Innovation and enterprise blog

19 posts categorized "Inventions"

20 March 2015

Five tips for understanding intellectual property

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Every business has intellectual property (IP) of some sort. However, when working out how to manage and protect it, it can be hard to know where to start! Below are some of our tips for businesses who want to begin understanding and managing their IP.

1.       Understand the different types of intellectual property

There are many different types of intellectual property protection, covering areas from art to inventions. The main ones are copyright, trademarks, patents, and designs, but know-how and trade secrets are also forms of IP commonly found within businesses. Your business may have more than one of these types, so understanding how they work, how they’re protected and the differences between the different types is essential.

2.       IP audit

Conduct a basic IP audit of your business. What IP do you have, is it protected, and how long does that protection last? Do you licence any of your IP to other people? Is there any associated costs/income? Putting this information together in one document will help you to plan your IP strategy, and keep track of your assets.

3.       Check your agreements and licences

IP use is often governed by contracts and licences. If you are commissioning work, is IP covered in your agreements with the contractor? If you licence other people’s IP, do you keep records of the licences? Employment contracts often also include an IP clause, and you may have non-disclosure agreements to cover trade secrets. An overview of your paperwork will help ensure that you haven’t missed anything.

4.       Embed IP within your business strategy

IP doesn’t exist in isolation from the rest of your business. Whilst IP can be a business asset, applying for protection often has associated costs, so it’s good practice to assess your IP strategy as part of your overall business plan, rather than separately.

5.       Seek help!

There are plenty of resources for businesses looking to find out more about intellectual property. Here at the Business & IP Centre we run a number of workshops and webinars covering IP topics. Our next webinar ‘Intellectual Property for Business’, funded by the Intellectual Property Office, is coming up on the 27 March 2015, and will give you a good understanding of the basics.

The Intellectual Property Office also has a number of tools to help businesses, including the ‘IP Health Check’ and ‘IP Equip’.  

For legal advice, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and Institute of Trademark Attorneys are good places to start. We strongly advise you to ask a patent or trade mark attorney before proceeding with using or applying for rights.

Sally Jennings on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

30 January 2015

Intellectual Property Matters

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It is said that 'The meek shall inherit the Earth', but for now it's the inherently rich and shrewd.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) include patent, registered or unregistered trademarks, design rights, copyright, or more commonly a strategic combination of each. Protecting your intangible assets can be as rewarding as protecting your physical property, but it can be a complex and expensive job to secure, maintain and defend them.  Therefore it is important to remember that you may not have to keep your idea or product secret in order to protect it - there are other formal ways to do it.

The key is to get impartial professional advice early on and formulate an IPR strategy. I clearly remember my confused state, of trying to understand all the processes involved (not just on IPR protection, but the inventing business in general). The learning curve was enough to drive me mad, although I do say 'The nearer to insanity I get, the better I invent' - the trick is getting back!

Getting into the nitty-gritty world of how to protect your invention with a patent, with some do's, don'ts and tips on IPR's that I have learnt, sometimes the hard way.

Patenting steps - do's and don'ts

  • To patent something it needs an inventive step, never to be thought of before anywhere in the world ever and something that someone schooled in the art would not have thought of.
  • Do have a professional patent search carried out at the British Library Business & IP Centre. The 'new' part I mentioned earlier is important, before spending significant amounts of time and money on the idea, only to find it has been done before and is protected or is in the public domain already greatly weakening your position.
  • Don't disclose your invention to anyone without protecting any protectable IPR's first or get them to sign a confidentiality agreement.  If not, it may prevent you from obtaining a patent later.
  • Don't write a patent yourself.  It may save money, but it is a false economy. If your idea is a success, you will regret the day you did that. Ifyou intend to licence, sell outright or defend the invention you will look amateurish when the patent is reviewed.  And, more critically, you may have left something important out, or worded something wrong, making it vulnerable (easier to get around).  Remember, a patent can be the most valuable asset a company owns. Poorly written and all could be lost.

