0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 10 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 10 10 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 00 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 10 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 10 0 10 0 10 0 10 0 10 10 0 10 0 10 0 10 0 0 0 10 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 00 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 10 0 10 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 Maximising the investment in your IP 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 10 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 10 0 1 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 10 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 10 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1FANTASTIC FEMALE 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 INNOVATIONS10 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 TO 1 0 0 AND1WHERE 1 0 WHERE 0 0 10 BEATING A DRUM 0 0 1 1 THEY RANK FIND THEM 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 0 0 0 0 1 10 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 10 0 10 0 10 0 Metis Partners helps companies gain recognition for their IP assets
The IP League Table shows where the innovative companies stand
Interview with prolific inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca of IBM
Proud to back innovative businesses Our team of industry specialists focus on supporting high-growth businesses that have invested in their intellectual property and software assets. From debt origination to customer management, our UK-wide team has a broad and deep understanding of the financial challenges these companies face.
Our Growth Finance team have a strong track record in supporting a wide range of businesses.
Lending subject to status and eligibility, security may be required. Terms and conditions apply.
To find out more contact: David Hayers - Head of Growth Finance
Full Banking Services Full Banking Services firstname.lastname@example.org ybonline.co.uk/growthfinance cbonline.co.uk/growthfinance 07734 111 346
WELCOME SPOTLIGHT ON WOMEN
CONTENTS 06. BEATING A DRUM Metis Partners helps companies gain recognition for their IP assets 09. MAKING IP PAY Using IP to secure finance 12. PERFECT IP LUX Assure’s business is IP 16. GLOBAL PLAYER Patent attorney Haseltine Lake 20. VISION FOR SAFETY Paying for IP paid off for Visorcat 26. THE RESULTS Our League Table shows where the innovative companies stand 40. VANDALISM OR BRAVERY Salvage isn’t money for old rope In association with
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More than any year in recent memory, 2017 witnessed a transformation in the global conversation about women in the workplace. Now with the World Intellectual Property (IP) Office dedicating World IP Day to celebrating women in innovation and creativity, the voices and achievements of women all over the world are acutely present. To follow this initiative, this year’s edition of the IP100 is shining the spotlight on the women who are powering IP development and innovation across a wide range of cutting-edge industries. The IP100 has become an eco-system for IP-rich and innovative companies to gain recognition for their achievements. More importantly, the IP100 is a platform that helps companies to measure their effectiveness in IP management and find calculable improvements they can make to IP policies and processes, which can significantly affect their top line, profit line and balance sheet. The IP League Table scoring and ranking process involves an assessment of IP-specific data linked to the five IP asset categories: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. These are the forms of IP that are the driving force of businesses, from the high street to Silicon Valley. 2017 was an excellent year for the IP100 Club supported by our champions including the LSEG ELITE, Crowe Clark Whitehill, Addleshaw Goddard, Baker Botts, SAS Software and The Manufacturers’ Organisation EEF. IP100 Club events and workshops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London brought together hundreds of IP100 entrants and sponsors, enabling individuals to share their IP knowledge, experiences and successes including overcoming the challenges presented by navigating the modern IP landscape. 2017-18 was a successful year for many IP100 entrants, with two of our early entrants securing significant funding support. Metail, the developer of innovative online shopping technology, and P2i, a technology solutions company and creator of versatile liquid-repellent technology, were each successful in raising £10m of funding, the former for its expansion into markets throughout Asia, and the latter in a growth-funding package from Clydesdale Bank. Many entrants secured funding and exits throughout the year, including Grid Smarter Cities and Sphere Fluidics, both of whom received circa £1m in Innovate UK grant awards. By highlighting IP-rich small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the IP100 is providing companies with a much-needed platform to promote IP recognition, IP management and benchmarking them as IP-savvy. It has become a hotbed of innovation and has created a community where IP-rich companies can share their experiences and successes in breaking into international markets, fundraising, securing an appropriate valuation of their IP and ensuring an exit at generous multiples. We are delighted to showcase the innovation of some of the UK’s most exciting SMEs in the 2018 IP League Table. The success of the IP100 entrants is evidence that the market is changing, the expectation gap is closing and that IP is increasingly being successfully leveraged by exciting IP-rich companies seeking growth capital, not just in the UK but globally, hence why we are planning an ambitious international expansion of the IP100. Stephen Robertson, founder of Metis Partners
BQ, Spectrum 6, Spectrum Business Park, Seaham, SR7 7TT. www.bqlive.co.uk. As a dedicated supporter of entrepreneurship, BQ is making a real and tangible contribution to local, regional and national economic growth across the UK. We are unique in what we aim to achieve as a media brand, a brand that has established a loyal audience of high growth SMEs and leading business influencers. They wholeheartedly believe in BQ’s focus on people – those individuals that are challenging the traditional ways of doing things. They are our entrepreneurs. BQ reaches entrepreneurs and senior business executives across Scotland, the North East and Cumbria, the North West, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Wales, London and the South, online, in-print and through specialised events. All contents copyright © 2018 BQ. All rights reserved. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies, howsoever caused. No liability can be accepted for illustrations, photographs, artwork or advertising materials while in transmission or with the publisher or their agents. All content in this IP100 should be regarded as advertorial. All information is correct at time of going to print, April 2018.
CONTACTS SALES ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Dave Townsley
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The IP league tables show where the companie innovative s stand
Interview inventor with proliďŹ c of IBM Lisa Seacat DeLuca
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IP is the new BIG FISH!
IP underpins revenues, secures and protects competitive advantage – IP is undoubtedly the new BIG FISH! Metis Partners is an IP valuation firm with a proven track record in the assessment, valuation and sale of IP assets. Having provided independent valuation advice on over 500 IP transactions, it’s no surprise we are acknowledged as the UK’s market leader. IP STRATEGY – GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR IP ASSETS! Metis Partners has assisted IP-rich companies with the creation, implementation and maintenance of robust IP management strategies that underpin business strategy, strengthen competitive advantage and create robust barriers to entry.
IP VALUATIONS – YOU KNOW YOU HAVE IP ASSETS, BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE WORTH? Our IP Valuations have enabled IP-rich companies to: access new funding and restructure existing debt; facilitate IP transfers; negotiate IP licenses and JVs/partnerships; ensure the value of IP is recognised in M&A; and boost corporate exit value.
www.metispartners.com | 0203 198 0096 (London) | 0141 353 3011 (Glasgow) | firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG NOISE Metis Partners is helping companies to create a song and dance about their intellectual property (IP) value to help grow their businesses, as Stephen Robertson and Saj Ali explain. JUDGING by the heavyweight credentials on his CV, Stephen Robertson clearly takes his business seriously. After a law degree from the University of Dundee, he trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte & Touche before cutting his teeth in corporate finance with Bank of Scotland and the London Stock Exchange. He set up his own business, Metis Partners, in 2003 to advise companies on how to assess, exploit, value, monetise and sell their IP. Since then his firm has gone from strength-tostrength, now employing 20 staff and running its Glasgow head office, with outposts in San Francisco and Sofia. Yet there’s clearly a lighter side to Robertson too. His “Friday Funnies” email that goes out to the market, is the stuff of legend, having won numerous marketing awards. His clients may also be surprised to learn that he once had a Pop Idol USA experience. “I trained as an opera singer when I was at school and I’d been telling my kids I could do better than the contestants on The X Factor, so they told me to prove it,” laughs Robertson. “After some arm-twisting from them, I applied
and secured an X Factor audition in Glasgow, but then I couldn’t go because it was on the day we were flying out on a family holiday to Orlando. “When we got there, we discovered Disney was running its own Pop Idol USA competition, where competitors spent the day going through heats and then the three finalists sang in front of an audience of over 1,000 people in the evening. I got through to the final three and I sang Elton John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me on stage.” And Robertson certainly isn’t letting the sun go down on Metis either. He’s preparing to move to the United States later this year to grow the company’s American arm, having put in place a management structure so that his firm continues to grow in the UK and Europe while he’s across the pond! “We’ve got a dynamic management team – five people aged between 25 and 30 – and I’ve put a development programme and mentoring scheme in place for them,” he explains. “As well as a dozen full-time members of staff, we also have a very successful internship
programme, which takes undergraduates from various disciplines during their second year at university and puts them on placement with us. “They work part-time during their university terms – becoming very highly-skilled and experienced members of the team – and then they switch to working full-time for us during the university holidays. They build up a lot of experience during their two or three years with us and they allow us to give our permanent staff the opportunity to go on holiday knowing they aren’t leaving colleagues in the lurch and some full-time staff have even taken three weeks’ summer holiday, which is something you might not get at other small companies.” Metis is already tasting success in the States. Robertson was approached by the founder of Knowledge Base Capital (KBC) in Denver, who wanted to use Metis’ valuation services to underpin a new form of lending to American IP-rich businesses based on their patents, trade marks, software and other innovations. “This is an idea that the UK Government and the new Scottish National Investment Bank have talked about for a long time, but they’ve never really got off the ground,” explains Robertson. “It’s not governments that innovate – it’s entrepreneurs, who just get on with it and do it. “KBC has taken the idea and put it into the fast lane; I think we’re still stuck in the slow lane in the UK when it comes to lending to businesses based on the strength of their IP.
“I got through to the final three and I sang Elton John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me on stage.”
Despite Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank’s success in lending to high-growth IP-rich small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it’s still very niche.” KBC has brought together groups of business angels that want to lend money to IP-rich businesses. Instead of going down the route of taking equity – which can take longer to secure and comes with the obvious and significant conditions and changes in company ownership and controls – KBC called in Metis to help it come up with a way of valuing the IP and lending against it. Closer to home, Metis is continuing to innovate in the UK market too. “Our desktop valuation is making the process more accessible and at a more affordable price,” says Saj Ali, IP valuation manager and part of Robertson’s experienced management team. Metis has also pioneered its unique virtual chief intellectual property officer (vCIPO) service, which provides ongoing and ondemand IP-related support for SMEs that need the continuity of immediate, informed advice on IP valuation, IP strategy, IP deal structuring and IP portfolio management. Another way in which the firm helps companies to manage their innovations is through the creation of an “IP holding company” (IPCo), which acts as a holding company to own a group’s IP and then lease it back to the trading company. “If a business has bought a brand then it’s easy to value that on the balance sheet because it has a price attached to it,” says Ali. “However, if a company has created a brand in-house then it can be difficult to measure and harder to recognise its worth on the balance sheet. “By ‘selling’ the brand or other IP within the group, it can be recognised at market value – based on how it contributes to revenue generation – which can help to reorganise a group’s debt and can protect the IP against external risk factors that could affect the business.” The very act of placing a value on IP can help companies to grow. “It shows investors or lenders that a business takes its IP seriously and has put measures in place to protect it and to manage it,” Robertson adds. One of the clients that has been working with Metis Partners for a number of years and benefited from its support is P2i, which
“The very act of placing a value on IP can help companies to grow. “It shows investors or lenders that a business takes its IP seriously and has put measures in place to protect it and to manage it.”
finished second in this year’s IP League Table. The company, which provides waterproofing nanotechnology for smartphones and other devices, secured debt from Clydesdale Bank multiple times and Metis carried out IP diligence for the bank each time. Since then P2i has been working on a plethora of recommendations to improve its IP management, including protecting trade secrets, pruning its patent portfolio and working on developing product and service brands and straplines that capture the benefits of its technology. Other businesses that have worked with Metis include 20|20 Business Insight, a Dundeebased training and project management firm that created an IPCo to manage its IP and innovations, and London-based MATIVISION, a 360-degree virtual reality platform that’s used
by clients such as Facebook, Samsung and Virgin Records. As it happens, all of these companies have entered the IP100 and, as Robertson says: “It offers them a platform to gain recognition for the investment they have made in their IP, enabling them to better articulate their investment in IP assets and the subsequent value that they have harnessed. It makes it easier for them to demonstrate that IP assets are critical to their business model and how they plan to leverage these assets in order to generate financial return.” n
Using IDEAS to secure
growth finance Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group’s growth finance team may have just celebrated its second record-breaking year on the trot, but David Hayers explains why he and his colleagues aren’t resting on their laurels. DAVID Hayers could be forgiven for celebrating. As head of growth finance at Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG), he and his team have lent a record amount to their customers for the second year in a row, taking the total number of companies to which the team has lent to more than 40. But Hayers and his colleagues aren’t sitting back and relaxing. Instead, they’re continuing to spread the word about how their customers can borrow money based on the extent of their intellectual property (IP). “IP is notoriously difficult to value,” explains Hayers. “But if more entrepreneurs hear about the deals that we’re doing, then more of them will start to consider whether it’s an option for them and their business.” Two of the sectors in which CYBG’s growth finance is proving most popular are software and advanced manufacturing. Technology
companies often have developed proprietary software platforms, which allow the bank to lend money based on their revenue generating capability, while manufacturers will usually hold patents or have patents pending, again giving the team something slightly more tangible over which to run their slide-rules. “We’re seeing good growth across the whole of the multi-faceted software sector,” says Hayers. “We’re looking at a lot of businesses that operate a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. “It’s a similar story across the advanced manufacturing sector too. There is such a broad spread of businesses interested in growth finance. In reality, the specific sector is not as important as the strength and depth of the IP.” A great example of how CYBG has supported innovative companies in this
record-breaking year is P2i, a business based in Oxford that makes liquid-repellent coatings for smartphone components. The firm’s technology operates at the nanometre scale; a single sheet of A4 paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick, illustrating the minute scale on which P2i’s technology works. A longstanding CYBG customer, P2i leveraged its substantial IP to secure a significant increase in its borrowing from the bank, taking its total debt facilities to £10m in May 2017. The company was spun-out from the Ministry of Defence in 2014 and turned its maiden profit in 2016. The company had previously raised £70m of equity funding from investors including ADV Partners, Ombu and Unilever Ventures. It already has more than 120 patents to its name and its technology has been used to protect in excess of 175 million mobile phones.
