Yesterday at Venturefest Manchester

Author Nilfanion
Licence Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3 Unported

Jane Lambert

Although Venturefesr Manchester was very much smaller than those at Oxford and York, it was still impressive. The speakers included the Mayor of Greater Manchester, a senior business advisor from the Copenhagen business support agency Vaeksthus and the CEO of the Britsh Business Bank. There was also an interesting exhibition of financial institutions, government agencies, universities and professional service providers and competitors for the Innovation Showcase awards. I met several old friends from Daresbury and the IPO, made the acquaintance of several IP practitioners and one of my connections from Linkedin.

As the aim of Venturefest is "to accelerate the translation of innovations and new technologies into increased economic growth by supporting local innovation eco-systems" I was surprised that there was only one law firm in the exhibition. Lawyers and patent and trade mark attorneys are required at each stage of that process and Manchester has no shortage of either. The firm that did attend was Buckworths which appears to be based in London with in office in Manchester.  They distributed a handy 21-page booklet entitled Introduction to Startup Law which had chapters on business entities, contracts, data protection, employment, shareholder incentives. shareholder agreements, seed funding, the Enterprise Investment Scheme, trade marks, IP rights, moving to the UK and Brexit. Although the sections on IP could have been expanded with perhaps some more detail on prosecution and enforcement it was a very useful little publication. I tried several times to introduce myself to the persons running the stand but they were surrounded by potential clients and I did not want to get in the way. As I have spent much of my career advising and assisting start-ups and other small businesses I commend Michael Buckworth's initiative.

The other publication that impressed me was The Business Finance Guide written by Marc Mullen and David Petrie who are accountants and published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and the British Business Bank. Using a lot of charts and diagrams the booklet guided readers through debt and equity options, the methods of raising funds including new ones such as crowd funding and particulars of the British Business Bank. There is a lot of information packed into 28 pages, not including the covers.  I shall certainly keep it for reference and recommend it to clients.

I learned from a Council Member of the CIPA that a freedom of information request had been made to the German Constitutional Court at Karlsruhe to find out how long ratification of the Unified Patent Agreement would be delayed.  Apparently, the answer was that the resolution of the matter could take months - possibly longer than the remainder of the two years notice period under art 50 of the Treaty of European Union.  If true, it is very bad news indeed for every business that was looking forward to cheaper patent dispute resolution, not only here but throughout Europe and indeed beyond. That is because it will take time to renegotiate the UPC Agreement after we leave the EU.

I missed several people whom I would love to have met.  Unfortunately, I only learned that they were there later. I hope each and every one of them enjoyed the show as much as I did.  I look forward to meeting them on other occasions.