Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Potts Kerr Brand to Disappear

One of the glories of North West England is Hamilton Square which is a little bit of Edinburgh in Birkenhead. Designed by James Gillespie Graham who was the architect of much of the New Town, Hamilton Square is said to have more listed buildings than any other public square in England except Trafalgar Square itself.

At number 15 stands Potts Kerr, a patent agency for which I have always had a particular regard. Now it is not every city in England that has a patent agency and they are especially rare in the second city of a conurbation. Bradford, for instance, has no patent or trade mark agents even though it has a population of nearly 300,000, a good university doing excellent research and a whole host of high tech businesses in everything from electronics to pharmaceuticals and the reason for that it its proximity to Leeds. All the more remarkable that Birkenhead has Potts Kerr which is just across the river from Liverpool even though the industries that created the town are in decline.

Potts Kerr was acquired by Birmingham agents Forrester Ketley (now called Forresters) who are, of course, another good firm. But they are a Brummie firm. So I was overjoyed that they allowed their Birkenhead acquisition retain its brand. Alas, that is to change according to a report in today's North West Business Desk.

Forresters' partner Matthew Shaw is reported as saying:
"Sharing a common name and presenting a more unified approach will strengthen the association between our offices and provide clients throughout the UK and worldwide with easier access to our resources, specialist capabilities and expertise."
I wonder. We Northerns are a bolshie bunch, especially in the Wirral, and we don't take kindly to regimentation. Remember Stanley Holloway's "Sam, Sam pick up thy musket". Nevertheless, I wish David Gilmour and his chums the best of luck in their new moniker.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Liverpool Chinese Business Network: "Let's First Become Friends; Then Do Business"

In the stunning Museum of Liverpool which opened less than 2 months ago there is a special exhibition on the story of Shanghai and Liverpool called "East meets West". These two great cities have been twinned since 1999 and they have many links. Two of the strongest are the Liverpool Chinese Business Network, a "professional and friendly platform for small and medium enterprises" and the Liverpool Chinese Business Association, a local advocacy group working with businesses and community organizations in Merseyside.

The Association's website records that there has been a Chinese community in Liverpool since 1866. A Chinese community newspaper has circulated in Liverpool since 1944 and a Chinese bank opened that same year. There are now several cultural and welfare institutions in the city
which come together to celebrate Chinese festivals. Probably the most important of those is the New Year. I was the Association's guest at this year's celebration. This picture shows me to the right in a floral dress standing next to my friend Catherine Lo who is one of the ablest solicitors who ever instructed me.

Catherine and I shared a platform in the seminar "Protecting Your IP in China" exactly 5 years ago. It was held in the boardroom of the magnificent Martin's Building in Water Street. It was attended by many distinguished guests including the Commercial Attache of the Chinese Embassy in London. My paper was an introduction to IP law in China which you can download here.

Membership of the Liverpool Chinese Business Network costs £195 and brings all sorts of benefits including discounts on accountancy and legal services which could help to offset the cost of the subscription. The next event takes place on 20 September 2011 at the China Palace in Berry Street. There will be a presentation on "Maximizing Your Website" by Rod Jones of Catalyst Co. followed by a buffet meal which on past form should be scrumptious. You can join the Network on-line.