaker at that webinar was Dr Davd Banner MBE who is founder and CEO of Wales Interactive.  David attended Wednesday's meeting and I was delighted to meet him in the flesh. He told me that he had been in the games industry since the 1990s and we remarked on the growth of the industry over the years.

David is also a non-executive board member of Creative Wales (Cymru Creadigol) and the purpose of the meeting was to introduce that organization and its leaders to stakeholders in the creative industries in Northwest Wales.  Gerwyn Evans, deputy director of Creative Wales delivered a short presentation on its work.  He began by stating that Creative Wales had a narrower remit than the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in that it did not cover such fields as architecture.  It occurred to me as he said those words that the United Kingdom equivalent to Creative Wales was the Creative Industries Council ("CIC") which is chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  Architecture is indeed within the CIC's remit as well as advertising,, arts and culture and fashion which are outside Creative Wales's.

Creative Wales does, however, cover a lot:
  • film and television
  • music
  • games
  • animation
  • createch
  • R & D, and
  • publishing.
The deputy director mentioned each of those sectors in turn and discussed its importance to the Welsh economy and the support that it received from Creative Wales.

A surprising omission in view of the importance of such composers as Catrin Finch and Jack White, dance companies like Ballet Cymru and the National Dance Company of Wales and the National Eisteddfod is the exclusion of the performing arts.   According to Creative Wales's website:
"Fine art, dance, theatre and poetry fall outside of our remit. Don’t worry, they’re not forgotten. Other organisations, such as the Arts Council of Wales take care of these essential and thriving areas of creativity."

Other parts of the UK also have an Arts Council but the arts in those other nations and regions are still represented on the CIC. 

As an intellectual property specialist, I am particularly interested in the digital industries and I was fortunate to meet Paul Osbaldeston, the digital lead sector development manager.   Our meeting was brief but it is good to put a face to a name should we come into contact again.

Finally, I was delighted to see a strong representation from the Menai Science Park which included its managing director, Pryderi ap Rhisiart,. its outreach and community manager  Emily Roberts who has recently visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tanya Jones who kindly invited me to the event.  The science park and North Wales Creative complement each other in that the park catalyses business opportunities while the cultural industries feed the mind and soul.   Both are essential to making this region of Wales one of the most attractive places anywhere in which to work and live.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 during business hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Friday 21 October 2022

Protecting your Brands, Designs and Technology Abroad

Photo Jeremy Segrott Licence CC BY 2,0 Source Wikimedia Commons

 
















According to Business Wales, International Trade Week takes place between 31 Oct and 4 Nov 2022.  The Welsh Government has published an Export page which provides advice and guidance on exports and overseas investments.  One of its recent articles is Protecting your UK Intellectual Abroad which it published on 16 Sept 2022.

That article advises:
"To protect your intellectual property outside of the UK, you usually need to apply in each country you want protection in."

Although the author has confused intellectual property with intellectual assets this is good advice.  As the article also says, intellectual property rights are territorial and if you want to protect your brands, designs, technology or works of art or literature outside the United Kingdon you probably need to apply for a trade mark, registered design or patent in the countries or territories in which you seek protection.  Works of art and literature and the performances of actors. dancers, musicians and singers and other performing artists are slightly different since copyrights and rights in performances arise automatically in each of the countries that belong to the Berne and Rome Conventions.  

In Protecting Intellectual Assets Abroad (6 Oct 2022 IP after Brexit)  I explained that trade marks, design registrations and patents could be obtained singly by separate applications to each national or regional intellectual property office or collectively from a single filing under the Madrid ProtocolHague Agreement or Patent Cooperation Treaty.   Applications for patents under the PCT proceed in two phases.  As novelty, inventiveness, and utility are required by all countries' patent laws applications are examined centrally for those requirements.  If an invention passes that first stage it proceeds to national intellectual property offices which consider whether it complies with their local laws.  Equivalent procedures take place for designs under Hague and marks under Madrid.

