Thursday 25 January 2024

An IP Clinic for M-SParc

Author Chris Andrews Licence CC BY-SA Deed Source Geograph


Jane Lambert

There is a network of public libraries linked to the British Library that offer a range of services to artists, designers, entrepreneurs inventors and other creatives.  Each of those libraries is known as a "Business and Intellectual Property Centre" or "BIPC".  One of the network's most popular services are Intellectual Property clinics which offer free consultations with patent or trade mark attorneys, lawyers and other professionals specializing in IP.

Probably because much of the initial funding for the network was provided by Arts Council England, there are no BIPCs in Wales.  Wales may be losing out because the BIPCs appear to contribute substantially to the economy.   According to an independent economic impact analysis of the national network between April 2013 – March 2015, BIPCs

  • "generated £38 million GVA (Gross Value Added) on investment, with an estimated increase to £214 million by 2018
  • created almost 1,700 new businesses and over 4,200 jobs, with an estimated increase to over 4,100 new businesses and over 22,000 new jobs within the next 3 years (almost a third in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’)
  • created a payback of £4.50 for every £1 of public money (estimated to grow to £25 payback for every £1 invested by 2018)
  • supported diverse communities: 47% of network users were women, 26% of users were BAME and 25% were unemployed or had been made redundant
  • achieved lower cost per job created and higher GVA leverage, compared with other business support initiatives"
(see British Library's Business & IP Centre national network published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 16 Dec 2015).

The IP clinics at the English BIPCs are staffed by local lawyers, patent and trade mark attorneys and other professionals and receive little or no public funding,  While a BIPC is unlikely to open in North Wales any time soon there is no reason why IP professionals practising in North Wales should not set up their own IP clinic.  Over the weekend I consulted Emily Roberts of M-SParc, patent attorney Sean Thomas, commercial solicitor Andrea Knox and IP tax accountant Steve Livingston and all were in favour.

As Sean and I plan to attend the Artificial Intelligence for Business workshop on 31 Jan 2024, we shall be in M-SParc between 14:00 and 15:30 to discuss our plans for the clinic with the science park's tenants and other local business owners.   Should anyone require a private consultation with Sean or me on an IP issue that is presently concerning them we shall talk to them there and then.  If someone has an issue that Steve or Andrea is best placed to handle we shall refer that enquirer to one of those professionals,   Each of us has a network of contacts around the world so if a business owner wants to export to China or an invention needs a prototype for your invention we can put him or her in touch with the right person.

If the launch on 31 Jan 2024 is successful we shall operate a triage system.   We shall ask users to fill in the following form which my clerk or I will acknowledge.    If Sean, Andrea, Steve or I can advise by phone, Zoom or email we shall give the enquirer an immediate answer.   If he or she needs a meeting at least one IP professional will be in M-SParc at least once a month.

If anyone wants to talk to me about this project he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or use the following form:

Fill out my online form.

Sunday 14 January 2024

IP and the Sustainable Development Goals in Wales


Jane Lambert

In World IP Day 2024 - IP and the Sustainable Development Goals I reported that the theme for this year's World Intellectual Property Day would be IP and the SDGs: Building our common future with innovation and creativity.  Nowhere in the UK attaches more importance to those goals than Wales.  It was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a constitutional duty of sustainable development.  It announced its first Sustainable Development Scheme – Learning to Live Differently in 2000.  The National Assembly for Wales (as the Senedd was then known) enacted the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  In 2019 the Welsh government published Wales and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

S.5 of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 sets out a table of goals that are compatible with but not identical to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.   These are known as the "Well-being Goals":

  • "A prosperous Wales:  An innovative, productive and low carbon society which recognises the limits of the global environment and therefore uses resources efficiently and proportionately (including acting on climate change); and which develops a skilled and well-educated population in an economy which generates wealth and provides employment opportunities, allowing people to take advantage of the wealth generated through securing decent work. 
  • A resilient Wales: A nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change (for example climate change).
  • A healthier Wales: A society in which people's physical and mental well-being is maximised and in which choices and behaviours that benefit future health are understood.
  • A more equal Wales: A society that enables people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances (including their socio economic background and circumstances).
  • A Wales of cohesive communities: Attractive, viable, safe and well-connected communities. 
  • A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language: A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language, and which encourages people to participate in the arts, and sports and recreation. 
  • A globally responsible Wales: A nation which, when doing anything to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, takes account of whether doing such a thing may make a positive contribution to global well-being."
Obligations are placed upon the Ministers of the Welsh Government and public services to promote the Well-Being Goals.   An official known as The Future Generations Commissioner of Wales is established by s.17 to promote the sustainable development principles and perform the functions in s.19.

As the Well-Being Goals are fewer and more tightly defined than the 17 Sustainable Development Goals it will be easier to relate them to intellectual property law.  For example, the legal protection of branding, design, technology and creative works is essential to the prosperity of Wales and more or less anything said on those topics would be relevant.  A Healthier Wales can focus on the needs of the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries in Wales and on the use of artificial intelligence and big data in finding new medicines and treatments.  "A Wales of Vibrant Culture and thriving Welsh language:" could discuss the arts, universities, education, broadcasting and cinema in Wales.

 On all those topics the management of the Menai Science Park and the park's businesses are brimming with talent and experience.   If the net is cast wider to catch AberInnovation, Tramshed, the Pontio Centre and the Universities Wales can create a brilliant contribution to IP and the Sustainable Development Goals.  In an upcoming meeting with Emily Roberts and Iwan Pitts, I shall suggest a programme based on Wales's unique contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for M-SParc's World IP Day celebrations..

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 page,