“We’re often described as a ‘challenger bank of scale’ – we’re not as big as the largest banks, but we’re larger than the rest, and have the ability to provide a full set of banking products and services across the country.”
Hayers points to the broad range of companies that have secured investment from the growth finance team. Two of the best-known are Scottish duo Aircraft Medical and Touch Bionics, both of which went on to attract the attention of international suitors in takeover deals. Aircraft Medical, which designs devices to help medics slide breathing tubes down patients’ throats, borrowed £2.1m to help it fulfil its export orders. The Fife-based business was sold in November 2015 to Medtronic for US$110m (at the time £72m). Touch Bionics, which is based in Livingston, developed artificial hands that have helped scores of amputees throughout the world, with one of its arms even featuring on the music video that accompanied Will.i.am and Britney Spears’ hit Scream and Shout. The company, which secured a £2.5m loan from Clydesdale Bank to help it expand overseas, was sold to Icelandic peer Össur in April 2016 in a deal worth £27.5m. “It’s great that we’re seeing such a spread of businesses approaching us from throughout the country,” adds Hayers. “We are a truly national team, so it’s great to see that being reflected in our figures. “During the past year, we’ve seen an increase in interest coming from the North-West of England. We’ve also been busy in the Thames Valley and in the Central Belt of Scotland too.” The growth finance team has bases in Glasgow, London and Newcastle. Staff in the wider CYBG network can also recommend suitable clients to the team, widening the net even further. CYBG’s focus on entrepreneurs has come into sharper focus since the business was spunoff from former parent National Australia Bank (NAB) in February 2016. The bank floated on
the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). After floating at 180p, CYBG’s share price is currently around the 300p mark, reflecting the value investors have attached to the stock. The group’s market capitalisation has risen from £1.6bn during the initial public offering (IPO) to about £2.7bn today. Investors were buoyed by the lender’s firstquarter trading update at the end of January, with its mortgage book growing by 7.4% on an annualised basis to £23.9bn and its deposit balances up by an annualised 14.8% to £28.7bn. Unsecured personal loans also rose by 6.5% on an annualised basis to £1.2bn. The group also made further strides with its business customers. Its core lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increased by 1.4% on an annualised basis to £6.8bn in the quarter, with £567m of loans and facilities written during the three-month period. “We’re winning recognition now for our business bank’s focus on British SMEs,” says Hayers. “and that is resonating with both entrepreneurs and equity investors. “We’re often described as a ‘challenger bank of scale’ – we’re not as big as the largest banks, but we’re larger than the rest, and have the ability to provide a full set of banking products and services across the country. People are really seeing the value of that.” The same innovation and entrepreneurship that’s displayed by the growth finance team’s clients is also part of Clydesdale Bank’s DNA. While all lenders are now issuing plastic bank notes, Clydesdale was the first to switch to polymer when it introduced its design during March 2015, with engineering innovator Sir William Arrol on the front and his Forth Bridge and Titan Crane on the rear. More recently, in November 2017, the bank was one of the
first in the UK to accept cheques scanned by mobile phone. Celebrating the lives of inventors has been a key theme on the firm’s bank notes over the years. Sir Alexander Fleming and his penicillin discovery featured on the former £5 paper note, while images of Lord Kelvin and his mariner’s compass rest proudly on the £100 note. In fact, the bank has been backing entrepreneurs since it was founded in 1838. They included Margaret Gemmel, one of the first women to borrow from the institution, whose solid business plan convinced Clydesdale Bank to lend her £100 in the middle of the 19th century to enter the rag trade. Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale Bank’s sister company, has a similarly proud heritage when it comes to backing entrepreneurs. Founded in 1859 by successful businessman Colonel Edward Akroyd, innovation was also at the centre of his vision. He let labourers open savings accounts with as little as a penny and he quickly introduced “school banks”, which got young people into the habit of saving. CYBG’s app-based bank “B” continues that innovative thinking today. One of the next innovations to transform the sector will be “Open Banking”, a UK Government-led programme that will allow small businesses and private customers to share their bank details safely and securely with financial technology or “fintech” companies using application programming interfaces (APIs), a form of online communication. By allowing customers to share their data, the initiative is designed to lead to more tailored products and services being created, ultimately driving down the cost of banking. “The goal of the UK’s ‘Open Banking’ initiative is to allow consumers and small
businesses the option to securely and safely make the most of their financial data,” said Imran Gulamhuseinwala, a trustee at the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), when the roll out of the initiative began in January 2018. “In time, ‘Open Banking’ will give consumers and small businesses more choice, better services and cheaper products. “The work we are doing here is genuinely world-leading. The UK is the first nation to implement a standardised ‘Open Banking’ solution. “In the UK we are creating a single technology standard enabling new services to be easily built and offered to consumers and
small businesses. ‘Open Banking’ will help make Britain one of the best places in the world to bank and will, in time, stimulate the digital economy.” CYBG is at the forefront of the initiative, using computer technology to give its customers access to the full range of benefits that the programme will bring. The group is again demonstrating its credentials as a true challenger to the larger banks. “We continue to take major strides in transforming CYBG into the UK’s leading digitally-enabled challenger bank, positioning us strongly for the future banking landscape,” explained chief executive David Duffy
during his first-quarter trading update. “Our ‘iB’ technology platform is ready for ‘Open Banking’ today with full ‘plug and play’ fintech capability, meaning we can offer realtime, integrated services for our 2.8 million customers.” n
David Hayers email@example.com 07734 111 346
hen it comes to the oil and gas industry, protecting your intellectual property (IP) is a top priority for any firm. In an everchanging sector, only businesses that can innovate, develop, and protect their own products can survive. This is something known all too well by LUX Assure’s chief executive, Emma Perfect, who has been an integral part of the company since 2003. After completing her doctorate in molecular biology at the University of Oxford, she joined LUX and has worked her way up through the technical side of the company over the past 15 years. Now, the biologist-bytraining runs a team of chemists to deliver innovative oilfield chemical solutions to the oil and gas industry. “We develop on-site chemical detection products for the oilfield industry,” Perfect explains, “and they’re relevant because the industry uses a lot of chemicals to get oil out of the ground. “It has to manage those chemicals – partly to make them cost effective – but also to use the right amount so they don’t cause problems with their systems. “What we’ve done as a company is we have taken the concepts used in point-of-care testing in the medical and life sciences sectors – whereby you can detect things rapidly at the
r u s o s s e i sin bu LUX Assure helps the oil and gas industry manage its chemicals cost effectively as chief executive Emma Perfect explains to BQ’s Chris Middleton.
point of taking a sample – and apply it to the oil industry. “So a company will take a sample from their pipe, mix it with our detection agent and get an optical change – we use optical signatures in our products because they tend to allow for rapid and quantitive results and that’s why we are called LUX, Latin for light - and that tells them how much of a particular chemical they have in a system. “With that information they can decide whether they need to change it – to put more in or put less in – it just helps them make better informed decisions more quickly.” With its headquarters in Edinburgh, LUX is able to serve a worldwide customer base with agents in the Middle East, the Americas, Malaysia and Australia. In 2013 the company changed its name from LUX Innovate to LUX Assure after securing £3.25m worth of funding to transform the company from one purely focused on research and development (R&D) into a service provider for the oil and gas industry. Following this change, LUX Assure’s two flagship products, CoMic and Ommica formed the foundation as the company looked to move forward and expand its reach across the global oil and gas sector. CoMic is used to deliver improved corrosion
inhibitor management, allowing firms to optimise the chemicals they are using to protect their oil and gas pipes from becoming corroded. Perfect explains: “The industry uses a lot of these chemicals, but they don’t have a good way of determining if they’ve got the right amount of chemical in there. “CoMic is different to everything on the market because it looks at micellar aggregates of corrosion inhibitors to determine whether the company is using too much or too little of its corrosion inhibiting chemical.” Ommica offers a simple, on-site colourimetric test kit, which is used to determine the levels of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) and methanol concentrations in oil and water. “MEG and methanol are used to prevent the build-up of hydrates, which can block pipes,” said Perfect. “This is important for the industry because mono-ethylene glycol and methanol can be considered contaminants in oil and operators can be penalised financially for their presence. Companies want to test for the levels of these chemicals so they know what’s in there. Allowing them to maximise the value of their oil.” Both products are making sales and securing repeat orders around the world, and LUX
“What we’ve done as a company is we have taken the concepts used in point-of-care testing in the medical and life sciences sectors.”
continues to target a worldwide audience. But the business is relatively small – with just over a dozen members of staff – and this poses a challenge when dealing with a global sector, not just in terms of logistics, but in terms of how to scale effectively and tackle the nature of the industry itself. “We have a global reach. The chemicals we are detecting are used from Alaska all the way to Australia – they’re used everywhere, they have relevance everywhere – and as a company we spend a lot of time trying to service a very global industry,” Perfect continues. “For us as a business, we are a small fish in a very big pond, so our biggest challenges are dealing with a global business. “The world is a big place and diverse in terms of culture and business practice and we only have a small team. Our biggest challenge is how we effectively sell a product on the scale we want to from a relatively small UK base. This is particularly challenging as our products are quite innovative – they are a different way of doing things. “The oil industry is a traditional and conservative place. There are early adopters, and there is some recognition of the value that innovation can bring, but, on the whole, to get the reach that we want in a conservative industry takes a lot of effort to explain why innovation is useful.” Innovation is the key word here and, for a company that relies so heavily on its own scientific developments, protecting this innovation is of paramount importance. LUX has different subsets of IP including global patents – both in application and granted – as well as trademarks to protect all of the firm’s key products and closely held trade secrets which protect its processes and methods. “Essentially, IP is our business, it’s the core of our business. We sell novel products, to disrupt the industry’s traditional approach, so protecting that IP is of the utmost importance to us. We spend a lot of time not just looking at how we protect our IP, but how we keep things confidential and get non-disclosure agreements signed, which can be challenging. We have also gathered information and knowledge, which can be considered trade secrets, that we obtain from having used our products across a wide range of oil and gas assets.” Developing innovative products can be a time-consuming and costly endeavour for any business, so ensuring that as much of it is protected as possible is a constant uphill battle. It is for this reason that LUX ensures that all its staff are fully training in IP, its implications, and why it is important for the business. “IP is so important because all of our products are underpinned by it and I would say that, in particular parts of the world – like the Middle East – we find that having patents demonstrates to prospective clients our uniqueness and opens doors,” Perfect continues. “It makes a huge difference and it’s also an important part of our marketing – that we are different and innovative. “Our trade secrets, especially around our software algorithms, are also really important. That’s the primary way we keep our IP for ourselves, to keep it confidential within the company. That’s never shared with any outside party, no matter where we are in the world. “We’ve conducted research on many prospective products; we now have two on the market and one to follow soon. We’ve had many projects fall by the wayside that didn’t work technically or were we thought there would be issues with it commercially. “So it’s a bit like a bush, some things go all the way through to the sky, some things stop nearer the soil. But the process is similar for all of them. You need to look at the market, what’s there, what can be done, what the opportunities are and how to do it. “I think people underestimate some of the commercial challenges
and we certainly as a company should have done a bit more to consider this. It’s not just about technology development, it’s about product development, and how you get it on the market. It’s quite easy sometimes to forget that.” LUX’s latest product, known as TraxBio, monitors the effects of surfactant biocides, which are chemicals used to kill or control harmful organisms in oil production systems. This is important for the industry as a build-up of organisms in a system can, if left untreated, lead to corrosion. Because of this potential risk, many firms use significant quantities of biocides on a regular basis, costing them considerable amounts of money. A product that allows a company to test the amount of chemicals they are using – whether they are using more than necessary and wasting money or using less than necessary and potentially allowing the organisms to regrow – will help save it a lot of money. Perfect explains: “TraxBio is essentially a surfactant biocide mapping tool to map the chemicals as they move through an oil production system. It has been field-trialled successfully, which in oil and gas is a key hurdle. If you can get something through a field trial, working successfully with complicated fluid and on-site infrastructure, then you’ve crossed a huge inflection point in development. But we don’t launch a product until it has been field trialled more than once.