Intellectual asset owners should beware that overseas protection can be very pricey.   In addition to the prosecution fees in each nation or regional office, registrations have to be renewed every so often.  In some countries, patent renewal fees will actually increase as the patent ages.  The validity of your patent, trade mark or design registration can be challenged in the courts or intellectual property offices of the countries in which you seek protection.   If anyone infringes your intellectual property right, you usually have to go to court to enforce it.  Defending invalidity or revocation claims or pursuing infringers can be very expensive, particularly in common law countries like Australia. Canada, Hong Kong, India, the Irish Republic, New Zealand, South Africa or the USA.  Unless your company is very well established you will probably benefit from taking out before-the-event insurance.

How do you decide where to protect your intellectual assets?   Generally, it should be where you have a market or a competitor.   If your company is big enough to export or invest abroad it has probably developed an intellectual property strategy which is integrated into its business plan.  If not, identify the asset that needs legal protection in the country concerned and seek the appropriate protection.

The Menai Science Park will hold a hybrid in-person and online seminar on IP protection overseas on 18 Nov 2022 at which expert patent attorneys,  specialist IP insurance brokers and lawyers from Ireland, India and Argentina will discuss those topics.  The science park expects an international audience for that event.  That is just one of many services that M-SParc offers to businesses in Northwest Wales that want to export or invest abroad.  We can introduce you to the UK's IP attaches abroad, the British Library's Business and IP Centre and its regional partners as well as many other resources.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page,

Monday 10 October 2022

Welsh Vodka Litigation- AU Vodka v NE10 Vodka













Jane Lambert

Chancery Division (Mr Justice Mellor) AU Vodka Ltd v NE10 Vodka Ltd and another [2022] EWHC 2371 (Ch) (21 Sept 2022)

Whisky Galore is the title of a novel by Sir Compton Mackenzie about the shipwreck of a cargo vessel off the Hebrides in the Second World War. The ship had been carrying whisky and the story is about a battle of wits between islanders who had salvaged the freight and hidden and the authorities who were doing their best to stop them.  I was reminded of that novel by the passing-off action that AU Vodka Ltd has brought against NE10 Vodka Ltd.

AU distils and distributes the vodka in the gold bottle and NE10 the vodka in the metallic blue.  Both companies are incorporated in Wales and carry on business in Swansea.  The action has been brought in the Intellectual Property List of the Chancery Division in London even though it could have been brought in the Business and Property Courts of Wales in Cardiff or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

The first round of the proceedings was an application for an interim injunction to restrain NT10 from marketing and selling its products until judgment or further order.   It was heard by Mr Justice Mellor who delivered judgment in AU Vodka Ltd v NE10 Vodka Ltd and another [2022] EWHC 2371 (Ch) on 21 Sept 2022. The judge dismissed the application because he found that there would be a  greater risk of injustice to NE10 were he to grant the order than there would be to AU in refusing it.  I analysed his judgment in Passing-off: AU Vodka v NW10 Vodka in NIPC Law on 9 Oct 2022.

The next stage of the litigation will be a trial which the judge directed to take place in January,  In that hearing the court will consider the substantial issues.  The judge did not have to consider the merits of the case for the interim injunction application.  All he had to do was decide whether AU could win.   Mr Justice Mellor said at para [80] of his judgment that there was "a serious issue to be tried" but the case was "finely balanced."

Anyone wishing to discuss this case can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form. 

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Nesta Cymru


 







Jane Lambert

Nesta stands for National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.  It was established by s,18 of the National Lotteries Act 1998 to administer funds raised by the lottery.  In 2012 its assets were transferred to a charity which has carried out the Endowment's functions ever since (see National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is now independent of the UK government on the UK government website). Nesta describes itself as "The UK's innovation agency for social good."

Yesterday Nesta published its first issue of Nesta Cymru, a newsletter on the charity's events, research and projects in Wales,  It discussed healthy school meals, access to healthy food for adults to combat obesity, Nesta's submission to the Senedd on decarbonizing the private housing sector, access to green finance to upgrade homes, Nesta's partnership with Flintshire County Council to use early years data to support families,  Helen Wales's article on Graham Donaldson, Laura James's article Embracing insurgency: why local authorities need to be ready to fail and an interview with Dr Jan Rosenow, Principal and Director of European Programmes, Regulatory Assistance Project.

Nesta Cymru indicates Nesta's collaboration with the Welsh government, Cardiff University, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the Arts Council of Wales to fund programmes, produce research and design and test new ideas in its mission areas.  Nesta notes that devolution enables Wales to experiment and try new ideas for social good, finding places where devolution allows it to go further and faster in achieving its aims.  It has already set up Arloesiadur: an innovation dashboard for Wales and Y Lab, a public services innovation lab for Wales with Cardiff University and has supported several arts projects in Wales.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me during office hours on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.

