29 November 2023

Innovate Local visits Halifax

Dean Clough Mills


Jane Lambert

United Kingdom Research and Innovation ("UKRI") was established by s,91 (1) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. It consists of 9 bodies one of which is Innovate UK. Innovate UK is the national innovation agency.  It helps businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services,

Innovate Local promotes UKRI and Innovate UK to the regions. On 14 Nov 2023, it held an event for West Yorkshire businesses at Dean Clough Mills in Halifax,  The day began with introductions from UKRI and Innovate UK executives, Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, and other local authority leaders.  It was followed by success stories from business owners.

A buffet lunch was served between 12:00 and 13:00 which offered a chance to visit the stands of local universities and agencies.  The University of Huddersfield stand was staffed by Prof. John Allport who teaches Turbocharger Engineering in the Department of Engineering and Technology.  Prof Allport and I had an interesting discussion on why relatively few women make careers in engineering.  In his view, too many girls (but not boys) are encouraged to believe at an early age that maths and science are not really for them.  Other countries do not seem to have that problem to anything like the same extent.   That accorded with my experience.  It may have a lot to do with very early specialization in England and Wales.

After lunch there was a choice of breakout sessions between 13:00 and 14:00:

  • "Inclusive Innovation - by and for everyone"
  • "Healthcare Innovation: funding and cluster opportunities" and 
  • "Supporting your Business Innovation Journey."
I chose "Healthcare Innovation! in the hope of hearing about such initiatives as Bradford University's Institute of Pharmaceutical innovation. There was plenty of information about the biomedical catalyst and support for SMEs in the healthcare technology sector.  There was an interesting case history from one of those companies.  There was some discussion about medical devices but nothing on pharma as such. However, I did learn that the West Yorkshore Combined Authority had an interest in health tech.  Through exploring its web pages on health tech I discovered a five year Healthtech Strategy for the region.

Between 14:00 and 15:00 the choice lay between:
  • "West Yorkshire Manufacturing Cluster"
  • "Women in Digital Innovation Network" and 
  • "Financing your Business Innovation Journey."
I attended the financing session and found it was the most interesting of the day.   There was a panel of angels and venture capitalists chaired by Basit Mohammed, Knowledge Transfer Manager ‑ Regional Investments Innovate UK KTN.  There was one entrepreneur who had actually started a business and it was interesting to see the tangible support that was actually available.   As most of the seats had been taken by the time I arrived I found myself an excellent heckling position at the back of the room.  I asked about valuation of start-ups when their only assets were a patent application at best.  I was looking to the private equity investors and I did not really get a clear answer about any of that.   I also asked the VCs about flotations on the Alternative Investment Market  for successful scale-ups.   I got the impression that it was still early days.

This is trhe second Innovate Local event that I have attended,   I was at a similar event in Bradford last year (see Innovate Local West Yorkshire 22 Oct 2022).   It is very important for intellectual property lawyers - particularly barristers - to attend events like these. It enables us to keep tabs on what is happening to businesses that may require legal advice and representation.   Anyone who wants to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 during UK office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

18 April 2023

World IP Day and Start-up Leeds

Author Lad 2011 Licence CC BY-SA 4.0 Source Wikimedia Commons


Jane Lambert

In Where to Learn about IP for Free which I posted to NIPC Inventors Club on 10 April 2023 I discussed the Intellectual Property Office's Online Training Tools and how to access them and the nationwide network of Business and Intellectual Property Centres ("BIPC").  My nearest Business and IP Centre is at Leeds Central Library in Calverly Street.  I know it very well because I helped Ged Doonan and Stef Stephenson to set up the Leeds Inventors Club and I chaired almost every one of its meetings before the library became part of the BIPC network.

I have just received notice from the Leeds BIPC of two events that I particularly commend:

For those who are not already aware of it 
"World Intellectual Property Day is an international festival of creativity and innovation which takes place on or around 26 April of every year. It celebrates the entry into force of the international agreement that established the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO"), the UN specialist agency that assists governments to protect investment in creativity, enterprise and innovation ("intellectual assets") through a bundle of laws known collectively as "intellectual property".

