THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

10 posts categorized "Copyright"

05 July 2017

How Intellectual Property helped Julie Deane start a £10 million business from her kitchen table

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Wednesday 5 July 2017 is British IP Day – a welcome opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of Intellectual Property.

So many small businesses lack IP awareness and understanding, but IP is something of an unsung hero and can prove critical in making or breaking a business.

The Business & IP Centre team are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and SMEs understand what IP is and why it’s important, what IP they might have created and how they might increase their business success and profitability by protecting and exploiting that IP in the future. Over the years the team have supported thousands of small businesses unlock the value of their IP, and much of the support we provide in the Centre uses case studies and real-life stories to demonstrate how having a handle on your IP gives you a huge commercial advantage.

One such example is Julie Deane OBE, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, who has taken her business from the kitchen table and a £600 start-up budget to a global success story with a turnover of £10 million. Along the way Julie has overcome numerous business challenges including managing designers, manufacturers and overseas distributors, establishing web and physical retail sites around the globe and dealing with thousands of imitator brands. Here, in a free 30 minute podcast with the Intellectual Property Office, Julie lays the truth bare on how she’s developed strategies to tackle copycat websites, build the brand, keep putting the quality of the product at the heart of the business and “hang on to the passion that made you start the business in the first place.”

 

Podcast IPO

 

Whether it’s British IP Day’ or just a normal day, here are our 3 ‘top tips’ for what you need to know when it comes to your Intellectual Property:

  1. Think about trade marks - Is your business name protectable in the countries that you wish to trade? Is it already being used or does the word have another meaning in a different country. Future investors will want to know that you have the rights to trade in the countries that they wish to trade in, and you need to consider this right from the start to give your business the best chance of success.
  2. If you’re creating a ‘thing’ - Do your research before filing for a patent; is there a market for your product? It is expensive and takes a long time to protect your idea so make sure you do your market research and can be confident that somebody will buy it at the end of the day. If you have paid for your product to be patented and want somebody to manufacture it for you, you also need to ensure you have agreements in place limiting their rights to your initial idea or design.
  3. Founder’s agreement - It is easy to set out a document with your business partner right at the start when setting up your business agreeing things like % of ownership and what should happen in the case of a dispute, or if one of you wish to sell then business and the other one doesn’t. Once a dispute has started it is much harder and messier so you need to make sure all parties are clear on this from day one.

You can find further help, support and information on IP in any of the eleven Business & IP Centres up and down the country, including the British Library in King’s Cross. Speak to any one of our specialist staff face-to-face, over the phone or by email. You can also log on to our free of charge online workshops to grow your knowledge about IP, and increase your chances of business success.

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Julie Deane in the Business & IP Centre

 Julie Deane is Entrepreneur in Residence at the British Library and a huge champion for ambitious business owners. She is set to give even more advice and practical tips on 11 July at the Library’s Scale-up Summit alongside Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bicycles. Cambridge Satchel and Brompton recently launched a range of colour-matching bags and bikes where the satchel fitted perfectly to the handlebars. This ‘made-in-heaven’ brand match caught the attention of the press and delivered extremely high sales. Will and Julie will be giving the opening keynote presentation on ‘Getting your business in the media’ which is not to be missed.

Book your ticket here.

Brompton
The Cambridge Satchel Company / Brompton Bikes collaboration

 

 

20 July 2015

Top 5 Intellectual Property Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

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Intellectual Property (IP) law can be a minefield, particularly for start-ups and SMEs that either don’t have the necessary experience or resources. As a partner to the Business & IP Centre and at our firm of patent and trademark attorneys, London IP, we work with small businesses to sort out IP problems that could have been avoided if the right steps had been taken at the right time. So, to help you avoid any problems with IP we have put together a list of our top five IP mistakes (and how to avoid them).

1. Being scared of IP and ignoring it

 There is a myth that IP is an expensive business, and no doubt it can be. However, really you can spend as much as you want to. The UK official fees for registered designs are £60, for trademarks fees start at £170 and for patents £230. Indeed, the official fees to obtain a registered design that covers the whole of the EU are only EUR350!