Wednesday 31 August 2022

The IPO's Welsh Language Policy

Author Diomedea Exulnns  Licence CC BY=SA 3.0  Soutce Wikimedia Nant Gwrtheyrn

 











Jane Lambert

Occasionally I am asked why I spend time and money on learning Welsh. After all, so the argument runs, only a few hundred thousand speak it and nearly all of them speak also English. The answer is the same as the reason for learning any language.  A language is the key to a treasure house of ideas and information not all of which are translated or translated well.

Ideas and information are intellectual assets  They take several forms: a line of verse, a catchy song,  an elegant solution to a technical problem or an unforgettable slogan.   They are the product of skill and labour and sometimes genius.   To incentivize their generation the law protects them.  It is that legal protection that we call intellectual property.

Ideas that are generated in Welsh can be protected in Welsh.  The Intellectual Property Office which is headquartered in Newport has operated a Welsh language scheme since 3 Oct 2007.  It was prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Welsh Language Service pursuant to s.21 (3) of the Welsh Language Act 1993.

Paragraph 1 of that scheme promises "that, in the conduct of public business, it will treat the English and Welsh languages on a basis of equality so far as is both appropriate to the circumstances and reasonably practicable."  The document continues that, where possible, the IPO will explain and offer the IP system in Welsh to those customers wishing to register their IP rights in the United Kingdom through the medium of Welsh.  

Rule 14 (1) of the Patents Rules 2007 which came into effect on 17 Dec 2007, requires the contents of all documents contained in a patent application to be either Welsh or English However, while the English language patent forms are available online, Welsh speaking applicants or their agents must call 01633 814936 or email information@ipo.gov.uk if they require a Welsh version of any of the IPO's forms/booklets.  According to David Pearce, no patent applications in Welsh had been received by the Office by 28 Jan 2008 (see Welsh patent applications: the results are in! 28 Jan 2008 IPKat).

There is no equivalent to rule 14 (1) of the Patents Rules 2007 in The Registered Designs Rules 2006 or The Trade Marks Rules 2008 but para 49 of the scheme offers to accept applications for registered designs and trade marks in Welsh and to make the relevant forms and guidance available in Welsh on the IPO's website.  As far as I can see, applicants or their agents would have to call the above number or send an email to request the relevant form or other document in Welsh.

It would appear from para 34 of the scheme that proceedings before IPO hearing officers can take place in Welsh.  The paragraph states that if the hearing takes place in Wales, it can be conducted in Welsh in the Newport Office where arranged in advance. If, however, no advance notice is given then due to limitations on the number of Welsh speaking staff and the lack of an in-house interpreter, there may be no legally and technically competent Welsh speaker immediately available. The applicant will then be given the choice, without prejudice, of continuing with the hearing in English or adjourning it until a Welsh speaker is available.

The rest of the document deals with such matters as signage, telephone calls, visits from members of the public, seminars and publications. I owe it to the IPO for my first lesson on soft mutations while driving around Newport searching for signs to Concept House when I noticed that "patent" had suddenly morphed into "batent".

I do not know whether any of the Appointed Persons speak Welsh but the Business and Property Courts in Wales ought to be able to hear appeals from Welsh speaking hearing officers in Welsh as well as infringement, invalidity, revocation and threats actions in all areas of IP law except patents, registered designs, chip topographies and plant varieties. The Court of Appeal and Supreme Court have been known to sit in Cardiff and there is at least one Welsh speaking Supreme Court justice.

My Welsh is not yet good enough to present a case in Welsh, but once it is ............ Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0)7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

Thursday 21 July 2022

Consultation on a New Innovation Strategy for Wales

Jane Lambert

 











Yesterday the Welsh government launched a consultation on a new innovation strategy for Wales.  It has published a draft Innovation Strategy for Wales upon which it invites responses by 28 Sept 2022. Responses can be made online or by post.   Yesterday's Innovation Brief which announced the consultation mentioned "consultation events" at which views can be contributed in person but I have not yet been able to find any particulars of them,  However, those who want to register an interest can email InnovationStrategy@gov.wales.