Top tips

  • You have twelve months, from filing a patent application, to file foreign applications. At that point, do your homework, to get the broadest country’s protection (on where the product will be sold and manufactured) at the lowest cost possible. You can do this in the Business & IP Centre London or in one of the National Centres. The trick is to know your market, so it may be possible to file in the smallest number of countries to cover most of it (note, you can delay this stage by eighteen months using the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)).
  • If you have kept your invention secret, within the twelve month period from filing the application, you can withdraw the application and re-file, but note, you lose the original priority date and risk that someone filed something similar in that lost period.
  • I tend to keep things secret and file the patent application late.  I do this because if you are still developing the idea, it could be very different after the twelve months, so might need significant changes or a total rewrite.

Using the British Library

As a regular user of the British Library facilities, for research and patents information, in the past and being their first ever 'Inventor in Residence', I offer free one-to-one hour long confidential meetings, called 'ask an expert'.  It is disturbing and frustrating to commonly see, the ownership of great ideas slip through the inventor's fingers, because they made it public before protecting it (frequently with university student projects), or got misdirected and over charged by a so called professional Patent Attorney.


Mark Sheahan Med plus res 2014Mark Sheahan, 'Inventor in Residence' for the British Library, President of the 'Institute of Patentees and Inventors', a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Vice Chairman of the 'Round table of Inventors'. 



25 November 2014

An umbrella with style and strength - the Senz° XL storm-proof

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Senz umbrellaIt's looks alone were enough to demand the attention and curiosity of my colleagues. And it was certainly easy to spot amid the forest of standard umbrellas, drying in a corner of the office after a particularly wet morning commute.

And I have to admit one of the reasons for buying the XL storm-proof umbrella from Senz°  was its unusual shape. It reminded me of a stealth fighter jet or perhaps something Batman might pull out if caught in a downpour.

The other reason - and the cause for the umbrella's striking silhouette - was the company's claim that it is capable of withstanding winds of up to 70mph without turning inside-out - or inverting to use the technical term. This was backed up by an impressive and, at times, hair raising demonstration video, which indicates it would handle anything that our weather here in London could throw at it. Although I do not recommend that anyone try the test at 1.48 minutes.

Senz° joins a long line of anti-inversion brollies (a quick keyword search for "windproof umbrella" in Espacenet found close to 200 patents), each with their own take on how best to resist the elements. Senz°'s offering is unique in that its asymmetrical, aerodynamic shape channels wind flow across its surface: preventing wind resistance that would flip a normal umbrella inside-out. It will also automatically twist into to the best position for it to battle the wind - as long as the handle is not gripped too tightly.

The invention was the 2004 brainchild of Dutch industrial engineering student, Gerwin Hoogendoorn. In classic inventor style, he decided there had to be a better way after the frustration of experiencing three broken umbrellas within a space of a week.

The dream of making Senz - IDE TU Delft from IDE TU Delft on Vimeo.

Having made the initial drawings and producing a prototype on his grandmother’s sewing machine, Gerwin approached fellow students of Delft University of Technology, Gerard Kool and Philip Hess, to brainstorm bringing it to the market. Within nine days of the umbrella’s launch in 2006, they had sold all 10,000 of their initial production run.
It has since won numerous awards, including:
•         Red Dot award for design 2007
•         Dutch Design award 2007
•         IDEA (gold) award 2008
•         Good Design award 2008
•         Gold International Design Excellence Award 2008
•         ICSID Star of the Observeur award 2009
•         iF product design award 2009

Sexy Senz

So much for the theory, but how has the XL storm-proof umbrella served me against London's ever changeable weather? After six years (by far the longest any has lasted) and some fairly testing storms later, it has held up well with only a few scratches on the top cap from the times that I had used it as a walking stick (which Senz° explicitly state in their care instructions I should not do... sorry). More significantly, it has not inverted once during the six years I have owned it.

So a case of style and substance, rather than style over substance? In this instance I would say definitely yes.

William Davis on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

17 November 2014

Loom Bands - the toy sensation of 2014

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Rainbowloom-logoWhen we look back at the toys of 2014, it will be remembered for Loom Bands. Cheong Choon Ng created a plastic loom for his children to weave colourful rubber bands into bracelets and charms, and Rainbow Loom is the registered trade name of his invention.