“Think about IP in your own industry and plan a strategy accordingly. Go get trained – there’s lots of training out there to find out what it is.”
“This year is about doing more field trials and then it will be formally launched. The market does know about it because to access field trials we released information about it, but it’s not a commercialised product as yet.” Looking forward, Perfect wants her company to go back to its roots and develop new products, rather than focusing primarily on commercialisation, which has been a large part of the company for the past few years. “It’s our forte,” she admits. “It’s what we’re good at. We spent the last couple of years commercialising our products, CoMic and Ommica, and I would like to get back and do some more R&D and build a new pipeline of products coming through. “There are lots of chemicals used in the industry and we get asked on a weekly basis if we can test this, or that chemical. At the moment, we don’t do much of that work because we are focusing on commercialising what we have. It would be great to have more time and opportunity to get back and say yes, we have a good idea of how this could be tested.” As someone who has dealt with IP throughout her career, all the way from the
concept stage to development and ultimately commercialisation, Perfect offered her wisdom to other companies that are looking to protect their IP. “Think about IP in your own industry and plan a strategy accordingly. Go get trained – there’s lots of training out there to find out what it is. If you’re new to it you need to go and learn the basics at least, get yourself a good patent attorney, get advice – but I think it is, to some extent, sector specific and company specific. “How many patents can you afford to have? How strong do they have to be? The timing of them, what you need to cover, do you need to keep things a secret rather than disclose in a patent? And that is dependent upon the industry and what you are trying to achieve as a company. “I would also add that it’s useful if you work in a company to find other like-minded people, with an enthusiasm with IP. It’s always good to harbour and grow the interest of those who are enthusiastic because it’s useful to have other proponents and other pairs of eyes when you are creating, reviewing documents and patents and examination reports.” n
A global patent player
Magnus Johnston, a partner at patent attorney firm Haseltine Lake, knows a good idea when he hears one and is helping entrepreneurs to protect their innovations and bring them to market. FEW television series have captured the public’s imagination like Blue Planet II. Over the course of six weeks, presenter Sir David Attenborough and his team wowed audiences with films of surfing dolphins, nesting albatrosses and turtles enjoying spa treatments. Yet what really made the nature documentary stand out was what happened in its seventh episode. Instead of more images of weird and wonderful creatures, the programme dedicated a whole hour to the effect that humanity’s pollution in general – and plastic in particular – is having on our world’s oceans. The result was mind-blowing. Within days, Chancellor Philip Hammond was making reference to Blue Planet II in his Budget as he announced plans for a plastic tax. The need to protect the planet’s seas struck a chord with Magnus Johnston, a partner in the newly-opened Glasgow office of patent
attorney firm Haseltine Lake. As a Shetlander, Johnston grew up on an archipelago of islands surrounded on one side by the North Atlantic and on the other by the North Sea, where fishing is still a way of life for many, and renewable energy regeneration is beginning to replace oil and gas as a major driver of the local economy. Now, Johnston is helping one of his clients, Evesham Specialist Packaging (ESP), ride the wave of success as the tide turns against plastic packaging. “ESP makes non-plastic fibre trays, which are used by supermarkets to sell packs of soft fruits like plums and peaches,” he explains. “I worked with the company to file a patent for its trays, which then allowed it to cut its corporation tax bill by using the patent box, because a significant proportion of its revenues are derived from those trays. Seeing the success of that first patent has stoked the company’s
innovative streak and it’s now looking at ways of developing new products that can help to prolong the shelf life of soft fruit. “It’s great when companies can start seeing the benefits of patents and other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection like that. There are always costs involved and it’s difficult when they come at the start of a business’s journey, but IP protection is an investment for the future of the company and can pay big dividends in the long-term.” Working with plastics is nothing new to Johnston, who studied chemistry with new materials technology at the University of Aberdeen. He then stayed on at the institution to complete his doctorate in chemistry. “That’s when I decided I needed to get a proper job,” he laughs. “I saw an advert for Haseltine Lake, which said ‘If you still love chemistry but are fed up with life in the
lab then we’ve got the job for you’ – which perfectly described how I was feeling. “I still loved science – and do so now – but I knew I didn’t have the same spark as some of my colleagues that gave them those unique ideas. You need to be a scientist before you can be a patent attorney though – you need to know the science and then you can learn about the law on the job.” Johnston joined Haseltine Lake at its head office in Bristol in 2003 and qualified as a European patent attorney in 2008. During his time in the South-West of England, he forged close links with universities in the surrounding area, including Bath and Cardiff. “Universities are great breeding grounds for innovative ideas and I worked with them to make sure our services were accessible,” he says. “Cost is a consideration for everyone, but money is especially tight when it comes to university start-ups and spin-outs.” His career has developed to include specialisms in pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and materials chemistry, including an eclectic mix of areas such as “lubricants, fuels, polymers, functional fluids and mineral processing”. Along the way, he gained in-house experience too, spending 2007 on secondment with a
multinational petrochemical corporation in the US. Opening the practice’s Glasgow premises in October 2017 marked a return to Scotland for Johnston. He’s already recruited his first patent attorney for the office and is working hard to promote the firm’s brand. “There’s a shortage of patent attorneys throughout the UK, but competition is even more fierce in Scotland,” he says. “Recruitment is a big focus for us at the moment. “We need clients that will innovate, otherwise we don’t have a business. That’s why Scotland is a great place for us to be. “There is a lot happening in Scotland – it has a great support network for early-stage businesses. There’s an unbelievable array of incubation centres and enterprise zones and support funds, with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government supporting a lot of it. We are now seeing private investment following, which is really encouraging. “The universities – especially places like Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde – are obviously big drivers of innovation in Scotland. I think they play a bigger part in the ecosystem in Scotland than they do in other parts of the UK.”
“You need to be a scientist before you can be a patent attorney though – you need to know the science and then you can learn about the law on the job.”
Johnston has his eye on competing with some of the existing big players in the Scottish market, including HGF, Marks & Clerk and Murgitroyd. “I think there’s room in the market for another player of our size,” he says confidently. As well as signing-up as a sponsor of the IP100 and the IP League Table, Haseltine Lake is a long-standing supporter of the UK Science Parks Association and PraxisAuril, cementing its relationship with universities, research institutions and the technology businesses that form part of their wider infrastructure. “Supporting these organisations demonstrates that we’re part of the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem and helps us to form lasting relationships with businesses,” Johnston explains. Haseltine Lake may be a newcomer to Scotland, but the firm has deep roots south of the border, with operations in Bristol and London. The practice traces its origins back to 1850 and throughout 2018 is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of its office in Munich, which is also home to the European Patent Office. In 2010, the company opened a branch in The Hague, in the Netherlands, and now also has a base in Guangzhou, in China. The firm has
grown to employ more than 150 staff across its six offices. As well as opening its Glasgow branch, the company has also been expanding its team in other parts of the UK too. In January 2018, it appointed Matthew Howell, a UK and European patent attorney and patent attorney litigator, as a partner in its Bristol office. News of Howell’s arrival came just weeks after Chris Morris re-joined the Bristol office where he began his career, returning as an associate partner. At the same time, it was announced that Stuart Clarkson was joining the London office as a UK and European patent attorney, bringing with him experience at Bosch, DeLaval and Halliburton. Having offices spread over such a wide range of locations also inspired the firm’s recent efforts to raise nearly £13,000 for Worldwide Cancer Research, enough to fund 536 hours or 67 days of scientific investigations. As well as fitness-based activities, cake sales and matchfunding from the firm itself, the efforts included a 2,000-kilometre static cycle challenge dubbed “Tour de Haseltine Lake”, representing the distance between the firm’s offices. n
EUROPEAN PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS
Magnus Johnston, Partner Harnessing the power of your IP UK and European Patent Attorney Whether you are using IP for competitive E: firstname.lastname@example.org advantage, to secure licensing revenue or to improve T: +44 (0) 141investor 433 7110 satisfaction, Haseltine Lake can help you get the IP protection you need. Haseltine Lake LLP WithRegent decades of experience helping 2 West Street, Glasgow,inG2 1RW companies to protect their innovation, and with a team of highly qualified patent attorneys across five European offices, we have what it takes to unlock the power of your intellectual property.
The Sports Hive Haseltine Lake last year became the first corporate partner to sign a two-year sponsorship deal with The Sport Hive on the University of Stirling Innovation Park (SUIP), the UK’s first sports business incubation centre. The site is run by Sporting Chance Initiative, which supports sporting entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and has helped companies including Pretty Clever Pants, the underwear brand launched by television presenter Carol Smillie, who was the cover star in issue 25 of BQ Scotland magazine. The new sports incubator offers working space for start-up businesses and access to the wider resources on the innovation park. It also provides mentoring from industry experts and access to investment, both locally and further afield. “Supporting grass-roots innovation is at the core of what we do at Haseltine Lake,” said partner Magnus Johnston. “When we heard about a first-of-its-kind sports business incubator opening on the doorstep of our newly-launched Scottish presence, we knew we had to be involved. “Sports technology and design is a sector we have considerable experience in, so the fit is perfect. We see the sector as a huge growth opportunity against a backdrop of uncertainty, with questions surrounding Brexit and Scottish independence. We want to help entrepreneurs make their business a success in Scotland and beyond and show the world that Scotland is open for business.” “Having Haseltine on board as our sponsor is a tremendous boost for the new Sport Hive,” added Lynn Blaikie, head of SUIP, when the site opened. “The investment will help us nurture and develop our ‘incubees’, who are brimming with ideas for sports products, services and technologies. As leaders in the field of patents and trademarks, Haseltine’’s IP experience will be invaluable in getting the innovative ideas of our young entrepreneurs to market.”
Working hand in glove for ridersâ€™ safet Protecting IP was costly for Visorcat but it was money well spent as managing director Jill Boulton explains to Ellen McGann.
“I have always been interested in business and manufacturing and I admit to being a petrolhead, so it was good to combine all of those interests.”
oticing the need for greater safety among motorcyclists, entrepreneurs and siblings Jill and Alan Boulton realised that greater visibility could be the key to greater safety on the roads. With this in mind, in 1999 they dreamed up a product that would allow riders to clean their visors while riding, and it became an “idea that just wouldn’t go away”. This particularly persistent idea was for a unique product that could improve visibility and safety for motorcycle riders, allowing them to wash their visor whenever and wherever they needed to, using a washing and wiping system mounted on their glove. Visorcat’s managing director, Jill Boulton, explains: “It’s the only product on the market that enables a motorcycle rider to safely keep the visor clean while on the move. It’s the equivalent of a car’s wash-wipe system, only it fits over the motorcyclist’s glove.” The time was finally right to address the “idea that wouldn’t go away” in 2010 when Jill took a business course run by the cultural enterprise office of the Scottish Government, “Starter for Six”. The programme was designed to support and encourage inventive entrepreneurs and aimed to transform creative ideas into successful businesses. Jill explains: “You had to go on a course over quite a long period of time, for several months, covering every aspect of setting up a business. Then at the end of the course, if you wanted to, you could pitch your business idea and say why you wanted to win £10,000, including what you would spend it on. “I costed out what I needed money for, which was two things really – it was to file a patent application and also to make prototypes
– and I discovered that those things would cost me £9,758, so that’s what they awarded me. £9,758. I still remember the exact amount all these years later.” That initial £9,758 allowed Jill and Alan to turn their unusual idea into a reality, and at last Visorcat was born. Jill says: “I have always been interested in business and manufacturing and I admit to being a petrolhead, so it was good to combine all of those interests.” When the time was right to go into business, Visorcat initially went from strength to strength, with the duo raising additional funding and seeking advice to help them get started and protect their intellectual property (IP). “I raised some private funding in 2012, when we were joined by operations director Andy Pringle, and we were able to market test Visorcat in 2013-14,” explains Jill. “Over that period, we had help from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise, and I would say they were crucial in helping us to protect our IP and also in developing our branding, packaging and point of sale, as well as our marketing assets.” Jill explains that, even from this early stage, IP played an integral role in establishing the business: “Visorcat has got technology, but it’s not cutting edge, it’s just the clever patented design which makes it unique, and this encompasses some laws of physics. “It uses fluid mechanics to transfer fluid from the reservoir into the sponge – that in itself isn’t unique – but the design of it is patented. The really clever bit is that the wet sponge is covered by a flap that automatically opens when the rider wipes across the visor in one direction so that moisture is applied to the
visor, and the flap stays closed when moved across the visor in the other direction. So that enables the twin wipers on the back of the flap to then remove any residue. The sponge under the flap is the patented bit. The way it all comes together is pretty clever.” This IP is at the very heart of the business, “It is absolutely fundamental to what we do”, Jill explains. “It’s not just the product, it’s not just that the IP is so bound-up in the product, it’s actually fundamental to the way we operate. We’re always looking for ways to strengthen the IP in our products and processes.” This innovative product soon caught the attention of motorcyclists, safety campaigners, and even attracted interest from the BBC, resulting in Jill and Alan’s appearance on Dragons Den to showcase Visorcat back in 2014. Jill says: “An email came in from the BBC inviting us to apply – so we did. We went along for the hell of it really – and to give Visorcat a well-deserved airing on the BBC.” The boost from showcasing Visorcat on national television meant that the product was in higher demand than ever before. Jill says: “The publicity was great, we got a lot of enquiries after that, just the timing wasn’t very good.” With IP such an important part of the business, it is imperative that this IP stays protected. But the cost of protecting that IP presented some challenges for Visorcat once it gained popularity. Jill says: “We sold out of stock the same month we were on Dragons Den, that was the benefit. The downside was that we ran out of money to make any more products. “One of the challenges was the high cost of protecting our IP. It was a plus and a minus.