If you use a patent or trademark attorney to help you then you will need to pay their fees as well, but compared to the cost of many other business expenses such as rents and business rates IP isn’t all that expensive. For example, the cost to get a UK patent granted could be anywhere in the region of £1500 to £4000 spread over five years or so. For a potential twenty year monopoly, and a halving of corporation tax (through the patent box tax scheme), that may be a very worthwhile investment.

Also, it’s worth knowing that IP law is actually quite generous in that it gives you free IP rights that you don’t have to do anything to obtain other than create something that is worthy of being deemed to be protected. The most well-known of these rights is copyright, but there are others.

For example, any designs you create may be automatically protected for three years by EU unregistered design right, and for up to 15 years by UK unregistered design right.

That said, unregistered design rights are not as strong as registered rights as unregistered rights (other than the ‘passing off’ right for unregistered trademarks) are only infringed by copying, whereas registered rights provide an exclusive right meaning that they can be infringed even if the original work has not been copied.

Thus, it must be recommended that you register your IP rights if possible.

2. Being fooled by scam invoices

The publishing of applicant and inventor names and addresses is essential to the transparency of the IP system as the public needs to know who owns a particular IP right.

Unfortunately, all this information can also be used by criminals, so if you do choose to register any IP rights then it is almost certain that you will receive one or more very official-looking letters from rogue companies that try to scam applicants for patents, trademarks and registered designs.

These scams can simply be an invoice that appears to be from a ‘patent office’ or a ‘register’. The amounts of money requested vary, but are sometimes quite significant.

The UK Government seems to be generally powerless to stop most these scams as they are often run from overseas

Beware.

3. Not registering IP at the right time

There is nothing more disheartening than a client describing what sounds to be a marvellous invention with a view to protecting it with a patent and the client commenting ‘it’s selling really well’.

To obtain valid patent protection in most of the world a patent application must be filed before any non-confidential disclosure of an invention.

So before you file a patent application for your invention you can’t sell it, put on a crowd-funding website, use it in public, etc., etc.

You can of course talk to third parties in confidence without jeopardizing your chances of obtaining valid patent protection. You may wish to use confidentiality agreements with third parties just so it is clear that everyone understood that the discussions were confidential.

As an aside it is worth noting that all correspondence with patent attorneys is inherently confidential both under common law and their code of professional conduct, so using confidentiality agreements with patent attorneys is quite unnecessary.

It’s not just patents though; many countries of the world require registered design applications to be filed before any non-confidential disclosure of a design in order to grant valid protection.

Furthermore the trademark system in many ways operates on a first-to-file basis so trademark applications should be filed as early as possible to safeguard future use of the mark and to minimize the chances of expensive and protracted disputes with owners of later-filed conflicting trademarks.

Many trademark disputes would never have occurred if a relevant trademark had been registered when use of the mark started.

In summary, IP should be considered at the very outset of any new venture to try to make sure that patent, trademark and design applications are filed at the appropriate time.

4. Ignoring infringement issues

It should be appreciated that IP is double-edged sword and along with protecting your own IP rights you need to careful not to infringe existing IP.

As mentioned above, registered IP rights provide the owner with the exclusive right to use the IP in the territories covered. This means that you may believe that what you are doing is original but you could be infringing an existing right.

This is the case even if what you are doing is in fact original as registered IP rights can be broader in scope than the thing that they were created to protect.

For example trademark registrations give the owner the right to stop use of identical and similar marks, and registered designs protect against designs with the same ‘overall impression’.

Often we see clients obsess about protecting ‘their’ idea with a patent, and ignoring the fact that someone else might have thought of it before (perish the thought!).

So before spending money on branding, prototyping and tooling, try to make sure that whatever it is that you are developing isn’t going to infringe.

If it does infringe and you can’t obtain a license, then unless the IP can somehow be worked around you may need to completely reconsider your project.

5. Not understanding IP ownership issues with commissioned works

If you pay someone to build you a house then you own the house once the work is complete.

IP doesn’t work like that unless the ‘builder’ is legally an employee, so problems regularly arise with commissioned works, where the person doing the work is paid money for a project, but is not an employee.

For example, if you commission someone to design a logo or a product, or to write something for your website then (unless there is an agreement in place to the contrary) the person that does the work will own all of the IP rights when the work is done.

Because this is so counterintuitive a lot of disputes about the ownership of intellectual property arise. Indeed, if the law on this were to be changed a lot of IP lawyers would be out of a job!

