Friday, 19 April 2013

North West Fund Progress Report

The North West Fund describes itself as "a £155 million evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England." It is said to "address an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets." I mentioned its launch in "The North West Fund" on 21 Dec 2010 and also a presentation by its Chief Executive Officer to the Daresbury Business Breakfast in "The North West Fund: Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Financing Ambitions" on 11 May 2012.

According to James Graham, Deputy Editor, North West of The Business Desk, the fund has invested £54 million in more than 180 businesses since its launch.(see "North West Fund hits £50m milestone", 17 April 2013).  The companies in which it has invested recently include:
  • ComplianceControl of Northwich which provides electronic quality management systems that facilitate  regulatory compliance and validation in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industries;
  • Bioxydin of Manchester Science Park which develops and applies new diagnostic imaging tools and imaging services;
  • Senselogix of Chester which develops a range of energy measurement and control products, to support the reduction of carbon emissions;
  • Molplex of Macclesfield which assists in the development of new drugs; and
  • Redtree People of Cheshire which connects clinical research professionals with pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations.
There are a number of case studies on the Fund's website.  

That website contains two useful features: an eligibility check list which sets out the criteria for funding such as location, number of employees and industrial sector and a summary of the funds available for qualifying businesses. Helpfully, the fund also provides a business plan template for such candidates.

Most of those businesses are technology rich with an abundance of intellectual assets and it is usually the legal protection of those assets that attracts funding. Those seeking funding will require advice on company law, contracts, employment, tax and, of course, intellectual property. I can help with IP and now that I am in 4-5 Gray's Inn Square I have colleagues who can help with all these other issues. Should anyone require advice or representation on any aspect of launching a new business, please call us on 0161 850 0080 or 020 7404 5252 or fill in our contact form. Our chambers are developing a strong presence in North West England as well as London.

If you want to talk to me about this article, you can reach me through my contact form or call me on any of the above numbers. You can also follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Xing.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Patent Box

The main contribution from our chambers to World Intellectual Property Day 2013 will be Liverpool Inventors Club's workshop on The Patent Box at the offices of Jackson & Canter LLP at 88 Church Street, Liverpool, L1 3AY on Monday 29 April 2013 at 16:00.

I shall give a short overview of IP and patenting to lay the ground for the main speaker, Mr. Vince Walker, tax partner of BDO LLP. Vince is an expert on the patent box and R & D credits so it is quite a coup to book him.

The patent box is a valuable tax concession to encourage research and development in the UK. Companies that qualify for the concession pay corporation tax on revenue derived from their patents at a greatly reduced rate. Further information on the concession is available on the Intellectual Property Office and HMRC websites. Vince will take us through the conditions for the scheme including in particular what is meant by "qualifying patents" and "qualifying income."

The patent box does not cover every type of intellectual property and it is not available to every business. Even for companies that could qualify it may not be the best option. I shall close with a brief summary of other ways of protecting innovation such as design rights, copyright for software and services and trade secrecy and a few tips on IP strategy.

Admission is free but tickets are limited. If you want to come you need to register on-line.  For further information on the event call Michael Sandys of Jackson & Canter on 0151 282 1700.

We have now had our workshop and it went very well. You can see my slides and those of Vince Walker here.   We are planning similar workshops in Manchester and Lancaster for later in the month as well as others in Leeds and London.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Not Backward at Coming Forward - NW England leads bids for Regional Growth Fund with Yorkshire Number 2

According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ("North West leads applications for Regional Growth Fund" 5 Apr 2013) there have been 309 applications for the fourth tranche of the Regional Growth Fund ("RGF"),.

North West England is the region with the largest number of bids with Yorkshire and Humber as number two.  According to the Departmental press release, there have been 58 applications for £315 million of the £350 million from the North West.  Yorkshire and the Humber sought £230 million for 39 programmes and projects and the North East £215 million for 31.

London, which is arguably the most dynamic region of the country came bottom of the list with a request for a measly £32 million for 6 programmes and projects and the East of England second from last seeking £47 million for 13.  

I am tempted to say something sarcastic but I won't.

For my previous articles on the RGF see: