In “An Alternative Business Model based on Quality” (Solo Independent IP Practitioners 5 Sep 2008) Barbara Cookson wrote:
“As business people know the best advisers are those which come personally recommended by other clients. A recommendation from a peer comes without bias but a business peer may not know whether he has received the best possible device only other advisers know that. “
Barbara went on to say that I was building a network that can leave Solo practioners running their own practices but with a platform that enables them to work in teams to provide the services the client needs. She added
“This is a great idea because there are business consumers who need experience and are offered only inexperience when they approach big branded law firms because they are compelled to ask for the lowest possible fee. “
The teams that I have been able to muster have had some notable successes. There are several successful businesses in the North of England that would not be here or at least not so successful without their help. The only limiting factor has been the anxiety of clients in these very difficulty clients whether to stick with the devil they know or to take the plunge with us.
For the last few years we have been able to give start-ups and small businesses a taster through the monthly drop in clinics in Yorkshire and the North-West but they had their drawbacks. First it was a lot of work for me. Secondly, they did not always make the best use of my or the clients’ time. If the client wanted to talk about his business plan it was no use talking to a barrister. Conversely, if he had just been on the business end of a search order and was struggling under the burden of ring binders it was no use talking to a trade mark agent.
The solution has been to put the clinics on-line at
Our clinics have always been different from those run by the PATLib libraries up and down the country in that they are more than just a chat with a patent agent. We can offer that too of, course, but also chats with other professionals such as accountants, business advisors, coaches, graphic designers, engineers, intellectual property strategists, product design consultants, solicitors, trade mark agents and, indeed, patent counsel.
Although all the examples of the problems we are asked to solve are hypothetical, they are typical of cases that we have solved before. And the solutions show how we would solve them now. For example, what we might do and who we would consult about an outrageous letter of claim or a request for funding.
We expect everyone who accepts one of our referrals to abide by our listing rules. That ensures the quality of service. If the quality of service slips we stop making referrals.