Experts speak on Intellectual Property law

IP seminar speakers

30 September 2014

Business owners and managers gathered at Aston Business School this week for a master class on understanding Intellectual Property law.

Speaking at the event were two internationally renowned experts on IP law - Aston Business School’s Claire Howell, and Alison Brimelow CBE, former chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office and the fifth President of the European Patent Office.

They hoped to use the occasion to dispel some of the myths around intellectual property and inform business leaders about the benefits and risks of protecting your intellectual property rights.

In her talk, Claire explained why Intellectual Property rights are so important, stating that around 50% of EU industries are IPR intensive, accounting for almost 39% of EU GDP. 

According to Claire, all businesses own some Intellectual Property and there are various means of protection such as copyright, trademarks and patents. IP is particularly important to SMEs as they are more likely to experiment and generate new disruptive inventions and processes, and are more flexible and creative.  Claire highlighted that strong IP protection can make an SME more attractive to investors and collaborators.

With a wealth of knowledge of the patent system, Alison was able to offer some valuable thoughts to SME owners and employees in the audience. She asked them to consider whether patenting is right for their business and if they should move quickly and continuously improve their products.

Alison also emphasised the usefulness of trademarks, illustrating that the first trademark ever registered is still going today after 160 years.  Claire reinforced this by explaining that firms that use trademarks are 21% more productive, employ more people on higher wages, and are more innovative than those that don’t.

The event was the fourth in Aston Business School’s Transforming the West Midlands series. Aston regularly hosts  business update events, with the aim of bringing local business leaders and managers together to discuss current issues and to share some of the good practice that exists within our organisations. 

The final event in this series will explore Funding for Growth and takes place on 5 November.


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or