Managing Director, Boardroom Dynamics Ltd
Chairman of Mercator Media and Nebula Systems(UK)
Chief Executive Officer, Guralp Systems Limited
Following the huge success of our five previous innovative Intellectual Property Dinners, , we still have a couple of places left at the next dinner on Tuesday 16th October 2012 at the Cumberland Hotel in Bournemouth.
If you want to learn more about how to value the intellectual property in your business, and to significantly increase the value of your business, then you must book a place at our dinner. We have already run 6 highly successful IP dinners [some co-hosted with the Institute of Directors], and I personally guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Each dinner takes the following form;
• drinks from 6.30 to 7pm
• a short, practical intellectual property workshop from our specialist IP Lawyer, Laura Trapnell,
• a 3 course meal, accompanied by delicious wines
• an informal and friendly atmosphere
• only one business per industry sector is allowed at each dinner – so you feel comfortable discussing your IP openly
I hope you can join us at what will be another interesting, useful and fun evening – if you know us already, then you will appreciate that we are not your usual firm of stuffy solicitors (who else invites you to a free dinner?).
To book your place
Places are by invitation only and highly limited -so if you want to join us, just email email@example.com to reserve your place.
Can’t make these dates?
We are planning further IP dinners in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset, as are the IoD – so if you can’t make any of the dates above, do let us know and we will ensure you get an invite to any future IP dinner workshops.
I look forward to hearing from you
Senior Partner, Bonallack and Bishop,Solicitors
At long last, the long-running argument about the future of the new European patent court has been concluded. About time too. However the decision is not without some controversy. The court will, apparently, have its functions split into three. Munich is going to be the host of the section dealing with mechanical engineering, whilst it is proposed that London will provide the home to the other two sections, dealing with pharmaceutical and chemistry related patents respectively.
Furthermore, the EU Council appear to have given in to considerable British pressure that the courts will act separately to the European Court of Justice itself, which will not have the responsibility for final jurisdiction in the new regime.
Some UK industry leaders, including the CBI, have particularly welcomed the decision to separate specialist intellectual property interests from the non-specialised European Court of Justice. However concerns have been raised about the practical implications of the new three-way split. Apart from issues with regard to funding, which remain unresolved, there are more practical matters that have not been clarified – such as whether any patents infringement will be heard separately or alongside a challenge to the validity itself of any patent.
Will the new regime be a success? Only time will tell, but at least that crucial first decision has now been taken.
Following the publication of a report by FTI Consulting LLP on the likely effect on the UK intellectual property industry is if the planned this “Central Division of the Unified Patent Court” is located somewhere else in the EU, the Law Society have issued a strong warning that the UK could end up losing up to a cool £3 bn pa.
Desmond Hudson, the Chief Executive of the Law Society, wrote to the coalition’s justice secretary Ken Clarke emphasising the central conclusion contained in the report that the location of the court outside the United Kingdom could cost us a minimum of £683 million in lost revenue every year – and that this annual loss could prove as high as a staggering £2.95 bn.
The Law Society is supported in raising these concerns by the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. Desmond Hudson gave a very stark warning to the justice secretary in particular that if the new court is indeed based in either Munich or Paris instead of London, “we will see the UK’s intellectual property expertise disappear overseas.” He added that basing the new court outside the United Kingdom could also harm the UK’s chances of becoming a centre for commercial litigation and arbitration in Europe.
The European Scrutiny Committee’s recent report on the same subject also included that the location of the new court is likely to bring the host city some considerable economic advantage.It is expected that Government will raise the location of the new court with other EU governments on May 30 at the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
As regular readers of my legal blog and business blog will have noted, we’re keen on dedicated microsites. So we’re pleased to welcome to our stable of microsites [60 when I last checked!] A dedicated trademark site – Trade Mark UK – which joins our existing Intellectual Property Lawyer and Copyright Lawyers sites. The site promotes both the work done by our own IP Solicitors and by the UK trademark attorney Jon Mears at trade mark firm Mears Morgan, whose work is featured on the site.
This new site is packed not only with information about UK trade marks, but also contains information about registration of EU and overseas marks – search really relevant for those UK businesses wanting to export or franchise or licence any branded products or services overseas. The site is come printed and covers a wide variety of issues, including;
o Trade marks – what are they?
o What are generic trademarks?
o How long can I expect it to take to register trademarks?
o Registering a trademark in the United Kingdom, EU or overseas – how much is it likely to cost?
o UK trademarks – what can I register?
o What can I do in case of trade mark infringement
o Practical tips on using the ® and TM™ signs
o The help you can expect from the specialist UK trademark attorney
o How our trademark registration services can help your business
So if you are interested in finding out more about how important trade marks can be to your business and about how our specialist team can help you with city quality trade mark and other intellectual property advice at local prices, why not visit our latest microsite or alternatively they can touch with us today on  422300.