You can find more information about the day on the World IP Day page of NIPC Wales. The event at Calverley Street will be a celebration of inspirational women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs. The Business and IP Team will give a short talk about "fantastic inventions created by women that changed the world and made an impact on everyday life".  According to the Eventbrite card "an opportunity to meet and network with fellow entrepreneurs and discuss the challenges and the advantages of women in business."

Sadly, I won't be at the Leeds event because I shall be on my way to Anglesey to chair the Menai Science Park's World IP Day Seminar as part of Wales's celebrations of World IP Day. That event starts at 12:30 which is half an hour after the event in Leeds is due to finish and it will take place online as well as in front of a live audience at the science park.  Everybody who attends the Calverley Street event - indeed everybody in Yorkshire - is cordially invited to attend the Welsh event online and they will learn a lot if they do.  In keeping with the themes of the event, two young women entrepreneurs, Anna Roberts who set up Explorage.com and Anna Burke who set up Animates Technologies will talk about their businesses and how they use IP. The discussion is likely to focus on trade marks, database rights, trade secrets, copyright and maybe even patents.  Chipping in with expert advice will be patent and attorney Louise Carr from Cameron IP.  In the audience, there will be other experts such as Ian Wishart of Sybaris Legal and IP Insurance and I will cover anything that others may miss such as enforcement and transactions.  To attend the Welsh event via Zoom click here.

In Invention-Con 2022: The US Patent and Trademark Office's Online Conference for Inventors, Makers and Entrepreneurs I wrote on 22 July 2022 in NIPC Inventors Club:

"There is a great need for practical advice on patent, design and trade mark prosecution, grant, equity and loan funding, setting up businesses and scaling up which Invention-Con appears to deliver."

Start-up Leeds seems to go part of the way towards meeting that need.  I could not find an Eventbrite  card or any details on Leeds BIPC's website for this year's workshop but the following events took place last year according to the card for last year:

"Friday 14th April (9.30 - 16.30)
  • Building the foundations of a successful business
  • Business planning using the Business Model Canvas
  • How to price your products and services
  • How to forecast your cashflow
You’ll also find out more about the free support on offer through the Business & IP Centre, including the exclusive resources available for new and existing businesses


Saturday 15th April (10.00 - 15.30)
  • An Introduction to Marketing
  • Tax and bookkeeping
  • An overview of copyright and trade marks
There’ll also be the opportunity for networking, a chance to find out more about the Business & IP Centre and ask your questions."

Although I would have expected a little bit more about IP such as how it should be integrated into a business plan, enforcement, insurance and at least an introduction to patents and trade secrecy anybody attending this course would get a good grounding.

Anyone wishing to discuss this matter further can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page, 

8 March 2023

IP Clinic FAQs


Jane Lambert

I am delighted to resume my intellectual property clinics at the Barnsley Business Village.  

Until the pandemic, I used to hold in-person consultations at the Business Village between 16:00 and 18:00 on the second Tuesday of every month.  During the pandemic, I transferred these online which enabled me to talk to clients at any mutually convenient time.   That was entirely satisfactory in most instances but there were a few cases when it would have been helpful to have met the client in person.  

I  can now do that under arrangements that I have just agreed with the management of the Business Village (see  Virtual IP Clinic with Jane Lambert – IP Barrister on the Business Village's website).   As it is over 3 years since I last held a clinic in Barnsley I thought it would be useful to remind those who could benefit from the service with these Frequently Asked Questions.

1. What exactly is an IP Clinic?

An IP clinic is a free consultation with an expert in intellectual property law,   Such an expert may be a patent or trade mark attorney or a solicitor or barrister specializing in IP.  Members of those professions have different training and do different jobs but we all have similarly detailed knowledge of IP law.  

Consultations with me are very much like telephone or Zoom conferences or conferences in chambers except that they are free and limited to approximately 30 minutes.    That is usually long enough to dispose of most enquiries but if not I will refer the clients to other professionals (who may also offer a free 30-minute consultation) or other sources of information.

2.  What sort of Questions are you asked?
All sorts.

I think the most common is when an entrepreneur is thinking of starting a new business and needs to know the sort of steps he or she should take to protect the business from copycats and avoid disputes with established businesses.   I advise on confidentiality agreements, trade mark registration, copyright in trade literature, and if there is a new product, options on patenting and design registration   I  warn against disclosing trade and business secrets, copying other businesses' Ts and Cs and photos and identify other professionals who can assist further.  