According to the consultation document the Welsh government published Innovation Wales in 2013.  The consultation document reported that Innovation Wales had been successful but the "innovation landscape" has changed since then.   The UK has left the EU, the world has suffered the Covid19 pandemic and the legislature has enacted the  Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

S.4 of that Act sets out the following well-being goals:

  • a prosperous Wales
  • a resilient Wales
  • a healthier Wales
  • a more equal Wales
  • a Wales of cohesive communities
  • a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language, and 
  • a globally responsible Wales.
The strategy aims to forward those goals.

I was very encouraged to read the following observation on the Menai Science Park:
"M-Sparc, the low carbon incubator centre on Anglesey work with clients to turn initial ideas into successful ventures. They ignite ambition and offer a facility to energise, somewhere to spark a better future. Their tenants are built from great ideas at the cutting edge of science, they are offered expert knowledge, support, encouragement and investment to succeed. M-Sparc also work with a number of international businesses who are developing major infrastructure projects on Anglesey in nuclear, solar, marine and offshore wind, they encourage the use of local content in the supply chain by supporting companies to develop their capability a capacity to compete for tenders in these major projects."

There are 22 questions ranging from:

"What would you like the Innovation Strategy to achieve in the short (1 year) term in relation to: 

  • Economic growth 
  • Skills development 
  • Social equity 
  • Climate and environment 
  • Other" 

in question 1 to

"As part of Welsh Government commitment to a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language, the proposed Innovation Strategy looks to ensure multi-lingual development as standard. 
Do you agree that the strategy outlines the ways in which it hopes to successfully create the right conditions to increase the use of the Welsh Language across all proposed innovation activities? If not, what additional activities should be undertaken?"

in question 15.

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

Sunday 26 June 2022

The Accelerator's Showcase

Emily Roberts taking the Microphone from Olu
© 2022 Jane Lambert  All rights reserved

 














Jane Lambert

I mentioned the launch of the Menai Science Park's accelerator programme on 15 Feb 2022.  I returned to the science park on Thursday, 23 June 2022 for the accelerator's showcase before an audience that included angel and private equity investors.  The event took place in the park's atrium but was live-streamed over the internet using the hybrid events platform, Haia.

Haia was developed by a team led by Tom Burke who attended the accelerator programme. It was he who delivered the first pitch.  Tom had been one of the speakers at M-SParc's World Intellectual Property Day celebrations on 26 April 2022.  The progress that that already impressive business had achieved in less than 2 months is breathtaking.  It has recently transitioned from beta to a full-fledged contender in the fiercely competitive online conferencing market in which Zoom and Teams are already established.  By all accounts, Haia is more than holding its own.

The accelerator's first cohort consisted of eight projects several of which were represented at the showcase.  As well as Haia, the presentations included a system for monitoring calving, a language learning database that included learning mediums other than English, a device for spotting and booking self-storage space near a given location and the manufacture of bio-degradable packaging materials from seaweed and many other great ideas.  The showcase was compered expertly by the science park's operations and customer services manager, Emily Roberts who has overseen successfully all the events in which I have been involved.

At the start of the event, the park's managing director, Pryderi ap Phisiart, announced the launch of the science park's angel network.  I can't overstress the importance of that development because angels facilitate the leap from incubator to market.  Raising funds was the theme of last year's World Intellectual Property Day and Wales Enterprise Day celebrations and Emily plans to build on that theme at this year's Wales Enterprise Day. 

I spoke to several of the investors over a feast of jerk chicken (cyw iâr jerk) and rice and peas (reis a phys) from a trailer that offered "bwyd bendigedig" or Welsh Caribbean food lubricated by cocktails and soft drinks from an adjoining converted horse box.  The investors were impressed by what they had seen and several told me that they had brought their chequebooks.

Both businesses and their investors require the best possible legal, accounting and other professional services.  When M-SParc opened on 1 March 2018 tenants had to look east to Manchester, Liverpool or Chester for such advice and representation or south to Cardiff, Newport or Swansea.  Not any more. There is a cluster of experts that includes patent attorney Sean Thomas who has returned to Anglesey, specialist solicitors Andrea Knox and Jonty Gordon, IP tax accountants Steve Livingston, patent strategist and valuer Alison Orr, venture capitalist Ed French and IP insurer Ian Wishart.

