Whether you are running your own business or just thinking of doing so, you need to know about intellectual property. There are two reasons for that.
First, the law on IP is very complex and there are a lot of urban myths and misinformation on what is and what is not permissible. Consequently, it is all too easy inadvertently to infringe someone else's IP. If you do, the consequences could be dire. Some IP infringements are criminal offences the penalties for which have recently been increased, the costs of civil litigation are crippling and the remedies draconian
The other reason you should know about IP is that you will have spent a lot of time building a business or developing a product or service and you don't want other people to reap the benefit without your consent.
However, it takes a long time to qualify as a patent or trade mark attorney or specialist lawyer which is why high quality advice and representation do not come cheap. Happily, there are ways you can save money.
I give up to 12 hours of my time every month to creatives, entrepreneurs, inventors or others who need specialist advice but can't afford my usual fees. You can access my service simply by sending me a message on my contact form.
I can usually deal with most enquiries by email or telephone but there are some that require a referral to another professional advisor such as a patent or trade mark attorney, product design consultant, specialist insurance broker or a public library that is a member of the UK PatLib network.
If it appears to me that a client has an invention that might be patented or a design or trade mark that could be registered, I usually refer him or to one of the IP clinics operated by members of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (if there is one near the client's home or workplace) or to a local attorney who has agreed to offer the client up to 30 minutes of his or her time for free.
I also hold clinics in London and the North but I try not to replicate services that are available elsewhere. As a barrister, I advise patent and trade mark attorneys on difficult points of law, draft complex legal instruments and represent clients in the Business and Property Courts and the Intellectual Property Office (see IP Services from Barristers 6 April 2013 NIPC News and What do Start-up Entrepreneurs need to look for in a Good IP Lawyer? 23 Aug 2017 NIPC News). The sort of matters that I reserve to myself in my own clinics includes IP Strategy, complex licensing and other transactions and dispute resolution.
Most of my clinics in Yorkshire take place at the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre at Innovation Way in Wilthorpe on the second Tuesday of every month.