It is therefore very important to have a clear agreement at the outset of any commissioning process about who will own all the IP once the work is completed and to ensure that, if desired, any IP rights created are legally transferred to the commissioning party.

 

David Warrilow, Patent & Trademark Attorney London IP, on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

21 April 2015

Copying – right or wrong?

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Across the Business & IP Centre National Network and at Newcastle Libraries, home of the Business & IP Centre Newcastle, we believe it’s important for everyone to have a think about copying. We want individuals and businesses to know about their rights to use content and creations that are either in the public domain or under an open license - and to learn more about copyright generally. As we say in our intellectual property workshops make sure you “don’t infringe!”

That’s why we are having a bit of an alternative event in Newcastle on 27April. Copying – right or wrong? is a question and answer session with author and activist Cory Doctorow and law lecturer Rebecca Moosavian. Cory Doctorow makes several of his books available for free download on his website (under a Creative Commons license) and Rebecca Moosavian’s research focuses on the appropriateness of applying property rights to culture.

Copy-right or copy-wrong?

We know that to copy something is wrong; it’s been ingrained in us since we were children - and as we grew up copying took the name of ‘plagiarism’. Whether your interests are listening to music, appreciating artwork, watching films or TV series, we know copying a song, a film or a TV show without permission is wrong. Every time we watch a DVD we are told that copying the DVD is piracy. Websites are often closed down because of infringement of copyright – the right given to creators or owners of the intellectual property to control what is done with their works and YouTube videos are removed. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were more talked about for being found guilty by a US court of copying the late Marvin Gaye’s songs than for their musical talent (the court did not make any comments on the latter).

CC BY-NC-SA Chris Messina (cropped)
CC BY-NC-SA Chris Messina (Cropped ; Original picture on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/6709784133)

And yet, I copy. Yes. You do too. We all copy. As you can imagine, I would never admit to doing anything illegal and I am certainly not accusing you, of committing any crimes either! That must mean there are cases where copying is right, legal and even encouraged. For example, you buy a CD, then copy it onto your computer, then copy all the tracks again on your MP3 player so you can listen to the album on the go. That is perfectly legal - and it has been very clearly so in the UK since the last changes to copyright law came into force in November 2014. So let’s see what the law does allow.

When it is legal to copy

-       Copyright does not last forever - even though new laws can change its duration, copyright has an end – in most cases, count 70 years after the end of the year in which the work’s creator died. What happens to the work after that? It enters the public domain – it belongs to everyone, and anyone can use it, without asking permission.

-       Copyright exceptions - the law recognises that there are cases when we do not need to ask for permission to re-use a work. For example, when we make a copy for private use (like with our CD), or we copy and publish an extract for review purposes, or when creating a parody of a famous picture by copying it and adding something humorous to it.

-       Open licenses - sometimes the copyright owner will publish their work and tell you it is fine for you to copy it without asking for their permission. The most common way to do this is to use Creative Commons licenses – like the ones on the pictures illustrating this post. CC BY-SA on the image below means “this work is licensed under a Creative Commons license; you can use it without asking for permission as long as you credit the author and share it under the same license”.

CC BY SA Nina Paley - Permission (2)
Mimiandeunice.com CC BY-SA Nina Paley

Copying, business and innovation

But let’s get back to business. How does all this apply to you as an entrepreneur? When you create something, you are proud of its originality and inventiveness (and rightly so); you would be horrified if someone copied you. In business, entrepreneurs legitimately want to stop others from copying them: if a competitor copies your unique selling point, then how are you going to differentiate yourself in the market? In the Business & IP Centre Network and the other PATLIB centres you can discuss with an adviser how best to protect your creations against copying. We will tell you all about copyright, but also designs, patents and trade marks.

Some large companies, like Dyson, have an impressive intellectual property strategy to protect their ideas. However, other companies like the one behind the Sriracha sauce has a more lenient strategy and encourages others to use their product name in order to generate free advertising and Elon Musk recently announced that other companies are now welcome to copy and use Tesla’s patented technology. Each company needs to think about what is the right approach for their business.