I was reminded of the importance of M-SParc on Friday morning when I watched the film on the history of Nant Gwrtheyrn in its heritage centre.  The Nant was once a prosperous port that exported granite blocks known as "setts" for roadbuilding.  Workers from across the United Kingdom and beyond were attracted to the port and adjoining quarry  A photo of some of the maidens of the Nant shows them adorned in the latest styles long before the fashions reached the rest of the Llŷn peninsula. Sadly. demand for setts diminished as private car ownership expanded.  The Nant declined.  Its people moved away to find work elsewhere.  Eventually the settlement was abandoned. 

The history of Nant Gwrtheyrn is an allegory of the history of the region. The Nant was revived when it became a centre for teaching the Welsh language   M-SParc and other initiatives such as the Pontio Centre in Bangor are nurturing diversified knowledge-based industries that will provide employment not only for those already in the area but for many more from around the world.  Like the Caribbean food suppliers, these newcomers are contributing their customs and culture to Wales but in the process, they are becoming  Welsh.  Just like the English, Scots and Irish quarrymen and port workers who moved to Nant Gwrtheyrn 150 years ago.

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

Tuesday 26 April 2022

World IP Day 2022 - Celebrating the Creativity, Enterprise and Innovation of the Young People of Wales

Standard YouTube Licence


Today is World Intellectual Property Day.  Intellectual property is the collective name for the bundle of rights such as patents, trade marks, copyrights and registered designs that protect investment in brands, designs, technology and works of art and literature,  World Intellectual Property Day is an international festival that falls on 26 April of every year.  It marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the treaty that established the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN specialist agency that coordinates international efforts to encourage, incentivize and reward artists, authors, broadcasters, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors, publishers and others. 

Every year World Intellectual Property Day focuses on a different theme.  This year it is "IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future."   The Menai Science Park ("M-SParc") on Anglesey has interpreted that theme as an invitation to celebrate the creativity, enterprise and innovation of the young people of Wales.  

In World IP Day: Celebrating the Creativity of the Young People of Wales I discussed how the super-talented young dancers of Wales's national ballet company will celebrate their creativity.   In It is About Rocket Science I wrote about Wales's expanding space industry and the massive opportunities open to talented young people as Spaceport Snowdonia develops a commercial satellite launch capability with its elegant new technology.  

Of course, none of this would be possible without entrepreneurs.  To celebrate Welsh enterprise we have invited Tom Burke, co-founder and CEO of Haia to talk about how his company and its meetings platform. He has already made a video for the Level Up Accelerator. 

M-SParc's main celebrations will be a webinar which I shall chair between 12:30 and 14:00 today.  Our speakers will include Nia Roberts, David Young of Spaceport Snowdonia, Tom Burke of Haia and Darius James of Ballet Cymru and his brilliant young artists.   There is still space on the call for those who want to attend it.   All you have to do is click the green button on the Eventbrite page and Emily Roberts or Jamie Thomas will send you a link,
 

Friday 22 April 2022

World IP Day: Celebrating the Creativity of the Young People of Wales


 













Jane Lambert

As I said in  "World IP Day 2022: IP and Youth: "Innovating for a Better Future"  I wrote:

"The theme for this year is 'IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.' At a video conference earlier in the year, Emily Roberts, Jamie Thomas and I interpreted that phrase as 'a celebration of the creativity, enterprise and innovation of young people around the world.' Accordingly, we agreed to celebrate the creativity, enterprise and innovation of the young people of Wales."

In It is About Rocket Science I discussed how the Menai Science Park ("M-SParc") plans to celebrate innovation, particularly in relation to the expanding Welsh space industry. Today, I focus on how we plan to celebrate creativity by reference to dance.

Wales is often called the "land of song" in acknowledgement of its choral and operatic traditions (see Why Wales is known as the ‘Land of Song’ BBC website). It is, however, just as much a dancing nation.  Its folk tradition with its exuberant grasshopper step is quite distinctive (see Hansh Addysgu Ameer - Dawnsio Gwerin).  Its national classical dance company, Ballet Cymru, draws on that tradition as can be seen from its appearance last year with Sian James at Eisteddfod Gudd.