From his beginnings in Malaysia to his current his life in the USA, his story is interesting and inspiring.  The idea came about when helping his daughters with their rubber band craft making, but he admits that his biggest challenge was to convince his wife to risk their life savings to invest in his invention. “I am the one in the family with all the crazy ideas, and she is my reality check”.  A couple of years later and Rainbow Loom is a multi-million pound international business.  You can read Cheong’s story in his own words in the Guardian newspaper, Experience - I invented the Loom Bands.

Choon Ng and his wife Fen

Loom band inventor Cheong Choon Ng with his wife Fen

The Rainbow Loom website is a splendid example of how it has become a global sensation, showcasing tutorial videos, press stories , a ‘Loominaries’ community  and Loom network.  In A craze for 'loom bands' Richard Gottlieb, from consultants Global Toy Experts, says “It wasn’t driven by advertising or big companies… there’s a difference between creating a product that sells, and a phenomenon.  There’s a bit of magic about it”. The products made by Loom bands range from bracelets, to dresses, shoes, handbags, brooches and pimped products such as watches Rainbow Loom Creations Pinterest board and on Rainbow Loom’s twitter feed @RainbowLoom.

Loom band example

When something is so successful, others will inevitably try to copy your idea. This is what has happened with Cheong Choon Ng’s invention, with copy-cat products and similar sounding names.

I am sure that Choon Ng’s children played a great part in getting his product to gain traction and impact, and he calls this the ‘Rainbow Loom ecosystem’.  I particularly like that this has encouraged young children and adults to become creative and entrepreneurial with loom bands. I was given a bracelet by a young relative on holiday in Italy as a sign of friendship, and I was asked by another to buy one in my national colours for the Notting Hill Carnival to raise funds for her school trip. 

Rainbow Loom’s executive, Philo Pappas, attributes its success to the product’s inherent customization and social aspects, “with kids and tweens now it is all about creating something unique and personalized, which is exactly what the Rainbow Loom does. Plus Kids love to come up with new designs and share them with each other, so there’s a social element too”. 

So the question is - have you got a toy idea or product that can capture everyone’s imagination? I know that we often advise visitors to the Business & IP Centre with their toy ideas. Through one of our Business and IP Clinics I met chess board designer Purling London who has create a handcrafted under-lit chess board for fine art collectors and professional chess players.  The idea came from trying to play chess on a beach in the dark. However in this case Simon Purkis is aiming for the premium end of the market. Our Toys Industry Guide gives a pointer to which toy trends are up and which are on the way out, as well as the key companies, and links to help get started such as the British Toy Makers Guild.

Chess board

Bang-logoOur partner Bang Creations runs regular workshops to help get your idea to market. They work through your unique selling point, who are your customers, how to get into production, how many you need to make, and how reach your customers.

Some of their toy success stories such Laser Strike Jet Combat are featured on their website.


Play is an important part of life, and if you are looking for inspiration have a look at the British Library’s Playtimes portal. It brings together 100 years of children’s songs, rhymes and games, from conkers to singing games, rude jokes to fantasy play.

In closing, I wanted to share a quote from Choon Ng, “I knew that not many inventors have their dream come true like this one.  But living it now, I treasure every moment of it. I would say this is the best time of my life”.

Seema Rampersad on behalf of Business & IP Centre London

06 June 2014

Pop-up Businesses – here, there and everywhere!

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There is no doubt that effervescent pop-ups are sweeping across a town near you. I had the pleasure of researching them over the last few months, checking out pop-up shops in many places - from local areas in London to all the way over in France. Most of the pop-ups are surprisingly varied, covering a wide range of different concepts, ideas, services and industries – from yoga sessions, food stalls, technology shops, gardening, community groups, makers, art collectives, artists and creatives.

I live in Waltham Forest, North-East London and I am really pleased to see that my local council aims to catapult businesses by providing dedicated pop-up business spaces in the form of semi-permanent shops in Leytonstone and Walthamstow. Following their award-winning ‘Love your High Street’ campaign, this is a positive signal to budding start-ups, entrepreneurs, community groups and local artists that the council mean serious business! On the high street, they have set up large rooms with plain walls as a blank canvas for selected businesses to participate in and customise for their own purposes. This is one of the few times I have felt compelled to praise my council as they are encouraging something fabulous and entrepreneurial. Personally, I would love to see this replicated across the UK.

