Identifying Hidden Treasure; Simon Barker, Senior Associate at Martineau, Says That Identifying Intellectual Property Can Reveal New Opportunities to Make Money

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Barker

R ecently Birmingham was revealed as the city hardest hit by the current economic downturn. In increasingly difficult circumstances it is important to compete and prepare for a brighter future. The value of intellectual property should not be underestimated in that process.

Our region has a proud heritage in manufacturing and the creative industries that was built on innovation and a reputation for quality. Intellectual property rights go to protect these values whether it is a product or a process that may be protected by a patent, the design of the product itself, or a name and reputation that may be protected by a trade mark.

You only have to think of Apple's ipod'

to realise how effective branding and product design can be. However design is not only for Californian computer giants.

The West Midlands has a wealth of skills in design and development from the skills we have in the automotive sector through to Jewellery. There also lies a strong commitment to developing these skills in the region with universities and colleges like Birmingham City University and The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Around these institutions businesses can also find help and assistance with product design and development through organisations like the Design Knowledge Network and The Design Hub at Coventry University Enterprises.

If a business does not have the intellectual property rights to support its products or services then it will find it harder to protect its market position against those who copy or seek to undermine its marketing. …