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Orbiting the world of IP

By [email protected] - 23rd July 2008 - 14:00

Both the advancement of the technology involved in satellite navigation and its application have been rapid, imaginative and beyond expectation. As an Intellectual Property Law firm, Scott & York constantly works at the cutting edge of technology and so is delighted once again to help support the Sat Nav Challenge.
Our support for 2008 takes the form of free Intellectual Property Advice for the competition finalists and a free UK patent filing for the UK winner. The submitted work is overseen by Scott & York Principal, Andrew Mackenzie. Andrew has over 20 years\' experience working in the space industry, initially as an engineer, and since 1990 as an Intellectual Property specialist. Andrew comments, \"When we first learnt of the competition several years ago, our immediate thought was to ensure that the ideas put forward by participants were properly protected from copying before publication via the competition\".Naturally, the competition generates a lot of new ideas which, without proper protection, could easily be copied without the originator of the idea gaining much benefit. \"We know from our experience with many UK inventors that the UK innovative spirit is very much alive and well\" says Andrew, \"and it is our job to ensure that the rewards for that innovation stay in the right place\".What is a patent? A patent is a monopoly right for an invention which protects novelty and ingenuity. Patents are commercial tools and valuable business assets and can provide broad protection for an inventive concept; not just protection for a particular product. A patent can protect future developments and modifications so it then becomes necessary for a competitor to take a licence or undertake additional research and investment, in order to generate alternative solutions to be able to compete in the same market. At Scott & York we have the authority and expertise to guide clients through the patents process both in the UK and overseas. We are frequently involved in assessing the patentability of inventions and are able to respond quickly in the drafting, filing, prosecution and exploitation of patent rights across a broad range of technologies. A granted patent allows a patentee to prevent anyone else manufacturing, keeping, selling or offering for sale the patented product/process. It also allows importation to be prevented. A patent could also be infringed by a person supplying or offering to supply an element of a patented product or process with the intention that the element be used to manufacture the patented product or to put the patented process into effect. It is always advisable to seek the aid of a qualified Patent Attorney, as, unless properly drafted, a patent may be very difficult to enforce in the courts. Although Scott & Yorkâs direct association with the Sat Nav Challenge 2008 is for the UK arm of the competition, we are an established firm with the experience and expertise to represent our clients both in the UK and world-wide.There are of course more aspects to Intellectual Property other than patents. Protection of Trade Marks are paramount to ensure that your product âs heritage and its recognition in the market place is secured. A Trade Mark is any sign, such as a name, a symbol or a combination of these, which is used to distinguish a companyâs goods or services from those of its competitors. Over the years, trade marks have increasingly been recognised as an important business asset. For many businesses, a trade mark may be its only and most valuable asset whereas for others, it complements other Intellectual Property Rights, such as patents, registered designs and copyright. Words, phrases, slogans, letters/numerals, logos, shapes, colours, sounds and smells may all be trade marks. If the mark is in regular use and the periodic renewal fees are paid, then the registration can be kept in force indefinitely.Securing protection for intellectual property further afield - across Europe or indeed world wide - can be complex. Scott & York is able to provide commercially focused advice at the appropriate time with regard to the most suitable route to take. We are a modern law practice operating in Hertfordshire. The location allows the highest quality advice to be provided without the high costs and inaccessibility often found with central London practices. The firm is staffed by very experienced and enthusiastic practitioners with high quality science, engineering and legal qualifications. Andrew believes that it is important as the UK develops more and more into a knowledge-based economy that innovators understand and properly use the sophisticated Intellectual Property Law framework available in the UK. Scott & York is delighted to be able to ensure that, at least where the UK SatNav Challenge 2008 is concerned, entrants receive timely help with their Intellectual Property requirements. We wish them all good luck.

Author: Avril Drew, [email protected]

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