POP-upLYHSlogoThe council have kindly provided the following feedback on the Waltham Forest pop-up programme’s progress: “Waltham Forest is home to thousands of small businesses and has a wealth of entrepreneurial spirit. In order to encourage new enterprise, the Council has transformed a vacant shop unit in Walthamstow into a hub for start-up businesses and community groups. Over the last 6 months, these organisations have enlivened the Town Centre, offering fresh and diverse services to residents, including a yoga studio, book café and community arts centre.”                         

I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting some of these fabulous pop-ups on the high street. Most of them were able to generate interest amongst local residents using social media and good old-fashioned ‘word of mouth’. To give you a flavour of what was on offer, here is a summary of the array of businesses I saw taking part in the pop-up shop:

Massis Tea @Massistea – Redefining and innovating with the Art of Tea to make the ‘Tey Latte’, which tasted very nice. I have since seen Massis Tea popping up in other places - even Westfield Stratford City. 

Pretty Please London @PrettyPleaseLDN – Patisserie that shared the space with Massis Tea.  It was here that I had my first Crodough, that is, a Croissant-Doughnut hybrid.   

All you Read is Love @allyoureadlove – Independent bookshop and Scandinavian-inspired café, serving simple, responsibly sourced cakes and sandwiches, quality coffee and alcoholic craft beverages. They held music and literary events for the community too. I particularly liked how they customised the space to give the feeling of being in a living room …you could stay for hours.


Blank canvas to night time musical venue for the ‘All You Read Is Love’ pop-up

at Hoe Street Central.

Healthwatch @Healthwatch_WF – Health and social care consumer champion in Waltham Forest and also across the UK.

Yoga Me Happy @yogamehappy1  - 'Yoga Me Happy' yoga training and classes with a mission to make Londoners happy …with yoga! There are even classes in a local park.

Amarachi Jewellery @AmarachiJewels – Professional dancer turned jewellery designer who created such a buzz amongst people who came across her designs, she soon started receiving requests for her work.

Good time Girls @goodtime_girls - Retro and vintage clothing and accessories with some photography on display too.

Nicky Carvell @nickycarvell – An artist and designer making items inspired by the pop band East 17. The theme of the exhibition was 'Peace from East 17'.  Towels, cushions, T-shirts etc were colourfully designed  and made with special materials.

Plantnation @plantnation_e17 - Gardening initiative selling plants, running activities and classes for all ages.

Floor Story Ltd @FLOOR_STORY – Rugs designed in the UK, but handmade in India using Tibetan techniques. I particularly liked the Tattoo range!



Rug from the pop-up Floor Story Ltd.

This flourishing of pop-ups is not just happening in one part of London, but in various pockets across the city. You can find listings, advice and locations with maps on London Pop-ups. Pop-up shops are also soon to be rolled out across underground train stations as Transport for London has signed a deal with online property agency Appear Here,who provide brands, designers and entrepreneurs with access to prime retail spaces in Central London. Both big brands and independent merchants are looking for flexibility in the way that they reach consumers – a fine example is our Innovating for Growth client Squid London, who has been successful in acquiring a place at the House of Fraser pop-up shop. Footfall and market research plays a large part in selecting the location of your pop-up shop and we have a London Business Information Guide to give you some statistics, several global market research resources in the Business and IP Centre and our wiki page - just to get you started.

My colleague Neil Infield has written on his ‘In from the Outfield’ blog about street-food pop-up Kerb and also beat me to reviewing and recommending the book ‘Pop up Business for Dummies’. 

Alasdair Inglis, a marketing expert from our partner at Grow, explained that businesses are mainly starting off organically and online, so the pop-up shop model is a great way to test the waters. He told me that “it's amazing to see how fast the London pop-up scene is developing. There's no doubt that it's a tough retail environment for small businesses, particularly with the unstoppable rise of ecommerce. The incredible variety of pop-up experiences in the UK is a testament to the innovation and creativity of British entrepreneurs. I was recently at Fairground, which is a three-storey pop-up in East London. I ate the best pulled pork bun I've ever had. Hung out in the sitting-room styled ‘Granddad Lounge’, heard a great talk from a Twitter expert, took a table tennis class with a professional table tennis coach and played in a table tennis tournament (I didn't win)". Phew! Alasdair also recommends We are Pop-up for more ideas.

