IP protection crucial to success for creative and digital companies

Local companies in the creative and digital industries can maximise their commercial potential by protecting valuable Intellectual Property (IP) rights, according to Invest Northern Ireland.

Over 100 companies are attending Invest NI seminars at the University of Ulster’s Belfast and Londonderry campuses this week, where successful entrepreneurs in the field are outlining how protecting their IP has enabled them to convert technical and creative expertise into sustainable business success.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, says: “The creative and digital sectors are becoming increasingly prominent within the global economy. New and innovative growth areas, such as mobile gaming and e-learning, are emerging alongside more traditionally popular forms of entertainment and media like music and film.

“Northern Ireland, with its world class creative talent and rich artistic heritage, is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that are arising in these industries, despite the overarching challenges presented by the global economic climate. To fully capitalise, local companies must be equipped to identify, protect and commercialise the IP associated with their creations.

“This not only prevents imitation by competitors, but also means that IP can be licensed and sold as a tangible asset. Invest NI can help companies both in the development of new ideas and with the process of protecting them through the most secure and appropriate method, be it trademarking, copyrighting or patenting.”

Ms Hill adds: “The guest speakers at our events this week all have extensive experience in creative and digital sectors, including the music business, broadcasting and the rapidly emerging mobile phone download market. Each has built their business around the protection and exploitation of IP, often from very small beginnings. Delegates are also receiving expert advice on the important legal aspects of IP protection.”

Speakers include Malcolm Barclay, whose mobile phone application that helps users navigate the London Underground has been downloaded over 100,000 times; and Andrew Ferris, owner of an independent record label and manager of rising local rock bands.