There are also industries that thrive on a type of copying – one that is called “inspiration”. Think about fashion, music, art, etc. It poses some pertinent questions for business owners; how would you react to another business copying you? Would your reaction be different if you were copied by individuals? Do you think people who copy and share your content on social networks without your permission are right, or wrong? This World Intellectual Property Day take the opportunity to get informed and discuss the role of intellectual property to encourage and control innovation and enterprise in your business.

If you are not able to join us in Newcastle for Copying – right or wrong? on 27 April you can still follow the event on Twitter using #CmnsR4ever and let us know in the comments: what do you think? When is it right to copy? When is it wrong? What should be made legal / illegal in terms of copying?

Aude Charillon on behalf of the Business & IP Centre Newcastle

Aude is Library and Information Officer at the Business & IP Centre Newcastle and leads the Commons are Forever project, which aims to empower participants about our rights to use creative works that are free of copyright, and to in turn share what we create with others.

10 April 2015

Fight Intellectual Property Fraud

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At the British Library Business & IP Centre we help small business owners, inventors and entrepreneurs understand their intellectual property and how to protect it. An idea, whether it’s an invention, a brand name or a song can be protected with a patent, trade mark, copyright or registered design.

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However, there are now many intellectual property frauds or scams operating which could jeopardise your business.  We have heard our share of horror stories here in the Business & IP Centre. Just recently the Intellectual Property Office issued a warning about misleading invoices which ask people to pay for services from unofficial sources. If you don’t want to be caught out and fall into this trap you need to know about the four common types of fraud that could potentially harm your business.

The most familiar types of intellectual property fraud you may come across include:

1. Database invoices

These claim you need to pay for your patent, trade mark, or design in order to be included on a database or register. However, once you’ve registered your patent or registered design with the Intellectual Property Office, there is no need for further payment as it’s included in the registration fee.

2. Fake renewal invoices

You may receive what appears to be an alert that your intellectual property is about to expire, demanding money for it to be renewed. Some unscrupulous companies send invoices earlier than the official intellectual property offices do, and while they will usually pass on the actual renewal fee, they will also charge you a grossly inflated handling fee. If your patent or trade mark attorney is administering renewals for you, just ignore the invoices. If you are handling renewals yourself and you receive an apparent renewal demand, go to the intellectual property office website and check when the official renewal date is and how to pay it.

3. Extending your intellectual property to cover other countries

This can be expensive and you should really consider whether you want to do this from the start. Beware of anyone contacting you exaggerating the ease and necessity of protecting your intellectual property in another country you are not trading in as you only have to extend your intellectual property to cover other countries if you intend to do business there.

4. “Invention promotion” scams

These are organisations that advertise for invention ideas and offer to develop them into a commercialised product for you, in exchange for a fee. There are reputable companies that can help you with prototyping, patenting and marketing (such as our partners Thames Productions, Bang Creations, and Ideas21). However, there are other companies that will do very little and charge inflated fees for it. We have met customers in the Centre who have spent five-figure sums for “market research” and “patent search” services that produced limited results compared to what they could have achieved using a business advice centre. Generally, you should be suspicious of any company that suggests you can earn huge amounts of money from an invention concept without putting a lot of effort into the technical development or business planning.

The good news is that the official intellectual property offices around the world are trying to stop fraudulent companies by complaining to marketing regulators like the Advertising Standards Authority here in the UK, and prosecuting them. As a business owner it is important to be aware of existing scams; make sure you read the small-print which can often include a “we are not official” disclaimer, and if you are still unsure contact the Intellectual Property Office or the Business & IP Centre for further assistance.

Philip Eagle on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

07 January 2015

Business & IP Centre webinars - learning wherever you are

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Here at the Business & IP Centre we strive to assist businesses looking to start up and grow in a number of ways: they can explore the research resources in our reading room, attend our events or book in for a 121 session to discuss their idea. One of the most popular services we offer are our workshops - run by centre staff and expert partners, they help start-ups, inventors and entrepreneurs get to grips with a number of crucial business areas, from intellectual property to social media. 

Most of our workshops are held onsite in our dedicated workshop rooms - however, we recognise that busy entrepreneurs aren't always able to make it into the Centre in person. So, like the businesses we see each day, we strive to be innovative, harness technology and adapt to our customers' needs, and therefore offer a programme of free online webinars accessible to anyone - in any location - from their computer. Alongside the National Network, the webinars are a way to reach beyond our presence in London; helping entrepreneurs across the country and even the world – we’ve had attendees from New York to Newcastle.