Another very common question is about who owns IP resulting from collaboration with others such as product design consultants, universities or just friends and family.  I can usually point to template agreements such as the Lambert Toolkit which offer workable solutions.

Often I am asked to help when an application for a trade mark, registered design or patent has gone wrong.   That typically occurs when a business owner or inventor has decided not to instruct a patent or trade mark attorney.   Usually, it is possible to save the application but sometimes the best advice is to consult an attorney and start again. 

Occasionally, a client comes to me with a court order or letter before action and several ring binders of evidence and asks what can be done about it.   I can usually advise on immediate steps to prevent the situation from getting worse and suggest a way forward for resolving the dispute in the medium term.

3.   Do I have to live in Barnsley to consult you?

No!  You can consult me by phone or Zoom from literally anywhere in the world but if you want a face-to-face meeting you have to come to me.  I practise primarily from 4-5 Gray's Inn Square in London but you can also make an appointment to see me at the Barnsley Business Village, Huddersfield Media Centre or the Menai Science Park in North Wales.

4.    Can I make multiple clinic appointments in the same matter?

No!   If you need multiple appointments you are probably in long-term litigation or negotiations in which case you need to instruct solicitors and counsel in the usual way.   I can help you find such representation and point you to specialist insurers and litigation funders.

5.   How can I consult you?

You can make an appointment by calling 020 7404 5252 and asking for David Penson or whoever may be looking after his work while he is away from his phone. Tell David that you want a 30-minute pro bono appointment with me in the IP Clinic.  He will do the rest.    Alternatively, send me a message through my contact form.   If you want a face-to-face meeting in Barnsley then fill out my initial advice and signposting form. 

Whichever way you come I look forward to meeting you.

7 October 2022

Innovate Local West Yorkshire

Jane Lambert

The second West Yorkshire Innovation Festival has been taking place this week.  It is a celebration of the ingenuity and enterprise of the millions who live or work in that metropolitan county.  Here is a programme of the events that have been taking place during this Festival.

I spent yesterday at Innovate Local West Yorkshire which took place at the Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford.  InnovateUK is the national innovation agency. It supports business-led innovation in all sectors and technologies.  The event, which was staged in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the West Yorkshire Innovation Network, consisted of an all-day conference of local political and business leaders and academics and an exhibition.

The conference was divided into a plenary session in the morning and parallel workshops in the afternoon.  There were breaks for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.   After a welcome from the leader of Bradford City Council, the Chief Executive of Innovate UK and the Mayor of West Yorkshire there was a panel discussion on what is meant by innovation and related topics. That was generally platitudinous but I welcomed Kamran Rashid's call to think regionally rather than globally.  I also noted Mark Roberts's assertion that Yorkshire had the fastest-growing digital sector outside London.

 After coffee, we heard from various entrepreneurs and academics.   I was particularly impressed with Saille Villegas who had come to Leeds from Mexico to study computing and stayed to set up the medical technology company SEEAI Ltd.  Having recently read Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and having watched the film and ballet of the same name I have developed an interest in Mexico.  I had hoped to buttonhole her to find out why she was drawn to this country rather than the United States which is just across the border and has a free trade agreement with her government and Canada but I could not find her in the crowd.

Another impressive presentation was on AMPI (the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute).  This is a collaboration between the National Physical Laboratory, Rochdale Development Agency, the Universities of Huddersfield, Leeds,  Manchester and Salford and other organizations to create new machines and technology to manufacture products and materials for the future.  The Institute, which is based in Rochdale, carries out research. consultancy, teaching and training.   The presenter, whose name I did not catch, reminded the audience that manufacturing is still important to the British economy,

Yet another memorable talk was given by Ian Laidler of  Wayland Additive which develops IP-rich technologies.   Dr Laidler said that the company held 10 patent families and that a further 4 were on their way.  I have to say in passing that I was surprised not to meet any other IP lawyers or patent or trade mark attorneys even though IP is key to safeguarding investment in innovation.   Dr Laidler explained the advantages of his company's inventions.   He finished by speaking about the age range of its employees ranging from gap-year students to pensioners.   All had contributed to the company's success.

