Business Monthly: The advantages of calling in a favour
My business is in the process of applying for its first patent. I have learned so far that this is an incredibly slow process, complicated, and full of old world terms like 'prior art' which make the whole thing so difficult to navigate that you really do need an experienced professional to advise you along the way.
As a Freeman of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, I am very fortunate to have access to our ‘Friends’, one of whom is a world class patent attorney.
Those familiar with The Cutlers’ Company will be aware that in order to qualify as a Freeman, you have to be a senior executive in a manufacturing company, located in ‘Hallamshire’.
The exact boundary of the ancient geographical area of Hallamshire is displayed within the Cutlers’ Hall, but, as Master Cutler, I can assure you that if your business has a Sheffield post code, then you are in Hallamshire.
If you are not a manufacturer and therefore do not qualify to be a Freeman, you may access our prestigious network as a ‘Friend’ and, in addition to having great fun, you may well get to know every manufacturing company that’s worth knowing in Sheffield City Region.
I have been a Freeman for many years and have the experience to know that it’s worth having ‘Friends’ because you never know what’s round the corner. It is very pleasing to find that on this occasion I need a Friend to help me with the protection of intellectual property. This is a key indicator that my business is on the right track, because our future not only as a region but also as a nation, relies on exports.
In June I will be leading a trade mission to Canada, and will be accompanied by more than 20 businesses from Sheffield City Region, looking for new orders and partners.
The development of new products, services and intellectual property is absolutely key to giving the manufacturing companies of Sheffield City Region the export legs that will allow us to succeed beyond the boundaries of the UK and Western Europe.
The Cutlers’ Company was established in 1624. Master Cutler Craig McKay said: “When Sir Isaac Newton saw the apple fall,the company was 42 years old. When the Titanic sank it was 288. It will be 400 years old in 2023. I am the 377th Master Cutler.”
The organisation has a 33-strong board and 360 ‘Freemen’ comprising manufacturing bosses. It may be old, but it is still relevant.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid will speak at the hall in May.