Saturday, 16 August 2014

Franchising - the Ram and the Imp

Derby Ram
Jane Lambert

I mentioned the Hull Franchise Conference in my IP Yorkshire blog (see "Franchising - Hull Franchise Conference" 16 Aug 2014" IP Yorks). Well there are going to be franchising conferences in Derby and Nottingham on the 30 Oct 2014 - hence the Derby Ram - and Lincoln on the 27 Nov 2014 which is why we see the Lincoln Imp.

The Derby and Nottingham conference will take place at Nottingham Belfry Hotel, Mellors Way, off Woodhouse Way. Nottingham, NG8 6PY and the Lincoln one at The Petwood Hotel, Stixwould Road, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, LN10 6QG.

You can book for both events by clicking here.

Lincoln Imp
Photo Wikipedia
As I said in IP Yorkshire I've been interested in franchising for many years. One of my first cases when I started to practise in Manchester was on behalf of a franchisee whose business failed because he had been forced to pay over the odds for supplies from his franchiser. Everybody including his solicitor and my clerk thought he was going down but I had read a report of R-161/84 Pronuptia de Paris GmbH v Pronuptia de Paris Irmgard Schillgallis [1986] ECR 353 in the Financial Times and thought I could do something for him. I was right and managed to negotiate quite a favourable settlement for him. Word got round and I found myself representing two other franchisees of the same operation with similar results.

The law changed immediately after that decision and now you have to be very careful before taking a franchisee. As I said after a visit to "Which Franchise" on 2 Oct 2011 "Taking a franchise may be the best thing you ever do" but it could also be the worst. To help prospective franchisees I published The franchise agreement: understanding what you are letting yourself in for. on JD Supra on 20 Jan 2012 and "Franchising - what can a franchisee do if things go wrong?".

If you want to discuss anything in these articles give me a ring on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or get in touch through my contact form.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Sheffield Business and IP Centre

Sheffield Central Library
Photo Wikipedia

Jane Lambert

Although in Yorkshire Sheffield is the nearest big town for much of the region. Its Central Library is one of 13 PatLib (Patent Information Libraries) in the United Kingdom. The only other PatLib library close to the East Midlands is in Birmingham. The PatLib libraries are part of a European network that provide information on patents and other intellectual property rights to businesses and individuals in their regions. Each of the PatLib libraries has specialist librarians who offer patent, trade mark and design searches and a range of other services.

Sheffield and Birmingham Central Libraries have recently formed a partnership with the British Library and a number of other central libraries to form the Business and IP Centre Network. The network offers
"free access to a wealth of databases, market research, journals, directories and reports. There is a programme of free and low-cost one-to-one advice and workshops delivered by trained staff and business experts on a range of topics including starting up, business planning, marketing and intellectual property."
In addition to those services Sheffield Business and IP Centre also hosts an inventors group (which I helped to start over 8 years ago), an innovator in residence and regular patent clinics (free consultations with local patent or trade mark agents).

From time to time Sheffield Business and IP Centre organizes special events which I will try to mention in this blog whenever I can. The next such event is Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Movers and Shakers which will consist of a talk by Rekha Mehr followed by a live streaming from London of a panel discussion by
The event will take place at The Electric Works, Sheffield Digital Campus, Sheffield, S1 2BJ on 22 Sept 2014 between 17:45 and 21:00 (see "Forthcoming Events: Sheffield - Movers and Shakers" 13 Aug 2014 IP Yorks).

Although not connected with the Library there is another event in Sheffield which may interest readers and that is Mel Wong's attempt to break the word record for continuous grands battements (high kicks in ballet) which will take place at Hype dance studios on 22 Aug 2014 (see "Forthcoming Events: Sheffield - Mel's World Record Attempt" 13 Aug 2014 IP Yorks).

You can contact Sheffield Business and IP Centre by telephone on 0114 2734736 or by Email

Friday, 8 August 2014

Gravity Fields Festival - there's much more to Grantham than Mrs T

Jane Lambert

8 Aug 2014

On 27 July 2014 I attended a performance by Chantry Dance Associates at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London (Jane Lambert "Chantry Dance Associates: Lots of Promise" 28 July 2014). At the end of the performance Rae Piper, the company's artistic director, gave a short speech in which she explained why Chantry Dance had chosen to locate in Grantham. "Don't hold Mrs Thatcher against us" she appealed.

We don't. Leaving aside the consideration that at least some members of her audience probably liked Mrs T as she won three general elections on the trot  its most famous connection by far is with the great physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth which is just outside Grantham and went to school in the town. To celebrate the connection the town will host Gravity Fields, "a unique festival of science, arts and heritage events creatively exploring the physical sciences and celebrating one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Sir Isaac Newton" between 24 and 28 Sept 2014.

There is a remarkably full programme of events ranging from making and firing rockets for 6 to 10 year olds to quantum computers.  There are theatrical performances by the Wee Stories Theatre Company and the performance of a new ballet Chasing the Eclipse by Chantry Dance in the market place on Thursday 25 and Saturday the 27 Sept.

This is just the sort of venture that the intellectual property practitioners of our chambers like and although we have only learned about it late in the day I am looking at ways we can support it. One thing that I am considering is a workshop on patents, trade marks or designs or maybe a clinic on the lines of the ones we run in London and Yorkshire (see "New IP Clinics in Hendon and Bradford"  4 Apr 2014 4-5 IP) maybe in conjunction with local patent and trade mark attorneys and commercial law firms if a suitable venue can be found.  Whether or not that can be done in time for the festival it will not be a one off event.  We will support business, innovation and creativity in Grantham and throughout the East Midlands in any way we can.