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  • What is a patent?

    A patent for an invention is granted by government to the inventor, giving the inventor the right to stop others, for a limited period, from making, using or selling the invention without their permission. When patent protection is granted the invention becomes the property of the inventor, which like any other form of property or business asset can be bought, sold, rented or hired. Patents are territorial rights: UK patents will only give the holder rights in the UK and rights to stop others from importing the patented products into the UK. To be patentable your invention must: Be new - never been made public in any way, anywhere in the world, before the date on which the application for a patent is filed. Involve an inventive step - if when compared with what is already known, it would not be obvious to someone with good knowledge and experience of the subject. Be capable of industrial application - an invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry. This means that the invention must take the practical form of an apparatus or device, a product such as some new material or an industrial process or method of operation. An invention is not patentable if it is: A discovery A scientific theory or mathematical method An aesthetic creation, literary, dramatic or artistic work A scheme or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business The presentation of information or a computer program If the invention involves more than these abstract aspects so that it has physical features (such as special apparatus to play a new game) then it may be patentable. In addition, it is not possible to get a patent for plant variety, a method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or a method of diagnosis. Layout of patent protection Based on typical layouts in patent specifications since the late 1970’s, before this they were likely to lack a front page and search report. Front page - used in the same way a book will have a title page, a patent will have a front page which gives useful bibliographical details. It uses two letter country codes and INID codes to identify pieces of information. An abstract - (compiled by the applicant) and may be an illustration. This layout is becoming increasingly standardised but the information given can vary from country to country. Opening statement - usually states the problem. Background information - US patents are likely to have a discussion of the ‘state of the art’ with references to key patents, books or journal articles. Problem - the nature of the problem is outlined. Description of the invention - Explains the inventive step and how it works. Claims - the numbered claims cover the legal aspects of the monopoly, with the first being the main claim and the later dependent claims referring back to earlier claims in describing what is new about the invention. In a published application the claims are merely an attempt to get protection while the granted patent has the claims that are recognised in law. Illustrations - as many as required showing the invention. Search report - usually on the front or last page. At a minimum this consists of a list of patents or other documents suggesting that some at least of the invention is not new. More detailed search 3 reports would indicate which claims in the application were affected, the kind of relevance and the exact page and line numbers thought to be relevant in the cited document. Search reports can be valuable when trying to assess if the invention is truly new. There has been standardisation in classification. Nearly all countries now use the International Patent Classification, IPC. INID codes - these are numbers used to identify bibliographic elements in patent specifications, normally on the front pages. They are only sometimes given in numerical order and are nicknamed 'INID codes' after internationally agreed numbers for the identification of bibliographic data. What rights does a patent give? A patent gives the right to stop others from using your inventions. Alternatively you can choose to let others use it under agreed terms. A patent also brings the right to take legal action against others who might be infringing and to claim damages. An inventor is not required to get a patent in order to put an invention into practice, but once the invention is made public, there will be no protection against others using the invention and you would be unable to obtain a patent. The Intellectual Property Office does not ensure that others do not copy a patented invention. It is up to the owner to take any necessary action to ensure an idea is not infringed. Once ‘Granted’ or in the public domain any ideas may not be reregistered. Confidentiality Any invention should be kept confidential until it is filed at The UK Intellectual Property Office. A confidentiality agreement should be signed before any details or description is disclosed. This does not apply to patent attorneys or other professional advisors or staff helping a member of the public. This is automatically a situation of confidence. The Intellectual Property Office The IPO is the official government body responsible for granting Intellectual Property rights in the United Kingdom. Can be contacted by phone - 0300 300 2000 or by email. You can take a look at their web page. Book a one-to-one advice session on intellectual property at the Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire to find out more. This article first appeared on the British Library’s Business & IP Centre website. View here.

  • West Northamptonshire Business Unite

    Businesses in West Northamptonshire are launching a new forum, bringing local employers together and giving them a greater say in the area’s future. The aim is to connect local employers, increase take-up of support to benefit local businesses and the local area, and to give a voice to the West Northamptonshire business community to help overcome the impact of the pandemic and realise opportunities. The inaugural meeting of the West Northamptonshire Business Forum will take place on Tuesday 21 September and is open to all employers within the area. This new forum will: Unite voices to address business needs Connect local employers together Share information for business growth Champion the business community The forum will be run by a board made up of business people and other stakeholders from across the area, including West Northamptonshire Council. Local businessman and founder of the forum, John Tippett, said: “I have established this forum because I am passionate about the local area, I recognise the potential West Northamptonshire has and I want to play a part in enabling this area to thrive. “By connecting employers together, sharing issues and collaborating, the local economy will benefit, employers benefit, the area benefits and local government will have a clear voice from the business community. “It ticks so many boxes and I am extremely excited for the fantastic things this forum will achieve once the board is up and running. “I implore each and every local employer to attend and raise their voice.” The first meeting will take place at Daventry Town Bowling Club at 2.30pm on 21 September. It is completely free and employers can book their place on our Eventbrite Link. Councillor Lizzy Bowen, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, said “We think the forum is exactly what West Northamptonshire needs to empower the business community across Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire. “We will do everything we can to ensure all businesses and residents thrive in West Northamptonshire.” Email Economy@westnorthants.gov.uk for information on the free business support service offered by West Northamptonshire Council.