“The value of our IP now is not just in the unique innovative design and our patent. We’ve got European and US patents, and obviously a UK patent. The strength of our brand and our know-how is also vital.”
Because it was so expensive, it was, in a way, a barrier to making progress because we had to halt production for 18 months in order to pay our big patent bills. “Basically, at that time it was a choice between carrying on making the product or paying our bills, we couldn’t do both, so we decided to pay the bills and just halted production for a while until we were able to start up again. It was a difficult time for us.” However, Visorcat lived to tell the tale, due in part to its loyal customers, who had come to see Visorcat as an important addition to their motorcycling equipment.
“What kept us going was the feedback and encouragement from customers,” explains Jill. “It was because they kept saying ‘when are you going to be back in stock?’ they kept emailing us and contacting us through social media. That emboldened us to borrow some more money and start up again.” The cost of protecting their IP was certainly worth paying for Jill and Andy, and they had taken advice very early on in their business journey about how best to manage and protect their intellectual assets. “The value of our IP now is not just in the unique innovative design and our patent” Jill explains. “We’ve
got European and US patents, and obviously a UK patent. The strength of our brand and our know-how is also vital.” One way that the business protects its IP is by maintaining control over the manufacturing process. Visorcat is manufactured in its own factory in Dunbar, allowing the entrepreneurs behind it to make subtle tweaks and changes if they spot an area that could be improved. Jill says: “The product has undergone subtle improvements recently that will help us stay ahead of the game and ahead of the competition. We’re always looking for ways we can strengthen our technology. “We actually manufacture this product in-house here in Dunbar so we have total ownership of the entire process, we are able to make subtle improvements, and quite swift improvements in response to customer feedback. When we need to improve or change we are able to do that quite quickly – so that’s how we continue to protect our unique processes and our IP. We’re always looking for ways we can improve what we do. If we were manufacturing thousands of miles away we wouldn’t have control over that process and what you produce is fixed. Whereas we are making it and we can actually improve it as we make it. We’re not just sending an order out somewhere offshore and getting 10,000 products back.” Visorcat is now looking to the future, to see how more improvements could make it even more valuable to motorcyclists. The business is working with universities to establish how it could improve the product and therefore improve road safety for motorcycle users. Herriot Watt university is currently looking at Visorcat’s fluid delivery system to find ways in which it can be improved. Jill says: “At the moment, in 2018 we’re in good shape for growth, signs are really good. We’ve just sent an order to the US and we’re supplying a Danish distributor and also our network of UK stockists is steadily growing. We’re talking to a major European distributor who has links to global distribution. “That’s all going well and we’re in a good position because through investing in our marketing and branding we are able to raise our profile at events and trade shows across the UK. And I think we have now attracted the attention of some names in the motorcycle industry and that has really put us on the map.” Although manufacturing in the UK allows the company to keep control over its IP, Jill and Andy are looking at the possibility of having
the product manufactured further afield. Jill says: “We anticipate that we will license the manufacture of Visorcat elsewhere so it won’t be just manufactured in the UK and we’ll probably license the technology to specialist glove manufacturers as well.” Jill and Andy also promote motorcycle safety. Jill says: “We feel passionately about motorcycle safety, and reduced vision has been a contributing factor in some motorcycle accidents but Visorcat maximises the rider’s vision in all conditions so it is a contribution to safety. “I think the acknowledgement we’ve had from the wider road safety community has been our greatest achievement in business” Jill says. “For example, the road safety and training organisation IAM – now known as IAM RoadSmart – said ‘Visorcat provides the rider with better vision, which leads to greater safety.’ And they gave us their IAM accolade for road safety initiatives. We’ve also been
recognised by ROSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. And Bennetts the Insurers as well.” Jill hopes that, in the coming years, Visorcat will become an established brand in the motorcycle industry, recognised alongside respected motorcycling brands such as Scottoiler and Pinlock. She says: “Scottoiler is another Scottish company, with an automatic chain oiling system. It’s a good system and Pinlock is another major name and we know these guys and I would say I would like to see us up there with those major respected names.” After experiencing the ups and downs of owning and protecting IP, Jill has some words of advice for new entrepreneurs who have an idea and are looking to start out on their business journeys. She says: “I’ve recently met someone who is in a similar situation and I need to sit down with him and tell him everything that we’ve been through.
“In simple terms, I would advise them to prepare for a very long, difficult and expensive process. People say it takes three times as long as you imagine but I would say sometimes it even takes ten times as long as you’d expect – and many times more expensive. “It’s a very long, difficult and expensive process. You also need the personality to see it through, you need nerves of steel and endless energy and determination, I think. Determination is a big thing – not to mention the money. It’s good to get some early advice on protecting your IP, just so you know where you stand with that – what you can and can’t do with your IP. Some people think you can’t talk to anyone about it, but you can. You just have to be careful what you say. “Another thing is not to give up but to keep your feet firmly on the ground. A good team is important too – to help the entrepreneur to keep their feet on the ground and not give up.” n
EUROPEAN PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS
Harnessing the power of your IP Whether you are using IP for competitive advantage, to secure licensing revenue or to improve investor satisfaction, Haseltine Lake can help you get the IP protection you need. With decades of experience in helping companies to protect their innovation, and with a team of highly qualified patent attorneys across five European offices, we have what it takes to unlock the power of your intellectual property.
Email email@example.com Telephone 0117 910 3200 www.haseltinelake.com
THERESULTS Stephen Robertson, Jack Gillespie and Dovile Kemezyte reveal where companies stand in this year’s ranking
e are thrilled to announce 2018’s IP League Table rankings that saw the number of IP100 entrants exceeding 150. New entrants over the last six months have dominated our top 20. Notably, our 2018 IP League Table also features many innovative companies that work with our partners and sponsors. Congratulations to M Squared, a photonics technology company, which retained its spot at the top of the IP League Table. Moving up to second place was P2i, a company specialising in liquid repellent nanocoatings, which improved on its third-place finish in 2017. Kromek, a company developing radiation detection solutions, completed this year’s top three following a marked improvement in intellectual property (IP) management from last year. Our wholehearted congratulations to our 2018 table-toppers, and to every IP League Table entrant for the tremendous work over the past twelve months in developing and improving their IP portfolios and IP management strategies. We believe a robust IP strategy can help mitigate the many risks faced by fast-growing innovative companies. We are excited to see that a number of exciting new entrants with innovative technologies and products joined the IP100 this year, including Shot Scope Technologies, wOndary and Minerva Research Labs.
IP100 sponsors, including Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank, and Safeguard IP. Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank’s growth finance team helps a broad range of businesses to borrow money based on the quality and extent of their IP and has lent in excess of £130m to IP-rich companies in the last few years. Safeguard IP provides businesses with IP insurance to help mitigate a whole host of risks associated with managing IP portfolios. We have hosted numerous IP100 Club events throughout the year with the help of our sponsors and IP100 Champions, including LSEG ELITE, Addleshaw Goddard, Crowe Clark Whitehill, The Manufacturers’ Organisation EEF, Baker Botts and SAS Software. The IP100 Club events are held across the UK and attract entrants in the IP League Table, IP100 Champions, sponsors and investors, providing a forum to share information on how to better manage and exploit IP assets, and also giving IP-rich companies an opportunity to network and learn from each other’s experiences of growth and expansion. We recently introduced our new IP100 Club roundtable events, run exclusively for entrants and sponsors, which are focused on IP-related learning opportunities. IP100 Club events continue to raise awareness of the importance and value of IP, ensuring that the IP100 remains one of the UK’s fast-growing platforms for scalable IP-rich companies seeking investment.
IP100 Sponsors, Champions and IP100 Club We welcomed two new sponsors to the IP100: ArchOver, a peer-to-peer business lending platform that has facilitated in excess of £65 million of funding since its incorporation in 2014; and Haseltine Lake, European patent and trade mark attorneys. ArchOver and Haseltine Lake join the impressive line-up of existing
Trends The trends of the 2018 IP League Table were largely driven by regulation. We saw a significant increase in the average Critical Databases asset class score, with companies now looking to strengthen their internal data protection policies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looming on the horizon. This
has resulted in more companies ensuring their client lists and CRM databases are password protected, securely stored, and restricted only to those who require access to carry out their professional responsibilities. Only 9% of entrants currently allow unrestricted access to their Critical Databases for all staff. The same was true for Trade Secrets in light of the upcoming EU Trade Secrets Directive; a directive which aims to standardise the national laws in EU countries against the unlawful acquisition, disclosure and use of trade secrets. With more legal protection on offer for those safeguarding their trade secrets, many entrants appear to have taken the initiative and created their own trade secret policies. 26% of entrants now have such policies in place, which is an increase on 2017’s figure of 18%. The composition of this year’s IP League Table top performers was yet again dominated by entrants in the ICT & Software industry sector, who made up 40% of the IP League Table’s top 20 across all five IP asset classes, which was a slight increase from last year. This was largely driven by a strong performance from ICT & Software sector entrants across three asset classes in particular: Critical Databases, Trade Secrets, and, of course, Software. Entrants from the Material Science & Engineering industry sector accounted for almost 20% of the total, which represents a 5% increase from the previous year. Interestingly, entrants from this sector scored well in the Patent IP asset class, which suggests that we might finally be seeing an upturn in patentbacked innovation typical in this sector in the UK. It was, however, surprising to see that Material Science & Engineering companies also featured heavily in the Brand & Reputation asset class, which might suggest that those entrants
“Our wholehearted congratulations to our 2018 table-toppers, and to every IP League Table entrant for the tremendous work over the past 12 months.”
are recognising the importance of developing strong brands as another key differentiator. Entrants from the Oil, Gas & Renewables industry sector represented just over 15% of the top 20 across the board, a 5% increase from the previous year. Despite the downturn in oil and gas in the UK, these numbers might suggest innovation in this sector is on the rise. The rest of the top 20 entrants across each of the five IP asset classes were spread evenly across the remainder of the industry sectors, in line with last year’s data. Methodology The IP League Table ranking process is based upon the assessment of the following five key IP asset classes: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. These IP asset classes are consistently recognised as being the key IP assets owned by highly successful companies. They are used to create effective and robust barriers to entry, and typically underpin the competitive advantages needed for rapid growth and international expansion. We introduced a change to the IP100 scoring system this year, increasing the maximum score count to over 360 points. This allows clear differentiation between entrants as we found that many had actively sought to increase their inventory of IP assets, improve their management of IP and better align their IP portfolio and IP strategy with their business objectives. Since all of these factors resonate with investors seeking growing companies with robust and scalable competitive advantages, it followed that the IP100 scoring should reflect these elements. We are excited to finally share the top 20 rankings for 2018. n
Behind the curtain Unlike in The Wizard of Oz, there’s more than one person behind the curtain to ensure everything runs smoothly for the IP100 – namely Jack Gillespie and Dovile Kemezyte, without whom there would be no IP100.
Gillespie is part of the intellectual property (IP) valuation team at Metis Partners, but IP100 entrants will know him best as the guy behind the IP100 scoring and rankings. He has singlehandedly driven the recent upgrade and refinement of the scoring system to keep it in line with changes in IP management best practice and other regulatory changes such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new EU Trade Secrets Directive. At IP100 Club events, Gillespie provides the all-important link between IP100 sponsors and IP100 entrants, ensuring that all the necessary introductions are made. He carries out the critical question and answer interviews with entrants and determines their overall score; he has also provided invaluable feedback to entrants if they have been disappointed with their score. Gillespie is well known at Metis for “thinking outside the box” and often presents truly original solutions. The IP100 has benefited from his mathematical background and his commitment to delivering fair – and statistically accurate – scoring.