Every little helps – or so, they say. The UK Intellectual Property Office has now launched a free online patent system which is estimated could save British business up to £100k every year. Previously, to request any paper documentation, a £5 fee was involved – and, worst of all, by the time the document had actually been delivered, it could be out of date. The new system, named Ipsum, not only removes the fee but better still provides instant access to any paper documents at the click of a button.
This new online service is open to anyone – and will particularly benefit patent attorneys and those businesses which are researching patent issues or looking to protect their clients’ intellectual property rights. Amongst the available information will be data on why any particular patent was rejected, or granted.
Hurrah! Good news for those businesses who haven’t been able to afford IP litigation to enforce their rights. The Government confirmed recently that the Patent County Court is introducing a small claims service. About time too! The new process will continue with the Patents County Court limit on fixed costs and will allow damages of up to £5,000 per case. Hopefully, small and medium sized businesses which rely on their intellectual property will now be able to enforce their intellectual property rights without being put off by ridiculously high fees in the High Court. The government aims to have it in place by this time next year.
The government are proposing to significantly encourage further research and development by companies in the UK – by using a series of existing and proposed tax breaks. In particular, they are targeting the SME – small and medium-sized business – market.
Tax credits for research and development [R&D] for SMEs will involve two main constituent parts – R&D tax credits for companies not in profit, along with increased deductions for R&D spending out of current revenue.
Proposals to increase tax relief in relation to R&D will increase from 100% to 200% in relation to expenditure which is incurred on or subsequent to April 1, 2011 – and the government has indicated an intention to further increase the limit with effect from April 2012.
But the tax credit don’t apply to everyone. In particular, the most important qualifying criteria include
o R&B tax credits are not available to individuals or a partnership – just companies
o To qualify for relief R&D spending must be at least £10,000 pa – though it’s expected that this particular restriction will be scrapped with effect from 2012
o Such spending cannot be incurred by a contractor
o Expenditure for which the tax and the credit applies cannot have been paid for by another person
It’s certainly a good sign that the government is, at long last, taking the real value of intellectual property seriously – it is estimated that these changes in tax relief could benefit British business by around £60m every year.
If you think that these proposed changes could affect your business, make sure you speak to a specialist in R&D tax credits – if you’re not sure your current accountant has sufficient expertise in this area (and very few do), give us a ring on 01722 422300, and our intellectual property solicitors will be happy to recommend an accountant specialising in the field of R&D.
I just read a really interesting article in the Solicitors Journal dated October 25, 2011. It seems to prove that, yet again, necessity is the mother of invention. Apparently with the massive deficits currently suffered by many British pension funds, some innovative businesses are seeking to transfer their intellectual property rights to help shore up gaps in their stricken pension funds.
How does it work – it appears that businesses are transferring their intellectual property to a partnership or into what is referred to as a “special purpose vehicle” [SPV]. These intellectual property assets are then often used to generate royalty income over a typical 10 – 15 year period to the pension fund.
Amongst the many advantages of this scheme are the increased level of security for pension scheme trustees, not to mention the immediate reduction in the pension fund deficit and regular medium-term cash injection into the pension funds in question.
Amongst the businesses to have already taken advantage of this innovative approach are Redditch based engineering business, GKN, who have pledged royalty income from some of their trade marks to fill the hole in their pension scheme. Similarly in May 2011, the tour operator TUI, came to an agreement with the trustees of its pension schemes, to use the IP in their First Choice and Thompson brands in a similar manner.
Given the enormous pension fund deficits suffered by many British businesses, it will be interesting to see who follows suit.
Although for years the US has prided itself on being the world’s most vibrant economy, it has equally spent years procrastinating about improving its patent system – however on September 6, a major step towards patent law reform finally took place – when the America Invents Law passed the biggest hurdle in the Senate. It now seems likely that the new bill, backed by the President, will shortly be signed into law.
The America Invents Act introduces radical change to the US patent system. But it’s not without its critics. Among the proposed changes to protecting US intellectual property rights are the following;
Perhaps the biggest change is that, in future, patents will be granted to the “first to file“ rather than the “first to invent”, which is the basis of current US patent policy. This change is not without controversy – with those intellectual property lawyers opposed to this change arguing that it would give a significant advantage to large companies, with the ability to apply for patents with relative ease, over small businesses or individual inventors. There is a particular fear that the introduction of “first to file” could result in patents being applied for before the invention they are planning to protect is properly developed
The bill does, however, introduce new ways of challenging existing patents – which in future will require a court application but instead will be dealt with at the US Patent and Trademark Office instead – which it is hoped will provide both a swifter and cheaper way of challenging patent infringement.
Unfortunately one thing the bill does not tackle is funding – without more resources, it seems likely that the current massive one year backlog of outstanding patent applications will remain – surely a missed opportunity for a country so determined to claw its way out of recession.