Attendees simply need to book online and log in on the day, and one of our team will talk you through an online presentation, with an opportunity to ask questions at the end.

Over the next few months, with funding from the Intellectual Property Office, we are running a series of intellectual property webinars, covering patents, designs and copyright. These webinars will introduce the different forms of intellectual property protection, guide attendees through searching for previous registrations, and show them how to protect their work. Wherever you are, if you've ever wanted to learn about IP while still in your PJs, these could be for you!

Webinars are displayed on our 'Workshops and Events' page - a taster of what's coming up online is below. 

  Webinar image

Introducing Patents

Friday 16 January 1pm – 2pm

A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made, and can be a key asset in business. This webinar will explain the basics behind patent protection and registration, and how to use internet databases and resources to search for patents. The session will include a live demonstration of a patent search to guide delegates through the process.

 

Introducing Registered Designs

Friday 13 February 1pm – 2pm

A registered design protects the appearance of a product. This webinar will explain the basics behind registered design protection and registration, and how to use internet databases and resources to search for designs. The session will include a live demonstration of a registered design search to guide delegates through the process.

 

Introducing Copyright

Friday 13 March 1pm – 2pm

Copyright protects original creations, from literary and artistic works to software. This webinar will explains the basics behind copyright protection, including eligible works, duration of protection, and an introduction to protecting and managing your copyright as well as using the work of others.

 

Sally Jennings on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

 
 
 

11 July 2014

How to avoid business failure

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The statistics for small business failure make for grim reading. It’s a fact that fewer than four in ten businesses survive past the first critical three years of trading to become sustainable. That’s a lot of time, money and ruined dreams that could so easily have been avoided.

I’ve worked with many businesses here at the Business & IP Centre from early stage to high growth and have found that there are some key things to do at the early stage that will significantly reduce the odds of failure and even grow to real success. In fact our research has shown that using our resources and networks will reduce the chance of business failure to less than one in ten.

Individual Female Tablet
Firstly, one should remember when starting that the most important asset in the business is you. So it’s vital that you’re realistic with yourself and have your feet firmly on the ground. No matter what type of business you start or invention you want to exploit, it goes without saying that just because it’s your idea, it doesn’t mean it’s a commercial idea and will make you money.

So you need to be vigilant and do everything you possibly can to minimise risk, but how?

There’s no shame in knowing what you don’t know.  As a business owner you will need to wear so many hats and have a wide skill set that it can feel daunting. But being an all-rounder doesn’t mean you have to be brilliant at everything either (not everybody with sales skills makes a good marketer) but you sure need to understand some basic principles and practice for a lot areas.

A keen desire to pick up as much information and advice along the way is crucial. Thankfully you aren’t alone. Many at the Business & IP Centre have benefitted from accessible, down to earth workshops that tell you the most important things you need to know, be it marketing or finance.

You can Get Cashflow Confident or grow your business online with our Marketing Masterclass Perfect for anyone exploring the possibility of a new business is our Start-up Saturday workshop  too.

Workshops are great opportunities to share experience and meet others too. You can start to create your own network of contacts to help you in all the areas you need to know. It may well become your lifeline.

Secondly one should find out as much as you can about the market you’re moving into. Proper research is your gateway to better opportunities. To have a serious business someone needs to buy your dazzling new product or life enhancing service and it sure helps to know whom. Market research does just this by identifying consumer profiles, average spend, size of the market place, threats, opportunities and forecasts. All this is information gold-dust at an early stage that will save you so much time and money in the long run, even if it’s as simple as helping to guide you on the right marketing strategy.

Published content by some of the larger researchers out there is beyond the budget for most early Individual Male Laptop stage businesses. The Business & IP Centre has taken this problem out of the equation by making freely available to its walk in users over £5 million worth of quality research on all major sectors and a good many small ones too.  What’s more our Information Specialists in the Centre will point you in the right direction and show you what you need to know.

And thirdly one should ensure your new venture will need to be as safe from risk as possible. Getting the right legal structure and necessary insurance in place at an early stage will save you huge bills and endless stress later. Understanding what you need to do doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. A database in the Centre called COBRA (Complete Business Reference Advisor) tells you in plain English many of the legalities and insurance issues you’ll need to address among other topics.