The workshops that I attended in the afternoon were on space and healthcare.  Mandy Ridyard of Space Hub Yorkshire profiled the Yorkshire space industry and discussed the opportunities that I had mentioned in Commercial Exploitation of Space: Space Industry Act 2019 in NIPC Law on 10 April  2018.   She mentioned some of the facilities for space research and collaboration that are available at NEXUS Leeds.  She was disappointed that Yorkshire was the only region that had yet to receive inward investment.  In the Q&A that followed her talk, I ventured to suggest that might be because most of the new investment in space in this country was directed to launch technology.   Yorkshire does not have a spaceport but Harlech which is a 2-hour drive away does.   I told her about the Menai Science Park's webinar to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day and suggested that she should talk to Emily Roberts of the science park and David Young of the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre.  The other main speaker on space was Emma Hatton of the Satellite Catapult.

We learned more about NEXUS in the healthcare workshop and the accelerator programme for the businesses that wished to supply the NHS.  Next came Professor Liz Breen of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of Bradford.  Prof Breen discussed the Digital Health Enterprise Zone of which she is the Director.

The last session was on private funding.   We heard from Jordan Dargue who had recently set up a network of women business angels to fund women entrepreneurs in the North of England,  Willian Schaffer of Mercia Asset Management and Sophie Dale-Black of the British Business Bank.  I asked Mr Schaffer how many of his companies achieved a flotation on the AIM or were acquired at a premium.   He replied that out of every 10 companies, 2 to 3 might fail altogether, another 2 to 3 might return the investment, yet another 2 to 3 might earn a small return and perhaps 1 or 2 might be "unicorns."   The afternoon was wound up by Ian Edwards of Innovate UK Edge who summariaed the earlier presentations in his "Finance Escalator."

Anyone wishing to discuss this article can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page,

5 September 2022

York Minster Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills

Author MatzeTrier Licence  CC BY-SA 3.0 Source Wikimedia Commons


Jane Lambert

The fire at Notre Dame, the Christchurch earthquake and the 1984 fire at York Minster are reminders of the fragility and vulnerability of the world's cathedrals.  The skills of the craftsmen who erected and decorated those places of worship are as much in demand at present as they were when those buildings were constructed. 

An initiative to keep those skills alive is The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management which will establish a campus for research, education and training in stonemasonry, glass painting and setting, joinery and other traditional skills.  The Centre of Excellence will comprise a Heritage Quad and a Works and Technology Hub.  The Minster has published a video on Youtube which offers a virtual tour of the campus.  According to Miran Rahman, the City Council has now approved plans for the new construction (see York Minster Centre of Excellence plans win approval 2 Sept 2022 TheBusinessDesk).

None of the announcements in the press or on the Minster's website mentions intellectual property but at least some of the works of the craftsmen and women at the Centre of Excellence are likely to generate or be capable of generating substantial.  Most of the works will be works of artistic craftsmanship within the meaning of s.4 (1) (c) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  The Centre and Quad are likely to acquire goodwill which can best be protected by trade mark registration.  There will be plenty of trade secrets and possibly even some inventions at the Works and Technology Hub.

Like most research and teaching institutions the Centre is likely to develop an IP policy if it has not already done so.  In many cases, the works of those craftsmen and women will belong to their employers but in some instances, it will be theirs to exploit.  Happily, there are a lot of patent and trade mark agencies and specialist IP lawyers in York.  There is also an IP clinic at Leeds Central Library.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

8 May 2022

Opportunities for Yorkshire Business in Space

Photo Alan Saunders Licence CC BY 2,0  Source Wikimedia Commons


Jane Lambert

The above photograph shows the space suit worn by Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut  I mention her because this is an article about opportunities for Yorkshire business in space.   Sharman is a Yorkshire woman, born and educated in Sheffield, who seized her opportunity to go into space with both hands.   

