Pilot Programme Helps Small Firms Protect Innovations; Advertising Feature : SWANSEA: Intellectual Property Rights Initiative
A PIONEERING and extremely successful pilot programme which has helped small firms in the Swansea area to protect and reap the commercial benefits of their inventions and innovations may soon be extended to benefit many more businesses in Wales.
The Swansea IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) Initiative was the first of its kind in Britain when it was launched in October 1999 as a partnership between the City and County of Swansea, Business Connect, Swansea Institute of Higher Education, University of Wales Swansea and the Welsh Development Agency.
Its aims were to provide a limited number of local small firms with the know-how and the financial means to protect and fully exploit their ideas and innovations.
Its success took the partners by surprise.
The initial target was to enlist 15 small, local companies to take part in the programme. In the event, no fewer than 125 signed up within the first three months.
The longer term target was to develop some 30 bids for grant aid of which the initiative estimated that it would have the resources to be able to support 15.
The actual outcome was that 70 applications were made and the initiative drew on extra funding from the WDA to provide help to 40 of them.
Project co-ordinator, Andrew Beale (the seconded Head of Swansea Institute's Law School) said the scale of interest amply demonstrated the potential demand among new and small businesses in Wales for assistance with patent protection.
"There was an excellent response to the initiative from all kinds of businesses - from science based research enterprises to people developing inventions in their garages. …