As start-ups and other small businesses are our market we work very closely with others who offer to help them such as other service providers, short and long term investors, inventors’ clubs and similar support networks. We do that at two levels:
- Professional networks which provide CPD training, referrals and other mutual support for solicitors, patent and trade mark attorneys, business support agencies, accountants, marketers, product design and development consultants, brand and design consultants and others; and
- Business clubs for small businesses and those who want to launch themselves into business such as inventors.
The model for this network is Huddersfield Intellectual Property which we started with local patent attorneys, solicitors, Business Link Yorkshire, the Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and others in 2004. The group hosted “Brass from Gumption” a day-long conference and exhibition on protecting intellectual assets at the Huddersfield Media Centre and the University. The conference was addressed by Trevor Baylis, Peter Bissell and other distinguished speakers and the exhibition was attended by the IP Office, Leeds Patent Library, Appleyard Lees, Baillie Walsh, Cobbetts, Harrison Goddard Footte and others.
Enthusiasm generated by the event led to our setting up regular IP clinics on the last Friday of every month at the Huddersfield Media Centre. These were later extended to Barnsley, Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Rotherham and York. To maintain the momentum we also set up inventors clubs in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield and sponsored the existing ones in Blackburn and Manchester.
The clinics and clubs generated demanded for a lot of professional services. We could advise on legal issues and draft licences, terms and conditions and other agreements but we had to refer clients who needed patents, trade marks and registered designs to patent and trade mark attorneys, litigation to solicitors, product development services to design consultants and so on. At first this was done informally but as businesses tended to rely on our recommendations we decided to put it on a formal basis and set up panels of professionals known as IP Yorkshire.
We require members of the IP Yorkshire panel to share our commitment to the NIPC Mission and to comply with our Panel Listing Rules. Membership of IP Yorkshire confers considerable benefits on panellists, not least the additional work generated by our endorsement but we do expect something in return, namely mutual support for the other members of the panel.
We have set up IP North-West on the model of IP Yorkshire to support our clients in North-West England and we plan to set up similar networks in the territories of each of the English regional development agencies as well as in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and beyond. Central to each network will be local NIPC Law counsel. NIPC Ltd. will select, train and support those regional members and provide them with all the facilities they need to support their local networks and communities.