One should always consider what Intellectual Property there may be in the business too. Our Intellectual Property workshops and advice help to break down and explain how you can address this important asset in any business.

Group 7So addressing these issues will ensure your first step is a sure one. Of course there’s much more to build on from here but these issues are absolutely fundamental to the viability of any venture.

Finally, I would suggest not throwing all your eggs in one basket. Don’t quit your job just yet especially if you haven’t even had a single sale! It’s good practice to test and refine your proposition with a few customers that helps to prove the concept.

Remember, there’s never a shortage of help and advice to guide you, so help yourself to reduce the odds of failure.

 

Jeremy O’Hare is a Relationship Manager for the British Library’s Innovating for Growth programme, which provides £10,000 of fully-funded and tailored advice for businesses looking to grow programme.

ERDF Logo Portrait Colour Web

 

 

13 June 2014

Race to the finish - building a business in the sports industry

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W&EWarren Pole, co-founder of 33Shake shares the story of his business and what he's learnt along the way.

 

 

Like many of the best ideas, our natural sports nutrition company 33Shake was born out of a daft bet, painful firsthand experience of a problem, and a good dose of luck.

To start with the daft bet, a friend challenged me to run the Marathon des Sables, a 150-mile, five day run through the Sahara desert. A physical wreck at the time who struggled to run for a bus, this was a tough call. But I accepted and in 2009 crossed the finish line in the Sahara in the best shape of my life. Instead of the end of the journey, this finish line was the beginning – the endurance sport bug had hit hard and I craved more. Ironman triathlons, 100-mile-plus bike races, and mountain ultramarathons all followed.

Which is where the painful firsthand experience of a major problem appeared.

Because to successfully race aerobic events lasting anywhere from six hours to six days, fuelling with the right nutrition is essential. Trouble was, every sports nutrition product on the market tasted foul, made me feel worse, and never delivered anything close to its claimed benefits. Talking to friends and fellow competitors, I kept hearing the same story.

As a journalist of 20 years and writing extensively on fitness and sport, I had unique access to many of the world’s best athletes on assorted assignments. With nutrition my biggest stumbling block, I always quizzed them about what they ate.

Their answers focused on clean, fresh, natural food of the highest quality, often superfoods. This was the opposite of every sports nutrition product out there – the more I investigated these, the more they all turned out to be based on cheap, manmade sugars and additives, ingredients I now knew were detrimental to sustained endurance performance and longterm health.

Here, luck rears its head.

Having junked all sports nutrition and seen an immediate increase in performance I searched for natural replacements. But none existed. Which was when my wife Erica, who had also caught the endurance bug, met a guy who’d studied superfoods for a decade and knew everything about maximising nutrition for a given end.

We explained what we needed for perfect endurance nutrition, and he developed a powerful blend of 33 whole, superfood ingredients that could be enjoyed as a single, tasty, daily shake. What it did for my own performance and health was incredible and with nothing like it on the market the three of us took the plunge into business in 2012. 33Shake was born.

By 2013 our fun side project was a full-time business juggernaut with us at the wheel on the steepest learning curve of our lives. Which is where luck once more entered the frame.

A friend tipped me off about the Innovating for Growth programme, we landed a place, and over the next four months received bespoke, expert guidance, advice and reassurance as well as a priceless opportunity to step back from our growing business and understand our longterm focus.

Since the course, sales are up threefold and we’re now talking with one of the biggest teams in pro 33Shake Chia Energy Gel
cycling to help with their riders’ nutrition for major races. Our adventure is still only just beginning but Innovating for Growth has fast-tracked 33Shake’s performance by several years while the Business & IP Centre’s resources, particularly with regards market research and IP continue to be one of the most powerful tools in our business toolkit.

Warren Pole, co-founder of 33Shake on behalf of Business & IP Centre

If you are an ambitious London-based business, you can apply for £10,000 worth of funded bespoke advice to help get your business to the next level. Apply today!

11 March 2014

Legal Issues of Web 2.0 and Social Media by Stephen Kunciewicz

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Legal Issues of WebHow do you ensure that your organisation’s valuable intellectual property is not being misused, copied or redistributed by others?