Kemezyte is the head of marketing at Metis Partners and has taken responsibility for organising everything marketing-related for the IP100. Entrants will know her best from her omni-presence at IP100 Club events, briefing the IP100 and Metis teams on target outcomes for attendees and ensuring event arrangements are perfect. She’s often found buzzing around with camera in hand, taking photos, videos and conducting interviews during IP100 Club events and manages all the important follow up and social media coverage. Kemezyte has been instrumental in fostering closer relationships with sponsors as the IP100 has evolved and the IP100 Club activities have grown. The success of IP100 Club events are due largely to her efforts and many of the sponsors would agree that she goes to lengths to ensure that they receive value for money from their support of the IP100. Now reaching its fourth publication under her steer, the IP100 would not be what it is today without Kemezyte’s passion, drive and enthusiasm.
IP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
TOP 20 ENTRANTS M Squared P2i Kromek Metail Datatecnics Corporation Synoptica Grid Smarter Cities Heald Canon Medical Research Europe Digitonic Wearable Technologies LUX Assure Shot Scope Technologies Connect-In Sphere Fluidics Minerva Research Labs Lifescaped Good Loop Adrok COREX (UK)
Food & Drink
Healthcare & Med-Tech
Manufacturing & Construction
ICT & Software
Pharma & Life Sciences
Material Science & Engineering
Oil, Gas & Renewables
“We believe that a robust IP strategy can help mitigate the many risks faced by fast-growing innovative companies.”
The following tables highlight the results obtained from the scoring of entrants. The process involves an assessment of IP-specific data linked to the following IP asset classes: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. The IP100 research team uses its proprietary process to calculate an IP score and subsequent ranking for each company.
BRAND & REPUTATION
Brand & Reputation continues to be the asset class with the highest average score within the IP League Table. Overall IP100 winner, M Squared, secured the number one spot for Brand & Reputation this year. This Scottish-based photonics business has established a template for success when it comes to brand management built on strong and effective brand policies, with an impressive track record and focus on winning awards and activities enhancing its market reputation. M Squared is reaping the benefits of its brand strategy, enabling it to enter new markets and continue to grow and expand. Second place was secured by Digitonic, a technology-driven mobile marketing company that made significant improvements to its trade mark portfolio this year, registering marks for a number of product brands and continuing to win industry accolades and build an international reputation. This strategy resulted in Digitonic significantly improving in the Brand & Reputation asset class. In third place was Dogtag, the high-adventure sports insurer that has focused on developing a consistent and universal brand image as it expands its travel insurance brand into new markets and services.
Lifescaped, a company that researches natural structures and procedures to create biomimetics, secured the number one spot in the Patents class. Lifescaped has broadened its patent portfolio in 2018 and has successfully secured its first partner in the USA that will license its patents to support the launch of a new product. Wearable Technologies leaped into second place in the Patents class, in recognition of the improvements of its patent strategy that underpins the unique wearable-tech garments for industrial workers, designed to increase workplace safety and monitor workplace hazards. In third place, P2i secured a top spot thanks to its comprehensive internal patent procedures which include portfolio management, focus on invention disclosures and pre-filing diligence. In line with the growth and the plethora of IP service providers in the market, many entrants are now using third-party support to help them manage their patent portfolios and filing strategies.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 =11 =11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
M Squared Digitonic Dogtag Kromek Jones Publishing Minerva Research Labs P2i Mussett Engineering (6t9 Technology) LUX Assure Polarisoft Appointedd Heald Metail Datatecnics Corporation Visual Products t/a Visorcat Grid Smarter Cities MATIVISION Wearable Technologies Data Conversion Systems Standard Life Employee Services
Lifescaped Wearable Technologies P2i M Squared Mussett Engineering (6t9 Technology) Kromek Metail Minerva Research Labs Canon Medical Research Europe Heald Datatecnics Corporation Grid Smarter Cities Sphere Fluidics LUX Assure Visual Products t/a Visorcat Shot Scope Technologies Synoptica Connect-In City Farm Systems KCP Environmental Services
Digitonic retained its spot at number one in the Critical Databases table this year thanks to its extensive experience in data compliance and controls, updated in light of GDPR. Synoptica, a company that offers an innovative data gathering service for customers through the company’s online software platform, scored highly in second place. Its platform enables customers to easily compile public information about a target business in a digital report, which has allowed Synoptica to collect a host of data and analytics over the years. In third place was new entrant, Shot Scope Technologies, a company reliant on critical datasets, that has developed a GPS golf watch and performance tracking software for golfers, has subsequently mapped hundreds of golf courses around the world using its technology. Although GDPR may have focused people’s minds on the importance of clean data, it’s clear in the current market that “rich” data on customers, their behaviour and their interactions with products and services are important to any successful business model and so database management continues to be vital to B2B and B2C companies. In order to facilitate the collection of “rich” data, companies appear to be moving away from basic database packages such as Microsoft Excel, and purchasing licences to use complex database systems, such as Salesforce and Zoho. 84% of entrants have now migrated from Excel to a more sophisticated system, up from 66% the previous year.
Shot Scope Technologies
Minerva Research Labs
Trade Secrets was undoubtedly this year’s most improved IP asset class for the top performers. First-placed entrant, P2i, advanced significantly in this area thanks to a complete overhaul of its trade secret management, including the drafting of a new trade secret policy and the provision of companywide staff training around the importance of trade secrets in business. Digitonic improved its position having developed its own internal wiki to manage its trade secret register and implemented further protection clauses to its employee contracts and NDAs. These improvements earned second place in this category. Third place was secured by Lifescaped, which relies on strict use of embargoes and NDAs to ensure its innovative technology and ideas are adequately protected. Top performers aside, Trade Secrets continues to be an overlooked asset class among many IP League Table entrants. This is an area that will undoubtedly garner more attention in June this year with the introduction of the EU Trade Secrets Directive offering companies greater legal protection from trade secret theft.
Mussett Engineering (6t9 Technology)
Grid Smarter Cities
Canon Medical Research Europe
Smith & Sinclair
2018’s Software table was topped by new entrant Polarisoft, a small but growing SaaS business. Its business management software package, PPM Anywhere, helps companies manage teams and projects effectively. Polarisoft was able to achieve the top spot thanks to the company’s exceptional software development standards and procedures, ensuring all code is stored, documented, and developed to high standards. MATIVISION, a company with virtual reality streaming technology, achieved second place having made notable improvements in its product to widen its use in multiple markets including medical education and training. MATIVISION has been able to accomplish this due to its modular development approach, which allows the company to easily add new functionality to its software code without major rewrites. Synoptica, the developer of an innovative data gathering service, completed this year’s top three. Software continues to be an area in which IP100 entrants invest heavily with more than 10% of entrants having spent over £250k on software development to date. This innovation spend does not solely relate to the coding elements of software development, for entrants are equally investing in their software documentation, both for developers and users, with 82% of entrants having created full developer documentation alongside their suites of software packages.
Shot Scope Technologies
Canon Medical Research Europe
Grid Smarter Cities
OTHER IP100 ENTRANTS (OUTSIDE THE OVERALL TOP 20) 1st Planner
20/20 Business Insight
City Farm Systems
Standard Life Employee Services
Clydebuilt Business Solutions
Global Surface Intelligence
Mussett Engineering (6t9 Technology)
Hard Hood Clothing
Data Conversion Systems
Art Retail Network
Deep Tek Winch IP
R&G Associates LLP
UK Doorstep Choice
Beacon Centre for the Blind
Bio ID Security
Visual Products t/a Visorcat
KB Group (UK)
Double Your Success
KCP Environmental Services
Breaking Free Online
Kids Innovations Development
Smith & Sinclair
So To Company
Zikodrive Motor Controllers
Equiniti Credit Services
Centrepoint Computer Services
She built the brand and she protects it Karen Jones has always seen the value of protecting the IP of her business as she tells Bryce Wilcock.
ormer publisher and now editor-in-chief Karen Jones has re-invented herself as a tech entrepreneur since launching Citywealth magazine and its parent company, Jones Publishing, back in 2005. Having worked for a number of titles across London including The Times and Sunday Times, Jones worked her way from a birth, marriages and death journalist all the way up to a publisher helping bring a number of new start-up titles to market. However, after leading a failed management buyout (MBO) bid for a legal publication back in 2005, she took the brave step of setting up her own publishing company with the launch of Citywealth. “Prior to joining Citywealth I spent 10 years at News International, across different departments,” she adds. “I then went on to work for a number of start-up financial publications in the City such as the Financial News. “My reason for the change was that I had been working for other people doing the same thing again and again, launching start-ups and
getting them on their feet. I was making a lot of money for other people and not myself and so I decided to take a career break for a year, going from Alaska to Argentina to think about the next move. “Then, on my return, I led a MBO of another publishing company and I had advisors who were keen to get the deal done, but it just wasn’t to be. So, armed with £60,000 from a few credit cards, I launched Citywealth and here we are today.” The online magazine started life as a specialist title focused purely on wealth management, but, like most successful entrepreneurs, Jones was never going to settle for just being “another magazine”, she wanted to create a brand with a legacy that would go on to become a publishing powerhouse. “There are now four parts to our business, the first of which is editorial. We have a print directory of 200 pages that is published yearly and has a list of recommendations of people in the industry. We also have a large website and a weekly email newsletter that features topical news from anywhere from divorce to private
equity for the ultra-high net worth market. “Secondly, we have our own subscription networking clubs. For example, we’re currently mentoring youngsters across the City who are interested in wealth management to network and are helping them make connections. “The third part to our business is our awards ceremonies and events. We have five award ceremonies that have their own online voting processes, helping people nominate and judge the best people in the industry. “Finally, we have recently built up a huge interactive website that has 2,500 pages, almost like a TripAdvisor, where clients can come on and star rate and leave comments about wealth managers and advisors in the industry. This was a new development in July 2017 and one that we are extremely excited about because it brings new sources of revenue like biography upgrades.” Jones’ work in the City and her determination to make Citywealth a success hasn’t just been noticed by her industry peers, either. In April 2016, she was granted Freedom of the City of London, an ancient
“We’ve been focused on protecting our intellectual property since year one. Our design, web and marketing agencies have always told us to protect our brand and digital assets. ”
tradition going back to the 13th century, closely associated with membership of the City livery companies. The freedom of the City was originally created to grant certain privileges to citizens who weren’t the property of feudal lords and were granted permission to practice their trade and own land. Though the practical reasons
to obtain freedom of The City are no longer relevant, gaining admittance remains a unique part of London’s history and is an honour to be accepted. This accolade, coupled with countless industry awards, is testament to how much the company has grown. Citywealth now boasts an annual turnover of almost £1m, hosts around 30
events every year and employs eight members of staff in London. So, what is this success down to? Well, unlike most other businesses in their early years, Jones placed a heavy focus on the firm’s intellectual property (IP) from day one. “We have lots of trademarks. In fact, we have five brand names across the business. For example, as well as Citywealth, we also have brand names such as Powerwomen that we protect. “This means we can stop other people from launching similar titles and our lawyers are able to let us know if people try to do something similar. “It has helped us tremendously in terms of brand recognition and has enabled us to create an attractive brand that people really buy into across the board. “It means people can come into the business through many different touchpoints but our aim is to feed them across five or six of them and generate money from all avenues. People understand what we’re doing, we look after them and we add value to their business. “We’ve been focused on protecting our IP since year one. Our design, web and marketing agencies have always told us to protect our brand and digital assets. “We’ve also bought around 30 different website addresses just to protect anyone launching anything even remotely similar to any of our brand names online. It’s all about looking at what the threats could be to our business and ensuring we minimise them.” The afore mentioned Powerwomen brand is a great example of this in motion. The annual Powerwomen Awards recognise individuals and companies who maximise the potential of women in wealth and has its own annual ranking index. Jones and the team at Citywealth also host their own Powerwomen networking clubs where women from across the sector come together to hear from guest speakers and discuss best practice. It’s this ability to engage with new audiences and make the most of its IP that has helped Jones Publishing finish first for the brand and reputation IP asset class in the IP100 over the past two years. Jones says: “IP is a saleable asset. So, if anyone was to buy the Jones Publishing brand, then they would also buy everything else that comes with it. “It also means our mindset is one of ensuring that when we move forward we don’t run into
train crashes, we have got everything protected and have lawyers on it all of the time. “We can move forward with a kind of surety that you’re not going to hit any bumps or people saying ‘oh look we’ve copied you’ or anything like that, we’ve understood what we’re doing all along the way. It provides us with a safety mechanism to move forward with confidence. It’s a growing asset. “Another thing that has proven beneficial to us has been our focus on social media. We saw that there had been a massive shift towards social media some time ago in our sector and a lot of communication has moved from email to platforms such as LinkedIn. “We’ve now hired a separate company who manage our profile and reputation constantly
on social media and we have strategy meetings with them month-on-month to ensure all of our products are pushed out through Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to ensure we’re maximising the recognition of our brands.” Jones was inspired to apply for the IP100 because of the heavy focus the company had placed on IP since its inception. She explains: “It’s a topic that we’re interested in, IP and social media are important areas for us in the media but many businesses seem to underestimate them. “Finishing top for brand and reputation has been brilliant for us. It’s great for team morale and is a strong message for us to get out into the industry. We know that when you’re involved in financial services, the whole
industry has a huge understanding of the benefits IP and brand has and it allows us to be a thought leader on the topic.” So, what’s next for the company? Jones concludes: “We’re going to have exponential growth. As the market changes, pace is gathering. The rate of growth has maybe been incremental over the past 10 or so years but I think that we’ll grow much faster as the market changes and the ability to reach people and take their payments becomes easier. “The world is becoming smaller and we’re gaining more access than ever to global markets. The speed of possibility and growth is on our side. In terms of IP, it’s absolutely essential that we protect everything so we don’t fall foul of other businesses.” n
“It’s a topic that we’re interested in, intellectual property and social media are important areas for us in the media but many businesses seem to underestimate them.”
