Thursday 30 November 2023

Building on the Success of Wales Enterprise Day 2023


Jane Lambert

The Menai Science Park  (M-SParc)'s seminar Restoring Bridges with Europe on 17 Nov 2023 to celebrate Wales Enterprise Day was the park's most successful intellectual property event ever. 

M-SParc was hooked up to AberInnovation in Aberystwyth, Tramshed Tech in Barry, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea and the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin. Individual speakers and attendees joined the event from Dublin, London and all parts of Wales. We had excellent presentations from John Glennane and Mike Hawkes of CapVentis, Patrick O'Connor of VRAI and James Bridgeman SC of the Irish Bar, There were also helpful interventions from Patricia McGovern of DFMG and Elinor Cavil of DLA Piper.  A lot of information on the business and legal environments of the UK and Ireland was exchanged and new contacts were made.

Two new initiatives have arisen from the event.  Tom Burke of Haia suggested a seminar on patenting software-implemented inventions.   In Europe, unlike the United States, China, Japan and India, there is an express  exclusion from patentability for:

"(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
(b) aesthetic creations;
(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers
(d) presentations of information
........ as such."

The words "as such" are important because they allow software-implemented inventions to be implemented in certain circumstances.  The courts and the European and national patent offices have developed elaborate rules as to when the exception applies and when it does not.  Emily Roberts welcomed Tom's suggestion and asked me to consider how a seminar or conference on software patents could take place. 

This is an issue that affects a lot of businesses in many different industries throughout Wales and beyond.  It should have the widest possible coverage.  In Yorkshire, intellectual property awareness is spread by an organization with the acronym TIPSY  ("The Intellectual Property Society of Yorkshire"). There is a need in Wales for a similar body to bring together practitioners from both branches of the legal profession, patent and trade mark attorneys, legal scholars, government bodies and most importantly tenants of the Welsh science parks and other knowledge-based businesses.   

Most IP specialists in Wales are to be found around the university cities.   Because of the distances between those centres, a Wales IP society would rely on video conferencing rather than on face-to-face meetings. In that regard, the success of the Wales Enterprise Day seminar in connecting the science parks shows just what can be achieved by technology.

Over the Christmas holidays, I shall put together proposals for a 2 - 3 hour seminar on software patents to be addressed by leading experts in the field.   I shall also draw up plans for a Wales IP society which would be based in M-SParc but would hold events in other places as and when requested,   All meetings would be linked by video conference and recorded on YouTube,

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,