I popped into Business North West at G-Mex earlier today. It was OK, I suppose, but with the pride of a native Mancunian I had hoped for something like Venturefest on steroids and it was nothing like that. Venturefest attracts most of the big law firms and patent agents in Yorkshire. The IP Office was at Business North West as were Ralli solicitors. Aaron are advertised as exhibitors on the show's website though I never found them. And that was about it from the law. I didn't spot any patent or trade mark agents there either as exhibitors or visitors. For a show that is supposed to be about branding, design, innovation, investment, the absence of most of the North West intellectual property community says a lot. Most of the other exhibitors were firms I had never heard of.
Some good speakers have been advertised. Stephen Haines of Facebook might have been worth hearing but he was on at 08:30 which is ridiculously early unless you live or staying nearby since Manchester traffic is so bad that you have to allow at least an extra hour for traffic at that hour of the morning. They really do need a congesiton charge in that city but I saw vote no signs everywhere including Business North West's website. Max Clifford is taking the same slot on Thursday. I would have heard him had be spoken at a reasonable time but he is not worth a 2 hour battle with traffic. G-Mex (or Manchester Central as they like to call it nowadays) is probably not the best venue for an event of this kind. The G-Mex car park was full when I called in and the Watson Street car park had a problem with its exit barriers which held me back a full 25 minutes.
There were a few stands that caught my attention. Top of my list was Crain's Manchester Business which has some good local business news. Armstrong Communications had some interesting technology and the Gaucho Grill was serving bife with wine from Mendoza. Steve Kuncewicz had at least made an effort by displaying a one page glossy on IP on his firm's stand. I am not sure that I agree with his assertion that
"Against the background of the Credit Crucnch, the exploitation and protection of Intellectual Property Rights has never been more important and IP, IT and Media cases dominate the headlines every day."
Not the headlines of the papers I read, Steve. When I went to the WIPO last month Francis Gurry reported a ownturn in Madrid applications and reported and feared a drop in PCT and Hague applications too.
Tomorrow was the day that I had intended to come but as I happened to have a free hour as a result of the last minute cancellation of the Enterprise Day at the Barnsley Digital Media Centre I thought I would have a quick look round. I thank I saw just about everything in the 50 minutes that I was there. Nothing that I saw has tempted me to come back.