Helping entrepreneurs to join the elite Umerah Akram explains how London Stock Exchange Group is not only helping private businesses to raise money but also to tackle the challenges that come with scaling up. MENTION the name “London Stock Exchange” and most entrepreneurs will think of giant blue-chip companies like BP, GlaxoSmithKline and Marks & Spencer in the FTSE100 index or up-and-coming brands on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), such as Goals Soccer Centres, Majestic Wine and Quiz Clothing. Yet the equity markets are just the tip of the iceberg. One of the most exciting areas of work at London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is its “Elite” international business support and capital raising programme. Launched in the UK in 2014, the initiative helps companies to scale-up and, so far, more than 120 British businesses have joined. So, why is one of the world’s largest stock
exchange operators working with privatelyowned companies? “As part of our primary markets activity, we found that – especially after the economic downturn – we were engaging with private companies at an early stage, engaging with earlier-stage investors and having broader access to finance discussions not just about initial public offerings (IPOs),” explains Umerah Akram, head of Elite’s activities in the UK. “LSEG is unique because we have a full offering, supporting the smallest of companies to the largest of companies. Not many exchange groups can say that. “A lot of our work focuses on how our markets remain attractive to companies that are growing and how we create efficient access to
capital. We felt we could better structure that engagement and formalise it through the Elite programme.” Companies that take part in the programme typically have revenues of more than £5m, although some have sales totalling tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds. Businesses can come from any sector of the economy and firms that are rich in intellectual property (IP) are often interested in joining before they reach £5m. “IP-rich businesses are typically looking for support because they need to protect their business model and they need help to find investors,” Akram says. “Firms with lots of IP are special because they need a good amount of capital to continue their research and
“Companies that join the programme don’t just want to interact with the investors and advisors – they also want to do business with each other.”
development, and also to commercialise their ideas.” Around 60% of the British companies that have taken part in Elite already have some form of external investment, whether through private equity or venture capital. Often they join because they’re beginning to look ahead to their next fundraising round even if it’s still a few years away. “There’s a wide range of companies taking part,” says Akram. “What they all have in common is a good growth rate and great ambitions. “To my mind, there are three big challenges that face scale-ups: whether or not they have a strategy in place, even if that might need to change or pivot; how do they get the right people to deploy that strategy; and how do they get the right investors and funding to help them execute their plans? We try to offer everything related to those three challenges.” The growth programme is primarily delivered face-to-face at LSEG’s offices, with experts brought in to speak to participants about topics such as fundraising, growth strategies and how to manage talented staff. Entrepreneurs who have earned their stripes also come along to inspire the cohort of companies with their stories. Informal networking sessions always prove
popular, as do introductions to investors, advisors and other companies. LSEG can also help companies to raise their profile in the media, if they choose to do so. Yet the growth programme is only just the start of the journey. LSEG also offers “Elite Connect”, a digital platform that brings together listed companies, institutional investors and financial intermediaries to work together online, saving time and saving money. The latest addition to the family is “Elite Club Deal”, an online private placement platform that connects Elite companies to professional investors. “Although we’re introducing companies to investors through the programme, we know there are ways that we can make the process more efficient,” Akram explains. “We’ve yet to see a UK company raise funds through the platform, but we’ve already supported two international deals – one was a ‘basket’ bond of 10 Italian Elite companies and the other was an equity raise for Israeli financial technology business eToro.” Participants in Elite have included M Squared, the Glasgow-based laser developer that finished at the top of last year’s IP100 league table. The company, which was founded in 2006, raised £6.7m from Business Growth Fund in April 2012. IntegraFin became the UK Elite company to float on the main market in London in March
2018, valuing the business at more than £640m. The group – which was founded in 1999 above an Italian restaurant in London – owns the Transact software platform, which is used by some 5,200 financial advisors to manage £29bn of funds belonging to around 155,000 clients. One of the best-known brands to have taken part in the training scheme is Unruly Media, the video advertising company bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2015 for £58m. Unruly was part of the first cohort to join Elite, which also included Graze, Raspberry Pi and Naked Wines. “People always recognise the brands, but actually a whole variety of businesses have taken part,” says Akram. “Four Elite companies from the UK have gone on to make IPOs – three on AIM and one on the main market – while LendInvest raised funding through London Stock Exchange’s order book for retail bonds (ORB) and recently listed a bond on our corporate markets. Elite was initially launched in Italy in 2012 – where it has helped many family-owned businesses to consider succession planning, exporting and raising growth capital – and has recently expanded into markets including Brazil, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Further international expansion is also on the cards. “Companies that join the programme don’t just want to interact with the investors and advisors – they also want to do business with each other,” adds Akram. “As the international network expands, I think we’ll see more and more companies collaborating with each other overseas.” n
Fantastic Female Innovations and Where to Find Them Prominent IBM inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca talks to Sandy McCallum and Ryan Diamond from Metis Partners about women, innovation and intellectual property (IP). THIS year, the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) has dedicated its 26 April World Intellectual Property Day to “Women in Innovation”, highlighting the brilliance, ingenuity and curiosity of the women who are driving change in our world. In celebration of this year’s WIPO theme, Metis Partners reached out to one of the world’s most eminent inventors, Lisa Seacat DeLuca of IBM, for her insight on women’s role in powering innovation and creating IP. DeLuca is a distinguished engineer for IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT), where she leads a team called the App Factory, focused on bringing IoT use cases to market. She is the most prolific female inventor in IBM history, and the only woman to ever achieve the 100th Invention Plateau Award, an IBM internal patent award system. In her spare time, Lisa is a TED speaker, and a self-published author of two children’s books titled A Robot Story and The Internet of Mysterious Things. Metis Partners spoke to her about her views on women and innovation. Q: Research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) indicated that in 2010, women were cited as inventors on only 8% of the patent filings in the UK, and 9.7% in the US. Why do you think there is still a massive gender imbalance when it comes to patent filing? I think it’s important to take a closer look at this. Just because the statistics point to a lack of women inventors doesn’t mean there is a significant imbalance in the number of women innovators. The fact is there are so many great ideas that are never protected with a patent. One of the reasons I love the patent system so much is that it is an unbiased system. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like, where you come from, or even whether or not you’re an expert on the topic: the idea has to stand on its own for a patent to be granted.
That being said, when it comes to the makeup of inventorship and the lack of diversity – such as women inventors – I think the problem is more due to one of three reasons that have nothing to do with women not innovating. These are: 1. The cost of filing a patent; 2. The inventor doesn’t realise the innovation could be patentable; and 3. The person lacks exposure to other inventors. In regard to my third point, there are great answers to help these people. For example, I am part of an excellent programme called
the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors programme. They are helping to give a face to inventors by having real, regular people who happen to also be inventors share their stories. These stories are helping change the ingrained view that we hold as a society, specifically that inventions come from all different people from all over the world including women. Once you see a living-breathing example of someone who has done something truly amazing, it’s not only inspiring but it makes it easier to picture yourself doing it. Often these programmes also provide valuable network connections and mentors help solve
my second point, pointing out that your innovation is patentable and giving advice on the steps you need to take. IBM is also committed to paving the way for women. A great example of this is the company’s IBM Women’s Council, an executive team that sponsors women’s initiatives as well as progressing women’s talent across multiple leadership roles both in technology and business. As with AAAS, this programme really helps provide women with the guidance and resources needed to not only bring great ideas to life but to take the steps needed to secure patents on these innovations. Q: Despite the poor representation, statistics suggest that female innovators and leaders often boost the success rate of a business. Do you think that companies are sometimes disadvantaged because of the lack of female representation within? Women are incredible and, as I stress to my daughters and sons, they are every bit as capable and intelligent as our male counterparts. A team that doesn’t have diversity, and isn’t representative of their end users, will miss out on opportunities to delight their customers. And this diversity isn’t limited to gender, it must include race, religion, sexual preferences, and more. It should also take into account our experiences: diverse and unique teams do a better job of telling the most engaging stories and uncovering product features and solutions that we might never have thought about otherwise. My best inventions and brainstorming teams are diverse. To me, #WomenInTech is providing the role models and proof that women can and should be making waves in technology so our next generation of women and men support each other. Q: You’ve become well-known as a serial inventor and gifted engineer but also as a talented author and speaker. Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how have you kept your creativity alive over the years? It’s hard not to be inspired when you are living and breathing technology each day. That’s especially true when you are working for IBM, which is at the centre of incredible innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), Watson and the hot area of innovation where I work, IBM’s Watson IoT business. When you talk about IoT, it all begins with connected devices: according to Forbes columnist Louis Columbus, the number of connected devices will grow from 15 billion
“Women are incredible and, as I stress to my daughters and sons, they are every bit as capable and intelligent as our male counterparts.”
in 2015 to 30 billion in 2020 and 75 billion in 2025. These devices are creating an incredible amount of data. Consider this: the volume of data generated from these devices will reach 600 zettabytes per year by 2020. Now with the IoT, these things – an elevator, washing machine, an automobile and more – get connected and the possibilities are endless. For example, we can predict when a car, an elevator or an appliance may break down and then proactively fix it to avoid unnecessary breakdowns and inconveniences. We can create an enterprise smart assistant that doesn’t just wait for you to ask it questions, it follows you throughout your day and proactively meets your needs without you even asking, whether you’re at work, in your car or staying in a hotel room. The possibilities are literally unlimited. Right now, everyone from “tinkerers” to start-ups and huge enterprises like IBM is excited to become part of this transformational time in history, and I’m no exception. Every day I hear about new gadgets, new ways that businesses as well as our physical lives can be impacted through technology. This is really what inspires me. This idea of finding out how technologies can move into new areas and solve problems that didn’t exist yesterday. This is an opportunity I get to consider every day, the idea that the impossible is now possible. This makes it an exciting time to be a technologist. Q: Are you encouraged to see many of our IP100 entrants are being led by female chief executives, founders and directors? It’s exciting to see such great female representation that extends from the director level all the way up to chief executive. I’m excited to work with organisations such as this and help inspire females to pursue their interests no matter what industry or role it may be. The IP100: showcasing innovation Metis Partners echoes DeLuca’s views that from both an individual and corporate innovation standpoint, securing IP protection is extremely important, however we believe that extends well beyond patents. That’s why we created the IP League Table and our unique approach to scoring and ranking companies’ IP
management, broadening our focus beyond patents, to identify the top IP100 entrants. The IP League Table ranking process involves an evaluation of IP-specific data linked to the following IP asset classes: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. The IP100 shines a much-needed spotlight on companies that are relying on their IP assets to create effective barriers to entry and the competitive advantages needed for growth and international expansion. The emphasis of our process is placed on the effective management of IP assets, rather than the revenues they earn. This ensures that a level playing field exists between innovative companies whether they are revenuegenerating or pre-revenue. We also established the IP100 Club, as we recognised that innovators can learn good IP practice from each other and benefit hugely from sharing their experiences of innovation and expansion. As DeLuca rightly commented, often an obstacle for inventors is the lack of access to other inventors and not knowing the steps to take to bring an invention to market. Through exclusive access to monthly events across the UK, the IP100 Club promotes a culture of innovation and IP creation, and provides information on how to better manage and exploit IP assets. The IP100 Club also gives companies a chance to network and gain valuable feedback from other entrants on IP strategy and other matters facing IP-rich companies such as fundraising, scaling up and international expansion. We are excited to be celebrating the success of women innovators among IP100 entrants and to share the inspiring stories of these chief executives: Karen Jones, chief executive of Jones Publishing who recently won the Gold Award in the female entrepreneur of the year category at the Citywealth Leaders List; Jill Boulton, chief executive of award-winning Visorcat (and our best known IP100 biker); Moya Crawford, chief executive of Deep Tek Engineering; and, Emma Perfect, chief executive of Lux Assure. The IP100 is proud to be part of the global recognition of the emerging rise and importance of creative and innovative women in business, especially in those sectors where IP plays a key role in business success. n
Is it vandalism? Or a brave step? People who work in innovation aren’t in the business of ‘money for old rope’. But for Moya Crawford, the exact opposite is true… Suzy Jackson learns the ropes.