On Wednesday, 11 May 2022 the Leeds City Region Supply Chaim Programme and Space Hub Yorkshire will hold what they describe as "an event" at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield on Opportunities for Manufacturers in the Space Sector - How To Guide, According to the Eventbrite card,

"[the] event will comprise of a number of engaging talks giving an academic, business and legal focus on how you can grasp these opportunities, as well as a case study of a business that is already working successfully in the space sector. There will also be several exhibitors from partner organisations who will be on hand should you wish to have a chat with them."

The event (which is free) will start at 09:15 and end at 13:00.

The reason I mention that event is that the space industry is one of the few sectors of the British economy that are likely to grow over the next few years notwithstanding Brexit, covid, inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That is because world demand for space related products and services is growing.  As I said in Commercial Exploitation of Space: Space Industry Act 2018 (10 April 2018 NIPC Law):

"The value of the global space market is between £155 and £190 billion and likely to rise to £400 billion by 2030 according to the Space Sector Report 1 which was prepared for the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European Union. The Industrial Strategy white paper states that the United Kingdom has about 6.5% of that market and that the government hopes to increase that share to 10% by 2030."

According to the HM Government's National Space Strategy which was published last September, these figures remain on track.

One of the reasons why the government expects the British share of the space market to grow rapidly is that the United Kingdom is developing a satellite launch capability as I noted in Space Industry - Licensing Spaceports on 11 April 2018 in NIPC Law. So far, the government has licensed space ports in Scotland, Cornwall and North Wales.  The nearest to this region is Spaceport Snowdonia at Llanbedr near Harlech which I discussed in It is about Rocket Science on 21 April 2022 and The Space Industry in Wales on 27 Dec 2021 in NIPC Wales.

The expansion of the UK space industry will give rise to many issues over contracts, funding, liability for damage to property on earth and in space from debris and my own speciality intellectual property.  I discussed some of those issues in  The Role of Intellectual Property in Space Commerce on 19 July 2019 in NIPC Cornwall. I have been following those issues since the early 1980s.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or the legal issues relating to space in general is welcome to call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

20 November 2021

Is the Northern Powerhouse a Casualty of Brexit?

Author Cnbrb Licence  CCO 1.0 Source Wikimedia Commons

Jane Lambert

The announcements in the Department for Transport's Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands of the cancellation of HS3 and the spur of the HS2 to Leeds and Sheffield were as predictable as they were regrettable. It would appear from Helen Pidd's article Government planning ‘to put HS2 on stilts through Manchester’ in The Guardian on 19 Nov 2021 that even the western spur is to be constructed on the cheap. The reason for the announcements is that the current government regards the Northern Powerhouse project as an exercise in regional development, not unlike similar projects of the last 100 years, rather than the construction of a conurbation of 6 million people to serve as a vibrant industrial, commercial and cultural counterweight to London.

As I said in Northern Powerhouse in 2017:

"The Northern Powerhouse was conceived in the days of the Coalition by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the former Chancellor, George Osborne, as a strategy to stimulate economic growth in the North of England by developing the principal cities of the North of England into a counterweight to London through improving transport links and investing heavily in science, technology, the arts and education (see the speech by the Rt Hon George Osborne We need a Northern powerhouse 23 June 2014)."

I added:

"Sadly, the present Chancellor, Philip Hammond, lacked his predecessor’s vision. His Northern Powerhouse Strategy has diluted and downgraded the idea of an integrated Liverpool to Leeds conurbation as a viable counterweight to London to a general regional development programme like many others before it for the area north of the Humber and Mersey to the Scottish border."

Hammond has been replaced by Sunak but his vision appears to be just as limited. 

In more than one sense, the Northern Powerhouse is a casualty of Brexit.   Osborne literally as he was removed from his post by May. Clegg lost his seat the year before the referendum but it was pressure for a referendum that swept the Tories back to power with a sufficient majority to govern alone.  However, maybe the idea of a mega-city in the North of England makes less sense when the domestic market suddenly shrinks from 510 million to 67 million.

Before Brexit maps of Britain showed the spurs of HS2 extending from Manchester to Glasgow in the west and from Leeds to Newcastle and Edinburgh in the east but what is the point if Scotland secedes?  The thought that the future boundaries of the state will run from Berwick to Carlisle may well have coloured the decision to abandon a tunnel to Piccadilly and run the new trains into the centre of Manchester on stilts,

Anyone wishing to discuss this article can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.