With the dawning of the 1900s, a small group of merchants gathered in a draughty meeting room in Stornoway. They were there to plan how to protect intellectual property in the increasingly valuable HARRIS TWEED cloth which was being produced on the Outer Hebrides.

From that first meeting, over a 100 years ago, a global portfolio of registered marks has followed, ensuring the integrity in this magical cloth is protected the World over. This was impressive forward thinking at a time when the Wright brothers were still just looking at blueprints and Henry Ford was beginning to think about founding a company to make some cars.

In this Digital Age, there is an increasing tendency for products to come and go in a flash. That’s just the way of modern society and IP protection will not change that.

However, what the HARRIS TWEED story tells us, is that if we have a product of enduring quality and prestige, and the intellectual property is properly protected, then it will survive and, indeed, flourish on a global stage for generations to come. We do not have to look far from home to see other examples of that, such as Scotch Whisky, Highland Spring and Barr’s Irn-Bru to name a few.

On the morning of Wednesday 1 May, we are hosting our Third Annual IP and Tech Conference in Glasgow. The title of this year’s conference is ‘Protecting Scottish IP on the Global Stage’ with speakers from industry  sharing their war stories of the battles won and lost in seeking to ensure that the value in their investment is not unfairly exploited at home or abroad.

Presentations will come from the perspective of start-up tech companies who need to lock down IP in their technology and brands as they are starting out and that of the established big brands needing to maintain market position.

We already have tremendous speakers confirmed, which include Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS, Rachel Jones, founder of Snapdragon, Stephen Taylor, Senior Company Solicitor at AG Barr, Sukhvir Dhillon, Managing Director of Curious Chip and a keynote address from Dids Macdonald OBE, co-founder and CEO of ACID (Anti-Copying In Design).