Alasdair continued, saying that "many of us may be glued to Facebook and smart phones, and more and more of us are shopping online. However, the thriving pop-up scene shows that people want amazing eating, shopping and entertainment experiences in new and interesting places. The high street isn't dying, it's changing and its risk-taking British entrepreneurs with great ideas who are leading the way". 

These are the same ideas we are promoting on an international level with our lean startup workshops, which we are working on with our Open Innovation Partners in Europe, such as the Neoshop in Laval, France.  The Neoshop is not just a shop for business start-ups to get to market - it allows you to provide feedback on products too.  The Neoshop has also taken part in product testing, in pop-ups in Box Park Pop-up Mall, London; and in Paris recently. Hopefully this post will inspire you to peruse some pop-up shops yourself, or even to start your own pop-up business. 

Seema Rampersad on behalf of Business & IP Centre

Follow Seema on Twitter: @SeemaRampersad

25 April 2014

From Rock Stars to Orchestras – making music in the Business & IP Centre

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Flashback to a few months ago, and I was really pleased to help a leather-clad American rocker in the Business & IP Centre. He was here to research the School of Rock franchise (not to be confused with the School of Rock film).

Both names are registered as trademarks on the UKIPO’s website – the former as a music school and the latter by Paramount for the film. Our customer reminded me of David Coverdale the lead singer from UK Rock band Whitesnake – it’s not every day that a rock-and-roller comes into the Centre. Although we do have a wide range of musicians from Disc Jockeys to Death Metal guitarists to classical orchestras, using the Centre for their market research.

School of Rock logo

Photo Source: School of Rock Trademark - “Inspiring the World to Rock on Stage and in Life”

Our Innovating for Growth programme has advised the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), one of the most successful free-lance orchestras in the UK.

The Orchestra prides itself on its diversity, and ability to give crowd pleasing performances with a small group of musicians to an intimate audience, or a full 80-piece orchestra at an outdoor event. The National Symphony Orchestra is also Katherine Jenkins’ orchestra for live concerts and UK tours.

They are regularly invited to perform in Russia, Scandinavia and across the rest of Europe.Their aim  is to introduce symphony music to the masses.
National Symphony Orchestra

At the heart of these businesses is music itself, which has seen unrelenting innovation in the way we produce, consume, and enjoy music over the last ten years. By 2012 there had been nearly a billion digital tracks sold.

If you are looking for more statistics on the music industry, see our Music Industry Guide. This is a very useful starting point for anyone researching the music industry or starting a business.

Included in the guide is ‘Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age’ by Bobby Owsinski. He covers changes from sheet music in the 18th century through to vinyl and the present day digital formats. Owsinski describes in detail what he calls the ‘Six life stages of Music’.

The book covers the pros and cons of recent developments, and includes interviews with leading industry figures. Owsinski also looks at the use of social media as a marketing tool, as well as for distribution and brand development.

If you are looking to find answers to: What has changed? Who are the new players? What are the new technologies being introduced that will influence how you sell or market? This is the book for you. To quote one of his reviewers - “I own close to a dozen books on the topic of the changing landscape of music and how musicians of the new era might fit in; and while some of these books were helpful, “Music 3.0″ was by far the best and most useful of them all”.

Musical Inspiration

However, if you are looking for inspiration to create music, we have that in abundance too. From across the British Library, you can listen, see and feel music from our Sound and Vision archives and at our events. I recently visited our Listening Service, ordering items from the catalogue, where we have  collection of 3.5 million sounds, including LPs & singles from 1950s to the present.  ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Why not have a look yourself?

