28 January 2014

Style and substance: Bristol's new high-tech engine room

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Engine Shed, the new hub for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and academics next to Bristol Temple Meads station which launched last month.

It's a fantastic space.  The Business Lounge blends Brunel's historic original design, including cast iron columns, with contemporary, train carriage-style "innovation pods", modern glass-fronted office space, exposed ventilation ducts, ├╝ber-hip lighting, a plentiful supply of coffee and even some astroturf.

There's a suite of meeting rooms, a theatre-style seminar space and Digicity hotdesking facilities that can be rented by the day, with access to superfast broadband.

Among the current tenants at the Engine Shed are the Bristol SETsquared Centre, the university accelerator; an incubator, WebStart; Invest in Bristol & Bath, the new dedicated investment service established to attract investment to the region; and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.  

The director of both the Bristol SETsquared Centre and the Engine Shed is Nick Sturge.  Drawing inspiration from similar hubs in London and as far afield as San Francisco, Nick plans for the Shed to become a melting-pot of innovation, engendering a culture of collaboration between academics from the SETsquared partner universities and entrepreneurs from the incubators, showcasing the high tech achievements and potential of the region and attracting inward investment. 

It's a compelling vision and a fantastic new business facility for the city.  If you haven't done already, go take a look.

24 January 2014

The 10 Commandments of IP

On Wednesday The Guardian reported that the Diocese of Bath & Wells had tweeted 9 Commandments of Social Media to its followers.  These included such sound advice as "1. Don't rush in", "2. Transient yet permanent" and "7. Stay within the legal framework".

Not to be outdone we at The Bright Stuff thought we would prepare a similar set of guidelines for the use and protection of intellectual property. 

22 January 2014

Saucy! How to spice up an IP debate

The Intellectual Property Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday, meaning it is that little bit closer to becoming law.

Chief among the headline-grabbing provisions of the Bill, you would think, are the proposals to criminalise the copying of registered designs.  

Some say these provisions would have a chilling effect on innovation (notwithstanding that there is little evidence that similar provisions for other intellectual property rights have such an effect), while others have called for even wider measures to encompass not just registered, but also unregistered design rights (a different class of IP right altogether and one which is more frequently relied on by the majority of UK designers).

However, all of this has largely been overshadowed by the unfortunate comments of one MP during the recent debate. 

17 January 2014

Privacy matters for mobile apps

Has there ever been a piece of legislation that is as badly drafted as the Data Protection Act 1998?  

The core principles are hidden away in schedules, which themselves need to be interpreted in accordance with further schedules.  The terminology, such as "data controllers" and "data processors", is manifestly unintuitive.  And powers of deduction that Sherlock Holmes would be proud of are often required to determine when and how certain exceptions to the Act may apply.

No wonder that the Act is often misunderstood.

15 January 2014

Don't worry, be happy!

What was your New Year resolution?  Stop smoking?  Drink less?  Save more?  Spend more time with the family?

Many of us make the same resolutions every year, displaying what has been called "false hope syndrome", knowing that we are likely to fail and even though we make the same doomed resolution year after year.

8 January 2014

Policing the twittersphere

When journalist Caroline Criado-Perez succeeded in her campaign to keep at least one female historical figure on British banknotes, she can hardly have imagined the storm of vitriol and abuse this would stir up.