Ballet Cymru was founded by Darius James in 1986.  The company describes itself as 

"a ballet company who like to do things a bit differently. We enjoy finding new ways to make what we do exciting, innovative and relevant."

That was true even in its early days as can be seen from this archive footage on its production of The Tempest from 1998.

Darius will be one of our speakers at M-SPaerc's lunchtime webinar for World Intellectual Property Day.  If you have not already got a ticket for the webinar you can register here,  He will talk about his company and its forthcoming performances of his new ballet Dream at Theatr Clwyd in Mold on 29 May and the Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre in Bangor on 4 June.  Even more importantly, Darius will discuss Ballet Cymru's DUETS programme which introduces ballet to children in the inner cities and rural communities who might not otherwise be exposed to the art.   I referred to the company's work with the children of Llanllyfni Primary School in How the Pontio Centre and M-SParc complement each other in the Social and Economic Development of Northwest Wales on 5 June 2020.   Darius also promises us a glimpse of what his super-talented young dancers can do to close the webinar.

This year's contribution to World Intellectual Property Day should be the best ever,   In addition to the lunchtime webinar, we shall hold an all-day exhibition at the science park where you can obtain information about Ballet Cymru, its performances and its outreach programme.   

Further Reading

Jane Lambert  IP and Dance 30 May 2019

Thursday 21 April 2022

It is about Rocket Science

Author NASA  Rocket suspended from a balloon Public domain

 














Jane Lambert

In Celebrating Tecwyn Roberts I wrote how a young school student had been inspired to study natural sciences by the visit of Tecwyn Roberts to her junior school. That student was Nia Roberts and she will be one of the speakers at the Menai Science Park's World Intellectual Property Day celebrations for which you can register here.

Nia, like Tecwyn, left Wales to pursue a career in science.  She went to Munich where she was an examiner for the European Patent Office. Children at the school where Tecwyn and Nia studied now have a choice.  They can study and carry out research at the world's great universities or work for the world's leading companies and institutions or they can set up successful science-based businesses or find high-skilled and well-paid employment in their own country.

According to the UK Space Agency's press release of 13 April 2022, employment in the British space industry grew from 44,040 in 2019 to 46,995 in 2020.  It is now a £16.5 billion industry.  Employment in the sector more than doubled in Wales from 415 to 1,109.  British expertise in space lies primarily in the design and operation of small, low earth orbit satellites. They are used for weather forecasting, remote sensing, communications and many other applications.

Until now, British satellite owners have had to rely on the US and other foreign governments to launch their equipment into orbit but that is about to change.  As I said in The Space Industry in Wales. legislation was enacted in 2018 to enable space vehicles to be launched from the UK.  The UK Space Agency has recently published Launch UK, A Guide to the UK's Commercial Spaceports which lists the UK's launch facilities.

One of those sites is Spaceport Snowdonia which is based at Llanbedr near Harlech,  We are very lucky to welcome Mr David Young who is the manager of the aerospace centre and Llanbedr airport.  There are three competing technologies to propel a rocket into space: a multistage solid or liquid fuel rocket which is the Scottish approach; using an aeroplane to lift the rocket into high altitude which is the Cornish approach or strapping the rocket to a balloon which is the elegant, Welsh approach.  David will discuss all the facilities that are available at Llanbedr and what it needs to grab a lion's share of the launch technology market.

Tuesday's celebrations will be a webinar between 12:30 and 14:00 at which Nia and David will speak. There will also be an all-day exhibition in the science park to celebrate the creativity, enterprise and innovation of the young people of Wales.

Saturday 2 April 2022

World IP Day 2022: IP and Youth: "Innovating for a Better Future"

 



















Since 26 April 2019, the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) has led Wales's contribution to the worldwide festival of creativity, enterprise and innovation known as World Intellectual Property Day. Each year the festival focuses on a different theme. The theme for this year is "IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future."  At a video conference earlier in the year, Emily Roberts, Jamie Thomas and I  interpreted that phrase as "a celebration of the creativity, enterprise and innovation of young people around the world."  Accordingly, we agreed to celebrate the creativity, enterprise and innovation of the young people of Wales.