ave you ever seen Steam Punk?” Crawford asks me. I’m aware of it, as a genre of science fiction that has an historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. “Well,” she continues, “I think of Innovation Punk – it’s an attitude – well set in British culture, because if you go back to the Royal Society, its founding motto was ‘take nobody’s word for it’, and I rather like the concept.” The style of innovation Crawford has been involved in throughout her career has been about doing things that had been previously thought impossible – like salvaging cargo from vessels 3,000m below the sea. Her company, Deep Tek Winch IP, was formed to capture and exploit the intellectual property (IP) surrounding the use of synthetic filament rope in combination with drum winches; but this is just one specific example of the type of IP generation achieved by this family business. “We were one of the first companies in the world, not just in the salvage world, to make the change from steel wire rope to synthetic filament rope for deployment and recovery operations. In doing so we learned how a very particular form of material – High Modulus PolyEthene, or HMPE for short – behaved in combination with drum winches and what it was like to work with. Two patents were then developed, the first for multi-layer spooling and the second for compacting the rope using vibration instead of tension. These sit within a separate IP company, to incorporate this knowledge and experience for exploitation in the wider market.” By taking this IP and making it a different business, Crawford recognised that monetising IP is very different from using it in the marine salvage business she has run. But what, in layman’s terms, is synthetic filament rope made from HMPE and what are its benefits? “Essentially, HMPE rope is a flexible, high performance tension member that is made from literally millions of incredibly fine, hair-like threads – or filaments as we call them – that are thousands of metres long. As a novel material, they are first spun and then together as a yarn. The rope
manufacturer then braids them into a rope. The specific filament that we use with our drum winches is the HMPE, DM2O XBO. Its benefits are that it has a very similar strength property to steel, but it’s a seventh of the weight in air and weightless in water. It is also inert, so it doesn’t corrode. It withstands the abuse of lifting operations in which heave compensation is used – this essentially means running the same piece of rope back and forward over a sheave for considerable periods of time. “When you go to use it, you can immediately lift more for the same winch size and power capacity, because there is little or no weight penalty to eat into the payload and it’s much kinder and easier to handle, because unlike steel wire rope there is no locked-in energy, due to torque and this makes it compliant when it’s not under tension. Extremely importantly, too, it becomes possible to predict remaining rope lifetime, because it’s inert, and corrosion is taken out of the equation.” Developing a brand-new technology in one of the oldest professions in the world is hard enough. “We took the risks to invest heavily in our own on site operations and saw the benefits in our business. But taking that technology into the oil and gas sector, and getting other people to change, that’s a very interesting challenge. Deep Tek formed an IP company to protect the IP, and to look towards manufacturing and providing products to other people. That’s one of the biggest changes, “you’re no longer in control and making your own decisions about implementing the technology. There’s a lot involved in packaging your IP, presenting it to other people to make money from it. Because our technology is most applicable to the marine world, we have patents on a global basis, but we’re not restricted to any activity; we focus on oil and gas, but there are other complimentary sectors, for example, ocean mining. “The financial prize is enormous; if you just look at the number of winches or cranes worldwide… but getting uptake of the technology is the hard part.” Crawford describes the difficulty she has faced in making people open
their minds to the innovations she’s been involved with. “What’s fascinating,” she begins, “is that people who are innovative tend to think other people are innovative, too, and that’s not always the case.” We [innovators] are often out in the world with the wrong mind set, because what we consider to be so obvious to us, is hidden to others and even though many people do not wish to change at all, it appears that one of the most offensive things one can accuse someone of is ‘not being innovative’”. Crawford believes it’s more binary than that; you are, or you are not innovative. It’s a state. “I think there needs to be much more open discussion around this. Companies deceive themselves about how they wish to run, their real appetite for change and it’s fascinating.” So, whilst Deep Tek Winch IP is all about technology, it’s also, and just as importantly, about people and philosophy. “Because if you can’t persuade people to change the way they do things they will not use your IP,” she points out, “your business is somewhat limited.” Marine salvage is perceived as a high-risk industry, she says – “it does take risk, but only because it is proficient at quantifying the consequences of failure, and that’s where the industry is a very good preparation for pushing
technology forward. Failure isn’t always the end of the world, but the consequence of that failure can be, and that’s a useful mindset to have.” Understanding the consequences of her decisions has really been a theme in Crawford’s whole career, a fascinating story in itself – and not what you’re probably expecting to hear. Shes not a chemist or a physicist with doctorates under her belt – what she has is a vast store of hands-on experience, which in the engineering field, earns her a far more practical qualification upon which to draw. “I began, probably,” she laments, “in what people would think was entirely the wrong way. I got my place at uni at the age of 16, and I gave it up at 17 to run away to sea. “I have done salvage all my life. Entirely selftaught, in business, in engineering, in science.” Which is a lot of self-teaching in a lot of different areas. “I went across to Britain’s most remote inhabited island, Foula – my parents had an oyster farm on the west coast of Lewis – and after a school trip to St Kilda, thought I’d go to see the island of Foula before going to university, as a comparison. “Going to the island in an open boat, the skipper told me they had divers on the island
who were working on a wreck, and I thought ‘I must have nothing to do with them…’ and so,” she continues, and I can hear the glint in her eye as she speaks, “as was inevitable, things didn’t work out like that… and by the winter, my now-husband of 40 years had asked me to marry him. We were the first wedding on the island for 40 years. “And so, with him, I went from working on a 48-foot wooden boat in 15m of water, to break all kinds of records for recovery at depth. “It was a very unconventional decision,” she concedes, “but not one I regret. “We built up the salvage business together, so that Alec was technical director and I became managing director, doing everything and organising everything to do some major salvage jobs, like cutting through five deck levels in 3,000m of water in the Mediterranean. And that work hasn’t been repeated by any company, anywhere,” she states with pride. “Salvage is a very tough business, and it’s tough on what it requires of the people doing it, so to do all that, to build a business, and an IP company, as well as bringing up a family of our own… life’s been very full.” And for Crawford , the link between her early salvage career and her move into innovation is easily made. “It’s not conventional, but what’s amazing, now, is that I can take a tremendous amount of the commercial infrastructure around salvage, and increasingly apply it to innovation. Salvage is an ancient practice, an occupation, an activity. It has very well-defined law, a law of its own, and a welldeveloped framework around it. “I applied these tools to innovation; so that we are essentially dealing with the risk people associate with change in the same astute way. I find this a huge and increasing help towards how we take technology out, how we contract around it and how we implement it. You must get the IP out and working, and if you can’t do that then it has no value.” “What was very interesting about our salvage work was that we knew exactly where we were, technically and had little choice. We could only go where the wrecks were. As the shallow ones were salved we had to go deeper and deeper “This forced progression meant that when we first went from dismantling ships underwater for their non-ferrous parts to doing cargo recovery, which is a very specific part of salvage, we could buy second hand equipment
from the oil and gas industry. But by the mid-1980s, we were so far ahead of oil and gas industry, in terms of depth, that we had to start designing our own equipment. “This was particularly evident when we went from 1,800 to 3,000 metres, it was such a leap and we had to solve so many problems – weight issues, power issues, and more that we found we had to design and make our own equipment. Key parts of this we patented, because we knew if we were solving the problems for ourselves, we were solving similar problems for other people.” This was also part of the justification of spending the investment on salvage projects from which there might be no income, because this part of the industry works under ‘No Cure/ No Pay’. “We had broken technological barriers, and the patenting of our fully integrated ‘Winder’ system, which delivered power signals and lift to deep water, in one pass through the water column, was one of the ways to re-disk the investments we made. And it has proven to be the case.” “The most difficult thing for us is the conservatism of the oil and gas sector – they’re not necessarily looking proactively to change. And we are fighting in a big league; every so often we must kill a mammoth, then we must live off it until the next one comes along. “One of our greatest successes, in the past was being the main contractor for a scaled-up version of our salvage system for a well intervention system working from a ship instead of an oil rig. This cumulated in a US $73.5m contract on two key pieces of technology. Sadly, we were only a few months in to receiving revenue when our customer went into receivership, which was something of a blow. I still take my hat off to the company involved, however. “Following this experience and after scrutinising the market, we decided to split the different parts; the winding technology for power and signals; the drum winch and HMPE rope; the underwater controls and industrial tools – because, after our client collapsed, there appeared to be no others to take on our radical, fully-integrated approach, however cost-efficient. But we considered that there were companies that could make use of some of the component parts. It was this that drove us to dismantle what we had created and put our investment and energy specifically into the
“Time is our most precious commodity; we collaborate, we share, and there are only rare occasions that we draw a line under progress, call it our sole IP, and protect it.”
drum winch/HMPE rope technology. “You can either consider this an act of engineering vandalism or a brave commercial step. Perhaps it is both. Our drum winch/ HMPE rope, supported by our salvage approach went into the first two offshore knuckle boom cranes, anywhere in the world. When we feel we have this initiative under control, that will be the time to bring back the other innovations.” And life as a woman in this industry? “I work in three worlds; marine salvage, marine science, and oil and gas. I split my time between the three. If you take salvage, there were very, very few women when I began, and so that was in some ways quite tough. But because we were a family business, it was easier on the inside, even though it was a bit daunting in the outside world. But I find them a really, good group of people to work with, and so this industry is where my heart lies. “In marine science, there are a lot of women, it’s 50:50. And I see the benefit of that in that women tend to work quite differently, and so I enjoy that part too. “And oil and gas – well, there aren’t that many women, and I find it the toughest of all the industries to work in. Not because it’s full of men, but because it has such an alien philosophy. Nothing to do with the fact it’s full of lots of chaps.” And where is Deep Tek Winch IP business headed? “We’ll be putting our drum winch/ HMPE technology into active, hybrid positionkeeping systems for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs). That’s potentially a very big market for us. And we’ve been doing a lot of work with simulation, to show how our technology works, its cost benefits, and the savings it offers in CO2, NOx and underwater noise emissions. A pilot project has just been completed in the OSC simulator in Ålesund in Norway, and a follow-on project involving one of the global drilling companies and a major winch manufacturer with should hopefully
begin in July of this year. Once we get a little further down the line, and have got the implementation problems solved, we will enter into a number of licensing agreements.” Innovation is about broadcasting and receiving, she says. “And when we talk about innovation, we often just think about the ‘nuts and bolts’ or software, but it’s about collaborating across industries and incorporating science. Deep Tek Winch IP gets its technology out by dealing with individuals in much larger companies, with whom we collaborate closely. “Our relationships with Lankhorst as rope manufacture and DSM Dyneema, which produces the DM20 XBO, HMPE filament from which it is made, is a clear example of working together for mutual benefit. “We do take a very collaborative approach to innovation,” Crawford reinforces, as this is important to her. “We accept that when we take the radical things we think and do to other companies, instead of protecting all of our IP, we have a policy of sharing practically everything we do, openly. Only then is there the trust required to move forward in leaps and bounds. They may go and work with our competitors, who will benefit, but this also helps to bring on the market. As a small business it’s often better for us to share advances,” she says, citing a range of benefits. “Time is our most precious commodity; we collaborate, we share, and there are only rare occasions that we draw a line under progress, call it our sole IP, and protect it. “And that’s the irony; you spend a great deal of your life sharing your hard-won knowledge and experience to get people to think slightly differently, even though you’ll never sell to them. But unless you can change the collective opinion on how things should be done, you’ll will never cross sufficient commercial ‘Ts’ and dot sufficient financial ‘Is’ to make that sale to those individuals who really do like what you have achieved and see its advantage.” n
TURNING TO YOUR PEERS Frustrated about the lack of finance available for their own businesses, Angus Dent and his colleagues created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer lending platform that helps innovative companies to borrow money at affordable rates. IT’S a situation in which so many entrepreneurs will have found themselves – you’ve come up with a great idea to expand your business, offering a new product or service to your customers, or expanding into a fresh sector or location. All you need now is the money. And that’s where you hit a snag. While banks may be lending more cash than they were during the aftermath of the global financial crisis, that borrowing often comes at
a high price, with unaffordable interest rates or unrealistic expectations about guarantees linked to the family home or other personal assets. Step forward Angus Dent and his fellow founders at London-based ArchOver. While they were running their own businesses, they came up against that very same obstacle – so they decided to do something about it. They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P)
lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year. Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts
“At the core of those businesses there is usually a very good idea, which you could say is intellectual property (IP). Those sorts of companies with strong IP tend to rent that IP in various forms, often as software or as services.”
