12 January 2018

Northern Max - a new Healthcare Accelerator in Bradford

Bradford Royal Infirmary

Source Wikipedia

Jane Lambert

In Accelerators and Incubators in the Leeds City Region 22 April 2017 IP Yorkshire I wrote:
"Both accelerators and incubators help to launch fledgling businesses. Accelerators offer structured development and training with opportunities to attract funding for the most attractive businesses. Incubators are more like serviced offices with mentoring and other forms of business and technical support thrown in."
When I penned that article there were only four accelerators and all of them were in Leeds. I can now report the launch of a new one in Bradford for the healthcare industry called Northern Max. It came to my attention through a posting on the Yorkshire Business Desk: SMEs and start-ups embark on programme to bring innovative health solutions to market 12 Jan 2018

Northern Max describes itself as "a market-access focused 12-week accelerator programme that has been funded by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and AD:Venture."  AD:Venture supports start-ups and young business in their first 3 years of trading,within the Leeds City Region. Such support consists of "a tailored mix of practical advice, coaching, outcome focused events, academic support, incubation work space, finance brokerage, low rate loans and help".

The accelerator programme started on 8 Jan 2018 at the Digital Exchange in Little Germany. Businesses participating in the programme will have an opportunity to:
  • validate their technology and business models;
  • create and test minimum viable products; and
  • be introduced to potential customers, funders and investors.
They should leave with a clear understanding of growth strategy, funding options and market opportunities. At least some should have secured some sort of funding and all will have tested their assumptions in live NHS and care settings, and pitched to potential customers and investors.  The programme will be provided by Innov8tive Minds and the Digital Health Enterprise Zone ("DHEZ").

Neither the The Business Desk article nor the announcements on the AD:Venture or the DHEZ websites state whether participating businesses will be made aware of the dangers of inadvertently infringing other businesses' patents, trade marks or other intellectual property rights or of competitors exploiting their intellectual assets through failing to protect then properly, If they have not been alerted to those dangers, they should be.

Happily, the Intellectual Property Office ("IPO") has recently updated its IP Basics guidance.  The best time to start thinking about these matters is when writing a business plan.  As the IPO notes:
" Your business builds goodwill and recognition through your brand, product or service. This value builds up over time and becomes integral linked to your business’s IP assets. If used well, IP can offer a solid platform for any business to grow. How you plan, manage and protect your ideas should be a crucial feature in your business planning. What seems unimportant today could be worth millions of pounds in the future, if protected."
Businesses on the Northern Max programme can find additional information on how to incorporate IP into their business plans in Jane Lambert Putting IP at the Heart of Your Business Plan 2 Jan 2015 NIPC News and Jane Lambert Why every business plan should take account of intellectual property 3 April 2016 NIPC News,

In Getting Help, the IPO advises that the British Library Business and IP Centre supports entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses and will also give advice on creating a business plan. The British Library works with a number of public libraries around the country to provide similar advice locally at Business and IP Centres. The nearest Centre to Bradford is at Leeds Central Library.

Sometimes businesses need specialist professional advice and it is there that enormous care should be taken. Businesses requiring patents should consult a patent attorney and those needing trade marks a trade mark attorney. Law firms that are members of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association can advise on licensing, joint ventures, funding and other business transactions, They can also assist parties to resolve infringement and other disputes.  Barristers who subscribe to the Intellectual Property Bar Association support patent and trade mark attorneys and solicitors by advising on difficult points of law, drafting complex legal instruments and presenting cases before judges and hearing officers much in the way that consultant physicians and surgeons support GPs in medicine (see Jane Lambert IP Services from Barristers 6 April 2013 NIPC News).

I wish Innov8tive Minds, DHEZ, participating businesses and everyone involved in the Northern Max project every success.  Should any of them wish to discuss this article or IP generally they should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

5 January 2018

Agricultural Innovation in Yorkshire - Protecting New Plant and Seed Varieties

Farmland in East Yorkshire
Licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike s.0
Source Wikipedia 
Jane Lambert

I learned today from The Business Desk Yorkshire that Yorkshire has a small but growing science park specializing in agri-food innovation. The National Agri-Food Innovation Campus ("NFIC") occupies an 80-acre site at Sand Hutton near York. According to the occupants page of its website it has attracted 14 tenants including 4 government agencies and a firm of patent attorneys.

In this country, investment in developing new varieties of plants is protected by the Plant Varieties Act 1997 and Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights (“the Community plant variety regulation”).  The UK is also party to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants which protects investment new plant varieties internationally. I have written a number of articles on this legislation all of which can be accessed from my Plant Breeders' Right page.

S.6 (1) of the 1997 Act provides:
"Plant breeders’ rights shall have effect to entitle the holder to prevent anyone doing any of the following acts as respects the propagating material of the protected variety without his authority, namely—
(a) production or reproduction (multiplication),
(b) conditioning for the purpose of propagation,
(c) offering for sale,
(d) selling or other marketing,
(e) exporting,
(f) importing,
(g) stocking for any of the purposes mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (f) above, and
(h) any other act prescribed for the purposes of this provision."
Actions to restrain infringement or to recover damages for past infringements of those rights must be brought in the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (see CPR 63.2 (1) (b) (iii). These rights can be assigned, licensed or charged just like any other intellectual property right.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or plant breeders' rights in general should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.