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.

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