  • The Boxed Bakery, Laura Conroy

    Meet small business grant winner, Laura Conroy from The Boxed Bakery. The Boxed Bakery is a small home bakery based in a South Northants Village. Laura Conroy set up as a business after discovering a niche when supporting her daughter's bake sale fundraisers and afternoon teas. She registered her kitchen with the local environmental health inspector and started her business in October 2020. Laura provides her customers with bespoke buttercream cakes and postal bakes when they are looking for something a little bit extra special, either as a treat for someone else or as an indulgent treat for themselves. How did the idea for your business come about? And why is it important to you? Laura Conroy: My daughter was fundraising for a school trip to Botswana we tried many activities but cake sales were always a winner. Covid hit and the fundraising stopped but people kept asking for cakes and so I realised I had a potential business that could support me and my children with life’s little extras. What has been your biggest challenge? Laura: My biggest Challenge so far has definitely been learning about the business side, its one thing being good a making cakes but budgets, marketing, regulation’s and HMRC, has definitely been a learning curve. How the BIPC helped you? Laura: The BIPC has really helped my to become a business owner and understand marketing, how to optimise search engines but most of all how to understand my own USP and who my ideal customer is. The 121 sessions with a business advisor helped and the support in writing my business plan was really useful. I plan to continue to learn and develop through the BIPC sessions. What are your plans for the grant? Laura: When I started the Boxed Bakery I was using one 1970’s Kenwood hand mixer my gran gave me and one tin, which was great for a while but when orders came in and things got busy I needed more equipment to speed things up. 3 layer cakes with only one tin took hours. The grant money will support me in being able to purchase more equipment in order to speed up my processes and the potential to widen the business to create another stream that compliments my existing offer Most likely to be found in/at (what do you like to do in your spare time)? Laura: First and foremost I’m a mum to my two girls so spending time with them is really important to me they are growing so fast, when I need some me time I can often be found in Salcey Forest. I love the calm and tranquillity up there off the beaten track. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given? Laura: “You can’t be all things to all people.“ The BIPC helped me to explore and understand my personal and business values and how these connect to my ideal customers and the day to day running of The Boxed Bakery. Really understanding this made everything else fall into place and gave direction to my business. Has there been a book that impacted you? Laura: Twelve Pillars by Chris Widenar and Jim Rhone. It’s a story about an unsuspecting guy sharing a story with a man whose car broke down. They strike up a friendship and unbeknown to him the gardener teaches Michael the 12 pillars of success in life and business some lines in there really resonate with me and the section on building relationships with people is akin to growing a garden rang true to my business as well one of my business values is about offering a personal service, genuine connections and relationships are key to success. Describe your life as an entrepreneur in one word. Laura: Creativity After a wave of enquiries and over 150 applications, the Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire team shortlisted 34 aspiring entrepreneurs, who were invited to give a presentation on their new start-up to a panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den style elevator pitch as part of the Reset. Restart Small Business Grants programme. The Boxed Bakery was one of our 19 winners. Visit The Boxed Bakery: https://theboxedbakery.wixsite.com/theboxedbakery To learn more about our small business grant winners, click here!

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  • About | Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire

    About Libraries are not just full of books. They are full of ideas. As part of the British Library National Network the Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire is leading a revolution by inspiring a thriving community of new and existing business owners. It is free to join and open to everyone. And it is transforming the way ideas grow into successful businesses. ​ Whether you are just starting out, need advice on protecting your intellectual property, or are ready to take the next step in your business journey, we are here to help. We support entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business. The Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire has been supporting businesses since 2015. In that time, over 1750 people have used our services and we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs start a business through a rich variety of webinars, workshops and one-to-one business and intellectual property advice sessions. ​ Our services cover the whole of Northamptonshire, both West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire, which includes: Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Wellingborough. You can find the Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire at your local library. We have hubs in Northamptonshire Central Library, Kettering Library, Wellingborough Library, Brixworth Library and Towcester Library. You can pop into any of your nearest libraries (not just the ones mentioned) and ask for more information or simply send us an email . For every bright idea, everywhere. Join a thriving business community in your local library. National Network The British Library Business & IP Centre National Network provides entrepreneurs and SMEs across the UK with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories and reports worth thousands of pounds. There is a programme of free events and workshops on a range of topics including business planning, marketing and intellectual property. Supporting Local Libraries act as engines for economic growth through helping businesses to start, run, innovate and grow. As part of the British Library Business & IP Centre National Network we help establish enterprises, create new jobs, increase turnover and boost our local economies. For every £1 invested in the BIPC Network, £6.95 is put back into the economy , which we believe represents a fantastic return on investment. Book a one-to-one advice session Learn more Watch the video ​ ​Watch the video to find out more about the Business & IP Centre and what we do to help entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.

  • Business Support | Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire | England

    Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire One-to-One Book a free one-to-one business advice session with the BIPC Northamptonshire team IP Advice Intellectual property advice on patents, copyright, trade marks and registered designs. Free Databases Access to free market research database resources and tools to grow your business Next Events View All Events The Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire has been supporting entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses since 2015. In that time, over 1750 people have used our services and we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs start a business through a rich variety of webinars, workshops and one-to-one business and intellectual property advice sessions. Our free services cover the whole of Northamptonshire, both West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire, which includes: Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Wellingborough. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you to start, protect and grow your business. Latest News What is a patent? 3 1 West Northamptonshire Business Unite 14 1 The Boxed Bakery, Laura Conroy 9 1 Read More IP Intellectual Property advice We can help you with information on patents, copyright, trade marks and registered designs. Get Advice

  • Business Networking | Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire

    Northamptonshire Business Networking Come and meet local entrepreneurs, sole traders and small business owners based in Northamptonshire and surrounding areas. Our monthly (every third Monday) networking events provides an opportunity for you to seek business support and develop your business network and ideas with like minded people throughout Northamptonshire. ​ Starting, running and growing your business can be a lonely venture, but you are not alone! So why not pop along and learn from and be inspired by other business professionals. ​ Next Events: Monday 20th September: Book Now! ​ Monday 18th October: Book Now! ​ Monday 22nd November: Book Now! Book a one-to-one advice session Learn more

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