are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards. “There’s no typical lender using our platform,” explains Dent. “We have a diverse group of individuals – the minimum amount that you can lend is £1,000 per project, so we have some people who simply have £1,000 to lend and then we have some other individuals who have each lent £2m in total. “Between those two extremes, you have some people who put in £1,000 a month or £5,000 a month and some who put in £1,000 a quarter. What all of them have in common is that they’re investing on exactly the same basis – they all get the same information on the company and they all get exactly the same interest rate, which we believe is very important. “As well as the individual lenders, we also have a small group of family offices, which tend to lend larger amounts to each project. We also have some funds that also use us to invest. “Some larger small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) use us for treasury management. If they have spare cash on their balance sheet that they don’t need in their own business and want to earn a decent return on it then they can invest it with us.” Dent and co-founders Brian Basham and Ian Anderson developed ArchOver during 2013 and then secured a £3m investment during the spring of 2014 from Hampden Group, which provides financial and business support services and manages insurance assets and underwriting capacity in excess of £2bn. As ArchOver’s parent company, Hampden has not only invested in the business itself but has also injected cash to the platform, putting its money where its mouth is and lending to other businesses. The platform’s P2P lending has appealed to a wide variety of businesses. Autostop Leather – which has been making seat covers and floor mats for car companies such as Ford, Lexus and
Toyota since 1991 – borrowed £300,000 via the platform to help it develop new products for its customers. Ergowealth, which is based at Marlow in Buckinghamshire, was founded in 2013 by a group of financial planners. It borrowed £200,000 through ArchOver to fund the expansion of its mortgage advisory service by using its contracted revenues as security. TLM Technologies – which offers electronic point-of-sale (EPOS), back office and head office systems – secured not one but two loans through ArchOver, injecting a combined £1.1m into the technology business. The first allowed it to replace its previous invoice finance facility with a 12-month, £600,000 loan secured against its accounts receivable, while the second 12-month loan for £500,000 was based on its contracted revenues from software licenses and service maintenance contracts. “We started with what you might call ordinary manufacturing businesses, with factory units that produce a certain amount of goods each month,” Dent says. “We’ve then worked with a wider range of businesses, from suppliers to the construction industry through to professional services firms, such as accountants and lawyers. “A little over a year ago, we realised that – if you look at the equity side of things – companies that have contracted, recurring revenues always attract a premium valuation because they’re predictable and stable. But there was no equivalent on the lending side of things – we thought that was a bit daft because you’re putting yourself in a position where you can’t lend to some of the most stable, cash-generative businesses. “At the core of those businesses there is usually a very good idea, which you could say is intellectual property (IP). Those sorts of companies with strong IP tend to rent that IP in various forms, often as software or as services. “So, we put together a service called ‘Secured & Assigned’, which takes that
contracted, recurring revenue and wraps it up and almost makes it into an annuity type revenue and, in an intangible way, pops that revenue onto the balance sheet and allows us to lend against it. That extended our focus into another whole group of businesses, into software businesses, into serviced office businesses, into maintenance businesses, into wealth management firms.” Between £10m and £12m of ArchOver’s lending in 2017 was based around that service, demonstrating the high demand for its financial products. Now, the platform’s latest step is allowing it to work even more closely with IPrich companies. “Working in those areas led us down the road of looking at how we could help those companies fund their continuing investment in IP,” says Dent. “HM Revenue & Customs pays a research and development (R&D) tax credit, but it takes time even after the year-end to pull the numbers together, file the CT600 form to make the claim and then wait for the Revenue to cogitate. “In the past few months, we’ve come up with a new service called ‘Research & Development Advance’, which – as the name implies – advances money against the R&D claim that’s due to the company. Two of the first companies to use it work in the security sector, with one developing facial recognition software and the other making body scanners for airports.” n
Angus Dent, Founder & CEO ArchOver Limited 5th floor, 40 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BT 020 3021 8100 | archover.com
Encouraging women to
What are organisations doing to support and encourage female innovators? BQ put the question to five big names.
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) “Despite general improvements in gender equality around the world, gender gaps in patenting, in particular, persist: just under one-third of the international patent applications filed via the WIPO-administered international patent system included at least one women inventor. That’s why WIPO is working to boost the participation of women in all areas of intellectual property. In 2014, WIPO adopted a new gender policy that aims to provide a general framework for the integration of a gender perspective across the organisation’s policies and programmes. Frequently in cooperation with national intellectual property offices and other partners, WIPO organises informational and capacity building events around the world, among a range of related activities. In fact, the theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April is ‘Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity’ – celebrating the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.” London Stock Exchange (LSE) “Diversity is a key driver for development and innovation, which is why Elite is committed to championing female representation on the programme. We are continually trying to engage female founders and chief executives and have set up a bursary in the UK to support them in joining Elite. A number of inspiring female founders and chief executives have been part of the UK programme, bringing their unique experience, background and approach to the Elite community.” UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) “We are committed to encouraging innovation in women. Our outreach team attend events designed to support women in business. In science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) there is a lack of female representation, so we attend career fairs to encourage women to work in this field and, when recruiting patent examiners, we use channels that target women in STEM careers. We also collaborate with ‘IP Inclusive’, which exists to help support and improve diversity in the IP profession. On International Women’s Day, we launched a ‘Women’s Inclusive Network’ to help us achieve our goal of being a workplace where everybody is able to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender. Our 2016 research showed that the gender gap in worldwide patenting, although significant, is decreasing. In 10 years, female inventorship had risen by 16%. There’s still more to do and we’re excited to continue working against this challenge.” Scottish Enterprise The ‘Principally Women’ programme looks to foster and encourage growth supported by practical and personal skills needed to scale: developing leadership styles; raising investment; generating and closing sales; managing teams; emotional intelligence, life values; and knowing yourself. The pilot programme is fully funded by Scottish Enterprise and there is no charge to participants. The pilot programme is aimed at female entrepreneurs, leaders, founders, or women in senior management teams who hold influence in businesses with potential to scale. The programme seeks to draw out women principals at a point where life stage, opportunity and ambition are aligned but specific skills, confidence, knowledge or support may be lacking. Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) “To stay competitive, businesses should continually innovate. Research shows that women power radical innovation: companies with more women are more likely to introduce new products than those with less diverse teams. Through collaboration with partners such as Converge, Interface and Entrepreneurial Scotland, WES creates the environment for women-owned businesses to start up and grow, realising the untapped economic potential of an additional £7.6bn contribution to the Scottish economy. For example, on our ‘Lead with WES’ women’s leadership course in Fife, we link up growth businesses with Interface, helping the companies to access university-led innovation and support.”
Connecting businesses requiring ďŹ nance with investors seeking a secure and favourable return
archover.com ArchOver is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 723755 Capital at risk
GUARDING AGAINST ATTACK David Bloom, founder of Safeguard IP, explains how having intellectual property insurance can not only mitigate the risk of expensive court cases but can also increase a firm’s attractiveness to investors, lenders and collaborators. COMING up with an idea for a new product or service is one of the most exciting parts of being in business. Entrepreneurs can spend months or even years carrying out research and development (R&D) work before being ready to share their idea with customers. Then they hit the intellectual property (IP) minefield. What if someone else has already had a similar idea? What if a rival or a malicious third party takes legal action? Step forward David Bloom, the founder of Safeguard IP, the UK’s only dedicated IP insurance broker. Bloom is an expert in defending IP, having spent 15 years as a litigator with Roiter Zucker Solicitors, Pinsent Masons, and Olswang before being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and founding his own company in 2014. In the beginning, most of Bloom’s customers were manufacturing businesses that turned out physical products, but his client base has since expanded to include software companies, app developers and a host of other firms. More recently, he’s received a lot of interest from medical device developers and early-stage pharmaceutical companies. “The IP insurance market is developing,
and prices are falling,” he says. “The number of companies buying this type of insurance is increasing rapidly and so insurers are becoming more comfortable with the risk. “I’ve seen extraordinary growth in my own business in the past year among companies that turn over up to £5m. Those are businesses that are about to go to market with new products or those experiencing good growth and are concerned about someone copying their idea or which have done some market research but still aren’t convinced that they’re not going to be sued by a third party. “They may have taken advice from their patent attorneys to see whether they’re free to operate in a particular market, but they may not have had the funds to research the United States or other markets outside the UK. An IP policy can give them some insurance against the risk of being sued and it’s often cheaper than asking a patent attorney to go out and research the whole market. “There’s also support coming from the UK Government, which is very keen for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to know about this type of insurance. There is a concern that SMEs are not seeking patents and trademarks
because of the cost of enforcement – these policies overcome that issue.” The UK isn’t the only country that’s taking the opportunities presented by IP insurance seriously. In China, the largest state-owned insurance company is offering policies to Chinese exporters, while the Japanese equivalent of the UK Intellectual Property Office is subsidising premiums for Japanese exporters. One of the most litigious markets is the United States, where “patent trolling” is still an issue. Trolls will raise funds to buy huge portfolios of patents from businesses and inventors. They will then approach companies and accuse them of infringing those patents. Even if defendants are successful in the US courts then they still need to pay their own legal costs; if a troll demands US$100,000 to settle a case then it’s a lot cheaper than a potential US$2m legal bill. Bloom – who studied management science at the University of Manchester before training as a lawyer with the College of Law and later gaining a postgraduate diploma in IP at the University of Bristol – compares the trolls to
“Those are businesses that are about to go to market with new products or those experiencing good growth and are concerned about someone copying their idea or which have done some market research but still aren’t convinced that they’re not going to be sued by a third party.”
“a modern-day version of the mafia”, with companies being given the “shake-down” to hand over money. While he notes that changes to legislation have reduced the power of the trolls, he still thinks it’s an issue about which British companies doing business in America need to be aware. “We now work with a company in the US that specialises in dealing with patent troll claims and which offers insurance specifically to cover patent troll risk,” adds Bloom. “A number of my clients have purchased policies from this company, which are significantly cheaper than any insurer in the UK is able to offer. “The policies are underwritten by Lloyd’s of London. One of my clients took out a policy and had a claim within about two months. “They’ve been very well looked after, and the claim has been dealt with in a very efficient way for them. They’ve really benefitted from having cover because they’re a relatively-small
“Their key asset is often their IP and it adds value if they can show it’s insured. In the event there is an issue.”
software company with revenues of about £4m and defending patent troll claims can be a real minefield – it’s been a great success. “Closer to home, comprehensive IP insurance policies for SMEs are now available from a number of insurers, which means premiums are significantly cheaper than they have ever been. This has also led to quicker turnaround times. “Previously, it would have taken a month or so to get a quote and sign up to a policy, but now the process can be conducted online and is virtually instantaneous. The policies, which are also underwritten by Lloyd’s of London, provide worldwide enforcement, defence, damages and agreement cover.” Having IP insurance in place can also be a useful tool when it comes to negotiating with investors or lenders to fund a business, or with potential licensing partners. “Business that are looking to raise funds are seeing the benefit,” Bloom nods.
“Their key asset is often their IP and it adds value if they can show it’s insured. In the event there is an issue, investors know they won’t have to put their hands in their pockets to fund extremely-expensive litigation and licensees know that the licensor has the funds to protect the patent or trademark from attack. “It also demonstrates that a company understands the importance of its IP and has a strategy in place to ensure its value is maximised. IP insurance is a key element of that.” n
David Bloom firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 3036 0551 Safeguard iP Ltd 3 Lloyd’s Avenue, London, EC3N 3DS
The Intellectual Property Insurance Experts The Intellectual Property Insurance The Intellectual Property Insurance Experts Experts
Safeguard iP is the UK’s only dedicated Safeguard iP is the UK’s only Safeguard iP is the UK’s only dedicated dedicated IP insurance broker IP insurance broker IP insurance broker We provide affordable insurance solutions to SMEs that cover:
We We provide provide affordable affordable insurance insurance solutions solutions to to SMEs SMEs that that cover: cover: - Worldwide legal costs of enforcement and defence actions - Worldwide Worldwide legal legal costs costs of of enforcement enforcement and and defence defence actions actions -- Damages - Damages Damages arising under IP warranties and indemnities -- Exposures -- Exposures Exposures arising arising under under IP IP warranties warranties and and indemnities indemnities For a free quote visit our website at For a free quote visit our website at For a free quote visit website www.safeguardip.com, callour on 0203 036at0551 www.safeguardip.com, call on 0203 036 0551 www.safeguardip.com, call on 0203 036 0551 or email at email@example.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email at email@example.com
Company registration number: 09048290 Company registration 09048290 Safeguard IP Limited isnumber: an Appointed Representative of Heritage Insurance Solutions Limited which is Company registration number: 09048290 Safeguard IP Limited is an Appointed Representative of Heritage Solutions Limited which authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority underInsurance firm reference number 505452 foris Safeguard IP Limited is an Appointed Representative of Heritage Insurance Solutions Limited which authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 505452 foris general insurance intermediation only. authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 505452 for general insurance intermediation only. general insurance intermediation only.
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Stephen Robertson, founder of Metis Partners