Wales's choral tradition is renowned but it is also a dancing nation.  Its classical dance company, Ballet Cymru has created a rich repertoire that features exciting new works such as Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs and Tir to the music of Cerys Matthews but also adaptations of Giselle, Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella for small casts in tiny theatres.  The company has presented those works in rural and inner-city venues around the United Kingdom and beyond.  Ballet Cymru's super-talented young artists will dance for us in their studio in Newport and their artistic director, Darius James will discuss their outreach work for the children and young people of Wales.

One of the leaders of the US space programme was an Anglesey man called Tecwyn Roberts.  He never forgot the junior school that had given him his start and he revisited it. at the height of his career.  One of the students of the school at the time of his visit was a little girl called Nia Roberts. Nia was inspired to read natural sciences at university.  She has also enjoyed a glittering career in science to inspire a new generation of school kids to follow her into STEM.

Tecwyn had to leave Wales for a career in space.  That is no longer necessary for Wales has a rapidly growing space sector which is attracting bright young men and women from around the world.  Representatives of that industry will outline some of the opportunities for new businesses in everything from telecommunications to remote sensing and mention the highly paid 
jobs that will be available to those who want to work in them.

All of that requires entrepreneurs ready to spot the opportunities and exploit them. Who better to talk about that infrastructure than Tom Burke, founder and CEO of the communications platform Haia. Tom will tell us how he developed Haia at M-SParc and how local financial and professional service providers have helped him to grow his business.

Tom, Nia, Darius and others will speak at a lunchtime seminar between 12:30 and 14:00 on 26 April 2022 that anyone anywhere in the world can join online.  Those who happen to be in M-Sparc on the day can also attend in person.  Register here to secure your place. There will also be an all-day exhibition at M-SParc on the Welsh space industry, Ballet Cymru, Haia and all sorts of other contributions to World IP Day in Wales and around the world. 

Further Reading

26 April 2022  Intellectual Property Office: Innovating for a Better Future: Intellectual property and youth

2 April 2022 Diwrnod Eiddo Deallusol y Byd / World Intellectual Property Day

March 2022  Nadine Hakizimana and Edward Kwakwa  Now’s the time for young people to switch on to intellectual property  WIPO Wire

28 Dec 2021  Jane Lambert World IP Day and Youth

Tuesday 15 February 2022

M-SParc's Accelerator Programme

(c) 2029 NESTA, Standard YouTube Licence



The Menai Science Park's announcement of an accelerator programme in conjunction with Bangor University is potentially very important because startup accelerators like Y Combinator, TechStars and Seedcamp are among the reasons for the success of Silicon Valley.  They offer mentoring and networking with privileged access to investment.  They benefit both entrepreneurs and investors as well as the organizations that host those programmes.

Though the idea of selecting and nurturing a cohort of promising young businesses originated in the United States it quickly spread to Shenzhen, Hydrabad and the rest of the world including the United Kingdom.  There are now very successful accelerator programmes around Silicon Roundabout (roughly Shoreditch to the Olympic Park in Stratford), Silicon Fen (Cambridge) and Silicon Glen (St Andrews, Dundee and Edinburgh).  We even have our own Silicon Ginnel in Yorkshire which I mentioned in Accelerators and Incubators in the Leeds City Region on 22 Jan 2017 in IP Yorkshire.   I featured the Northern Max healthcare accelerator in Bradford on 12 Jan 2018 and was lucky enough to attend its demo day a few weeks later (see Jane Lambert NorthernMAX Demo Day 25 March 2018 IP Yorkshire).

For entrepreneurs who are considering an accelerator programme, I compiled an Accelerator and Incubator resource page in 2017.  Some of those articles have been written by me but there are also contributions from others.   The page needs to be updated but the basic information is there.  Up to now, there have not been too many accelerator programmes in Wales which may explain why a Cardiff fintech firm Delio travelled all the way to Dubai to join that emirate's accelerator (see Jane Lambert British Participation in Dunai FinTech Accelerator Programme  22 Aug 2017 NIPC Gulf).

Anyone who wants to join Sbardun (the M-Sparc and Bangor University programme) will have to move quickly because applications must be lodged by 17 Feb 2022.  Those who are chosen will undergo 
"A five-month programme for North Wales' top startups. Expert mentoring, a community of likeminded founders, your own global advisory board with powerful networks and exclusive opportunities for growth."

