Swansea intellectual property expert to lead UN project
A Welsh initiative to protect intellectual property has been so successful that the United Nations has invited the man behind it to help them advise small businesses all around the world.
Andrew Beale – a legal expert at Swansea University’s School of Law – is to be seconded to the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva.
Mr Beale, a lecturer in intellectual property (IP), is to lead a United Nations project with the aim of helping the world’s small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) protect their intangible commercial assets. This secondment is jointly funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea University.
The purpose of the secondment is to produce a handbook, Intellectual Asset Strategies for Open Innovation, helping SMEs to understand the importance of managing their IP. The guide will help them to identify and assess the value of their IP, and will advise on the most appropriate ways of protecting it, for example by patenting or trade marking ideas and products.
Mr Beale is Director of the IP Wales initiative, part-funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and European Union.
The initiative has advised more than 750 Welsh businesses, leading to more than 200 patents, 60 trade marks and 25 IP licensing agreements.
IP Wales – which won a Special Judges' Award in the 2004 WORLDLeaders European IP Awards – is seen by WIPO’s recently established SME division as an example of best practice in assisting smaller businesses with intellectual property issues.
Mr Beale said: "Many companies fail to appreciate the value of their intellectual property. This can lead to real commercial and financial difficulties, especially for smaller businesses. Taking steps to manage and protect IP can give companies much greater commercial freedom and a legally enforceable monopoly in their marketplace."
Mr Beale will also be able to call upon the support and advice of Lord Griffiths, Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and Chairman of the IP Wales initiative, as well as Professor William Cornish, the eminent academic in the field of Intellectual Property and Dr Stephen Potter, immediate past Chairman of the R&D Society and an active member within the Licensing Executives Society.
Mr Beale said: "It is a tremendous advantage to have such influential and respected people supporting the project."
" This secondment is a wonderful opportunity for Swansea University to showcase its expertise and engagement with industry on the world stage. I am delighted that WIPO has recognised the successes we have enjoyed in Wales, and I am looking forward to building on this experience to help businesses around the world to manage their intellectual property."
For more information on Swansea University’s School of Law, visit their website.