Jazz album cover
You may also be surprised at what you find on our events page, and you can read more on our recent Inspired by Vinyl.  A few weeks ago I attended a talk at the inaugural symposium ‘Keeping Tracks: Music in a Digital Age’, where Sacha Sedriks Creative Director at BBC Future Media, spoke about the ways the BBC have had to innovate. Sacha also showed a video on the new ways users are consuming music, and how they are using technology to make the experience interactive, immersive and personal. The presentations and talks have been published and will give you insight from experts, as well as the clues to the future of digital music.

Needlessly to say, we have quite a few resources in the Business & IP Centre that provide insights and statistics on the worldwide music industry, including digital music trends. Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of BPI, sums up the future in Digital Music Nation

“The music consumer in 2013 is dramatically different from the music consumer of 2003 and it is to the credit of everyone in this ecosystem – labels, artists, publishers, digital services, technology companies – that the platforms are in place to meet their growing expectations.”

For businesses and consumers, the landscape is changing, and so are the formats and channels. But reassuringly, our love of music remains the same.

Seema Rampersad on behalf of Business & IP Centre
Follow Seema on Twitter:@SeemaRampersad

08 April 2014

Portobello Business Centre Ask the Expert session at Imperial College

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Michael Pattinson webOn Friday 28 March I attended an excellent Ask the Expert event hosted by Portobello Business Centre and sponsored by Lloyds TSB.  The event, held in the prestigious Rector’s House, Imperial College, comprised of six experts who circulated round the room at twenty minute intervals to sit with tables of three or four budding entrepreneurs and offer advice and expertise.  The event was chaired by Colin Rutt from Portobello,  who used a judge’s gavel to notify the experts when to swap places!

The experts included IT consultant Sunil Patel, Chris Smith from the Intellectual Property Office, marketing expert Chris Griffin  founder of marketing agency Pi Global, Uday Thakkar from Red Ochre, Bob Lindsay from Thames Productions and Howard Carter, entrepreneur and founder of Incognito.

The delegates were mainly small business founders and start-ups, with a variety of products and services.

Portobello Business Centre logoAfter some brief words of introduction from Colin, my table welcomed Sunil Patel.  Sunil has an extensive knowledge of the whole IT spectrum but it was on the subject of websites and ecommerce in particular that the delegates were keen to pick his brains.  He offered some excellent advice on how to set up your online presence distinguishing between the different types of sites – blogging sites, shop fronts – and their suitability.  He stressed the importance of business owners familiarising themselves with the processes of web development but ultimately the advice was to get someone in who knows what they are doing.

Speed Mentoring Session at Imperial College 3Once his twenty minutes was up, Sunil was replaced by Uday Thakkar, founder of Red Ochre and a familiar face to all of us at the Business & IP Centre.  Uday has a wealth of experience in business mentoring and support, but it was the subject of raising finance that he was focusing on specifically.  The conversation quickly settled on the subject of crowdfunding which has become a popular alternative to traditional forms of funding such as bank loans which are becoming increasingly difficult to secure in the current economic climate.

Uday stressed the importance of momentum when looking for crowdfunding so try to build up a good support base of family and friends to get the ball rolling.  It is also important to offer incentives to encourage people to participate.  If you are asking for gifts, offer something in return such as a free sample of your product or an invitation to an event.  Uday also mentioned the importance of timing.  Don’t start asking people for contributions just before Christmas or when they are about to go on their summer holidays.

Bob Lindsay from Thames Productions was our next expert.  Bob has an engineering and manufacturing background but he was keen to find out what each of the delegates was doing and tailor his advice accordingly.  He provided some particularly useful advice about approaching buyers.  He emphasised the importance of being prepared for the types of questions buyers usually have, and being able to assure them the correct procedures are in place.  He used the following examples of the types of issues they are concerned with: complying with ISO standards, logistics and complaints procedures.

Speed Mentoring Session at Imperial College 2

Following some refreshments, we were joined by Chris Griffin, founder of marketing agency Pi Global.  Chris underlined the importance of knowing your customer and explained that for a new business, word-of mouth was the most powerful marketing technique because it established a high level of trust.

I was keen to listen in on Chris Smith from the IPO to hear his take on Intellectual Property.  He provided a very helpful overview of how businesses can protect their IP focusing specifically on Trade Marks and Copyright.  Although you don’t need to register Copyright, it is a good idea to have a record of when you created a piece of work so he suggested sending a copy to your solicitor or even posting it to yourself by recorded delivery.  