Almost certainly the businesses on the programme will establish brands and create new products and processes which is where patent and trade mark attorneys and IP lawyers come in.  They will also enter shareholders agreements with each other and investors which is where commercial lawyers can help.  A network of specialist advisors is rapidly establishing itself around the Menai region.  I wonder how long it will take for the name "Silicon Strait" or "Afon Silicon" to catch on.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form. 

Monday 31 January 2022

Business Prenups

Jan Josef Horemans, "The Marriage Contract"




























Although it is the last thing on a couple's minds while they are in love every marriage or civil partnership comes to an end through death or divorce.  That can sometimes result in a messy and expensive legal tangle in the Family Division.  A good way to avoid that outcome is for the couple to agree on who owns what and what should happen to their assets on death or divorce in a prenuptial agreement.

The same is true when it comes to launching a business.   Very few individuals have all the skills and resources necessary to launch a new product or service so they look to others for help.  Some may be friends and relations.  Others consultants and contractors.  Even business angels or private equity investors.  When all goes well they work together on developing, funding or launching their business, product or service and never spare a thought as to what should happen if they fall out or their joint venture fails.   

When that happens there can be litigation over who owns a patent or patent application in the Intellectual Property Office known as "entitlement actions" which I described in Disputes Over Ownership of Inventions on 6 Aug 2015 in NIPC Southeast, unfair prejudice or insolvency proceedings in the Chancery Division. That can be even messier and more expensive than family litigation.

Just as a prenup is a good way of avoiding or mitigating the disputes that would otherwise arise when a marriage comes to an end a written agreement with collaborators, consultants, contractors or investors as to who is entitled to apply for or hold a patent could avoid an entitlement or other dispute.  There is already a set of useful precedents for collaborations between businesses and universities known as the "Lambert Toolkit" which I mentioned in IPO Consultation - Business to Business Collaboration Agreements on 23 July 2018 in NIPC Northwest.  These can be adapted to similar collaborations with other parties.    Simple shareholders' agreements that are to be found in all kinds of businesses can also help.

I can advise on and draft such agreements as can my colleagues Andrea Knox of Knox Commercial Solicitors, Sean Thomas of Thomas Harrison IP and Steve Livingston of IP Tax Solutions.  So too can others at the IP Bar,  in specialist IP or commercial law firms, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and a few other specialist accountancy practices.    Anyone wishing to discuss this topic may call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Celebrating Tecwyn Roberts

Tecwyn Roberts

 










In World IP Day: IP Youth 28 Dec 2021 I wrote that my interest in science had been sparked by the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Gagarin's first space flight in 1961 and later NASA's Apollo programme.  My experience was entirely vicarious because I never met any rocket scientists.  Someone who did was a young schoolgirl who met Tecwyn Roberts, Director and Manager of the Goddard Space Flight Center. Roberts was brought up in Anglesey and she met him on a visit to his old school.  She was inspired by his visit to study natural sciences at school and university which launched her on a brilliant career in science and intellectual property.

When Tecwyn Roberts was a boy he had to cross the Atlantic to make a career in rocketry. That is no longer necessary for this generation of schoolchildren because Wales has a significant and growing space sector which I discussed in The Space Industry in Wales on 27 Dec 2021.  On 26 April 2022, the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) will explore the opportunities that this industry offers to young people in Wales as part of Wales's celebrations of World Intellectual Property Day 2022.  

In previous years we have held a lunchtime seminar on the annual theme for World Intellectual Property Day. Last year, for example, it was about Taking Ideas to Market.   We assembled distinguished speakers from the Intellectual Property Office, the Welsh Government, Inngot as well as local experts from BIC Innovation, Knox Commercial Solicitors and IP Tax Solutions (see Menai Science Park's Contribution to World IP Day 2021 25 April 2021).  The theme of this year's seminar will be IP and Youth and we shall be making use of all the resources that are available such as the "Cracking Ideas" programme and the UK Government's guidance in "IP and Education".

In addition to our seminar, we shall offer something new this year.  With the help of the Aerospace Wales Forum and Space Wales, we shall hold an exhibition physically at the science park but also online to celebrate Wales's contribution to space exploration past and present   We are only just beginning to plan that exhibition but I can safely say that it will include the career of Anglesey's pioneer rocket scientist, Tecwyn Roberts.

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