And what rights and remedies do you have if a third party has been illegally using your intellectual property?

And on the other side of the coin, what responsibilities does your organisation have with regard to employees’ use of social media – should an employee make a potentially libellous comment online about a competitor, using a work computer, what involvement might a company be deemed to have?

These are the questions posed by Stephen Kuncewicz at the beginning of Legal Issues of Web 2.0 and Social Media. Everyone knows that today’s businesses must be social-media-savvy. Blogs, the ubiquitous FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter even, these are not just for private individuals, they are for businesses to use as well, both for gathering and for disseminating information. But we are also all aware of their reputation as a legal and ethical minefield.  The law has been struggling to keep up with technological developments, and social media users are often quite unsure about where they stand.

Stephen Kunciewicz is a lawyer at Halliwells LLP, and probably about as well-qualified to write on the topic as anyone alive. He takes the reader through the subject in just over 200 jargon-free pages, illustrating each point with real-life (and in some cases famous) examples.

The book is divided into five sections:

  1. Placing social media in the legal context
  2. Social media and copyright
  3. Social media and brands
  4. Social media and privacy, confidentiality, defamation
  5. Social media and criminal law.

This book would seem to be a must-have for every start-up and SME in the land, but for one thing: the price. On Amazon, new copies are selling for around £300. However, we have two copies here at the British Library. One is held by our Document Supply Service, and the other is available in the Business & IP Centre, in the Small Business Help section.

Rupert Lee on behalf of Business & IP Centre

 

14 January 2014

Empatika: fitted furniture with a difference

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I first met Tristan Titeux of Empatika when he joined our Innovating for Growth programme in September 2013 after attending one of our special ‘bring a friend’ Growth Clubs.

Empatika specialises in designing and making contemporary bespoke fitted furniture and also offer an eco-friendly option of furniture made of recycled cut-offs (see our post on Recycling Business Resolutions).

They are passionate about what they do, listen to the ideas of their customers, consider their needs and in partnership with them create a design that matches exactly what their customers have in mind.

 

Custom carpentry
 

  Random Floating Tubes, designed by Empatika

Although already a thriving business, Tristan applied for a place on the programme because he wanted to grow. Innovating for Growth gave him one-to-one advisory sessions with our expert partners and advice on his business growth strategy, his branding and marketing approach, his product development strategy and his trade mark protection.

 I chose to follow Tristan during his time in the Innovating for Growth programme by attending his one-to-one advisory sessions and observing his progress throughout the programme.

As a member of the Innovating for Growth project team, I did research work for Tristan and helped him identify market and consumer trends in the home and furniture industry, relevant quality and environmental standards, contact details of possible partners. I also helped him with trade mark clearance search, before he applied for new trade mark registration.

The programme helped Tristan identify the essence of his business and the business values that make his products and services different from his competitors, so that he can then establish a network of partners around the UK who will apply the same values and principles under his brand.

As a result, he is in the process of re-designing his website, trade mark and promotional material to reflect his business essence and values. He is also in the process of acquiring suitable business partners who will follow his stated business values and ethos.

Watch this space for the next stage for Empatika!  

If you are an ambitious London-based established business want to apply for up to £10,000 worth of funded advice and support tailored specifically for your business, have a look at our Innovating for Growth programme and apply before 24 March.  

Irini Efthimiadou on behalf of Business & IP Centre 

25 October 2013

Intellectual property guides

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This week sees the publication of our new Intellectual property guides.

  • A brief introduction to patents and patent searching
  • A brief introduction to trade marks and trade mark searching
  • A brief introduction to registered designs  and registered design searching

A fourth guide, relating to Copyright, is in the pipeline.

These guides provide an overview on intellectual property as a whole and then a bit more in-depth information about the form of intellectual property covered by that particular guide. There is a section in each guide which covers searching and outlines the free databases available via the internet, what they cover and where to find the ‘Help’ section on each database.

These guides are designed to serve as a starting point for intellectual property searching and as a follow-on to the more detailed intellectual property guides published by the Intellectual Property Office UK (IPO UK) on their website at www.ipo.gov.uk  

You can find all of the guides on our website and we also run intellectual property workshops and webinars which you can book online.

 

Maria Lampert on behalf of the Business & IP Centre