Speed Mentoring Session at Imperial College 2

The event finished off with a question and answer session.  Uday mentioned the Business & IP Centre as a great place to conduct further research into some of the issues we had discussed throughout the day so I took my cue and managed to say a few words about the Centre and what we offer.

I didn’t get a chance to speak to Howard Carter but he spoke a bit about his experiences as an entrepreneur.  He expanded on a theme touched on by some of the other advisors, that all business founders make mistakes along the way but the secret is to learn from them and don’t lose heart when things don’t go your way.  Passion and perseverance count for a lot!

Thanks to Colin Rutt and the rest of the team at Portobello Business Centre for hosting the event and for their hospitality on the day.  Also thanks to Lloyds TSB for sponsoring the event.

Michael Pattinson Business & IP Centre Team

09 December 2013

Helping to make a success story - Children's Qur'anic Pop-up Book

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Elephant_imageCrowdfunding is all the rage these days, as it has proved a real alternative route for funding a new idea or product.

The current top three are Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub, with new players appearing almost daily.

So I was not surprised to find that one of our customers had taken this approach to get funding for her Children's Qur'anic Pop-up Book and 3D app. Hajera Memon is the Managing Director of Shade 7 Limited and has launched their funding campaign this week on Indiegogo.

I don't really need to tell you too much here about the project to fund their first book Story of The Elephant: Surah Al-Fil, because the funding page is pretty comprehensive. But their aim is to become a global, multilingual publisher of premium pop-up Qur’anic educational story books and digital apps that help children learn about Islam in a fun way.

It was great to hear that Hajera was invited to the Small Business Saturday launch event at No. 11 Downing Street in early December:

I had the amazing opportunity to meet Chancellor George Osborne and show him the pop-up book – which he really liked!

Even nicer was to read her comments about the Business & IP Centre:

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your extensive time, patience and support with the development of this project and for getting us to this exciting stage!

You’re a really special group of people whom I’m very grateful to know and you make me feel so pleased with the decision to try and join the entrepreneurial world, regardless of how things turn out! You’ve all added your own special contributions to my start-up journey and I really wanted to say thank you.

It is with your encouragement that I have had the strength to continue with each stage of the business and I really appreciate the efforts and invaluable advice you’ve all shared with me throughout. I pray this venture is successful and will be something you can all be proud of!



Neil Infield on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

08 July 2013

Congratulations to our FSB London Business award winners!

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Congratulations to our two award-winning Innovating for Growth businesses who have recently been recognised for their business achievements in the Federation of Small Businesses London Business Awards 2013.  

We’re delighted to hear that Flying Fantastic have been named winners of the Best New Business 2013. 

Flying fantasticFlying Fantastic have a totally unique take on exercise and keeping fit with an aerial fitness centre offering aerial silks, aerial Pilates, aerial slings and aerial yoga. As a recent Pilates convert, I struggle enough with my feet on the ground so can’t imagine the difficulty of aerial Pilates!

Identified by our small-business support programme as a fast-growth business earlier this year, they’re destined to reach even headier heights!

Double congratulations to Ohyo  who won Enterpiring Business 2013 and founder, Guy Jeremiah who was runner up in the Real Life Entrepreneur category.

The innovative Ohyo water bottle can be carried in a pocket and reused up to 10,000 times! Defying the BBC Dragon’s predictions, Ohyo has gone from strength to strength and is now stocked in major retailer, Boots. And can also be spotted on most of the desks of the Business & IP Centre team too!

Ohyo collapsible water bottle

Since starting, Guy has used the Centre for a variety of reasons and more recently has been a member of Innovating for Growth, receiving £10,000 worth of bespoke advice and support to help his business get even bigger and better.

Congratulations to Flying Fantastic and Ohyo!

If you want to apply for £10,000 worth of bespoke advice and support for your business, have a look at our Innovating for Growth programme and see if you qualify. 

Innovating for Growth is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 



Chloe Titcomb on behalf of Business & IP Centre