Legal: Birkett Long LLP
As Head of Intellectual Property at Birkett Long, I manage a team of patent and trade mark attorneys for whom new technology is ‘meat and drink’. We get excited by new and interesting developments and feel privileged to be let into people’s confidence, so we can play the role of custodians to their inventive processes.
Most people are familiar with copyright, but we often meet clients who don’t fully understand what we do.
Our work covers several areas. We write patent applications to protect new inventions, like large pieces of industrial machinery, innovations in software and electronics, new fuels, materials and chemicals, or biotechnology. Sometimes we’re asked to file patent applications for clients, and sometimes we are asked to defend their patents, or attack those of others.
There can be disputes about who is the original inventor and, therefore, who should own a patent. Sometimes there are disputes about whether one party’s behaviour infringes on another’s intellectual property holdings.
A catalyst for growth
Effectively, we allow clients to put their inventions and new ideas to work, helping to create and grow new businesses. Our team allows people to exploit their inventive thought by protecting their own new products and enabling licensing to others.
There are times when we work closely with other professionals, such as accountants, to help clients get the most out of their creativity in terms of tax relief via the Patent Box and other tax credits. Sometimes that can extend to work on the invention itself, the way it looks, or the branding accompanying it.
Essex and Suffolk are awash with creative, inventive people. The two counties have had huge success in the agricultural sphere, including agrichemical and agricultural biotech. The coast is replete with teams of engineers working on solutions to problems, in all forms of energy production, including wind turbine technology and nuclear energy.
In workshops and industrial units from Beccles to Basildon, people find elegant solutions to complex problems from health and medicine, to manufacturing and communications.
As Sizewell C receives the green light, we’re on the cusp of one of the largest infrastructure projects the region has seen. Business owners and directors should be aware of this project’s extensive opportunities. Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has a portal allowing businesses to access these opportunities – https://www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk.
As well as intellectual property, Birkett Long also has teams specialising in contract and employment law – essential for businesses responding to these new opportunities.
My great hope for Suffolk and Essex technology companies is that they will act as the UK’s gatekeepers at a time when the dominant credo of international trade – globalisation – seems to be showing signs of reversal. This region has enormous geographical advantages and a natural propensity to entrepreneurialism, that can respond to and take advantage of the current economic turbulence. Innovation through the creation of new technology is an emphatic and robust response to the challenges we face.