Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

The first point to emphasise today is that it’s business as usual and trade mark and design owners should not panic – European Union Trade Marks (EUTM) and Registered Community Designs (RCD) remain valid in the UK and there is no immediate loss of IP protection. Once we actually leave to EU, that position will presumably change, but that is probably two years hence. Meanwhile, the many UK companies and traders who have only filed EU Trade Marks should consider filing for a UK Trade Mark; these are inexpensive and quick to register, but don’t delay. We are happy help you with your requirements.

Design registration is slightly more complex, and best discussed. The European Patent Office (EPO) is not an EU institution, so there will be no change there, but presumably the EU Patent, when it comes into being, would be treated as another overseas application.

We do not know when the exit will actually happen but once the UK officially notifies the EU of its intention to leave, the clock starts ticking and the negotiations need to be completed within two years. The two-year period can be extended but only if all the other 27 EU countries agree.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office will continue to work with the EU Intellectual Property Office; we will no longer be around the table when final decisions are taken, and this will impact on our IP law, but we can assume that co-operation will continue, as it does with other major IP countries. Whilst IP rights are limited to a particular territory, as a profession, our horizons have always been international.

Our professional body, ITMA, will be calling on the UK Government to ensure that UK practitioners remain entitled to represent clients before the European Union Intellectual Property Office, but we will also be setting up an office within the EU to ensure that we are able to do this.

Do seek professional advice on how you take you intellectual properties forward; there are many pitfalls that can easily be avoided with a bit of know-how. Call us on 01424 205448 or 07968 845 426, or email lockharthastings@btconnect.com


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published a report about the importance of the European Union (EU) to UK trade and investment along with supporting graphs and figures.

The European Union (EU) was first formed in 1993 and over this period of time, it has become larger than any individual economy in the world. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpasses even the USA’s, this happened in 2003, which was the first time since 1998. Growth in the non-EU economies has outpaced growth of EU economies, which means that the EU’s share of global GDP has fallen to 24% in 2013, from 30% in 1993. However, this was largely driven by such strong growth in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies.

In 2014, the EU accounted for a total of 44.6% of UK exports of goods and services as well as 53.2% of UK imports of goods and services even though there have been changes in the composition of the global economy. The UK has traditionally had strong trade links with the EU and the rising economic growth in other developing economies outside of the EU has therefore, resulted in non-EU economies growing and becoming more important to UK trade.

Between the years of 1999 and 2014, exports from the UK to EU and non-EU countries have grown, on average, by 3.6% and 6.5% respectively. The EU has fallen down with UK exports from 54.8% in 1999 to 44.6% in 2014 and this is because of the stronger export growth to non-EU countries. The good news is that the growth in value of UK imports of goods and services from EU and non-EU countries is still growing; the average growth is between 4.7% and 5.5% respectively in each year since 1999.

The UK’s overall trade balance with the EU is gradually deteriorating because of the faster growth in the value of UK imports compared to exports with the EU. The trade deficit has widened and reached £61.6 billion in 2014 compared with £11.2 billion in 1999. This is a big difference and over time, the question begs whether this could rise again.

Goods that were imported by the UK from the EU have risen by 4.9% per year on average and this can be compared to exports, which have risen by 2.5% per year and therefore, this caused the UK’s trade in goods deficit with the EU to rise to £77.0 billion. This shows how goods and services largely dominate UK trade with the EU and in 2014 the ONS found that trade in goods represented close to two-thirds of all UK exports to the EU, as well as over three-quarters of total UK imports from the EU.

The UK’s trade in services balance with the EU is quite favourable as it has continued to run a surplus in each year since 2005, which reached £15.4 billion in 2014. Services exports have played a big role in the growth of UK exports of goods and services to non-EU countries, as they have grown at a faster rate than imports. Over the past three years, the UK has run an overall trade surplus with non-EU countries and it has reached £27.8 billion in 2014.

Find the full report here.

HSBC, who is Europe’s biggest bank, plans to cut 8,000 jobs in the UK because it wants to reduce costs. Job cuts will be made in both its retail and banking operations and so the 48,000 UK workers who are already at the bank could be at risk. News has it that the job cuts are because HSBC is attempting to simplify its business.

In terms of the matter on a global scale, a total of 25,000 jobs could be cut, which means that around 10% of HSBC’s 266,000 workers will have to leave their job. The bank said on Tuesday that it would sell businesses in Turkey and Brazil.

The bank will rebrand its UK High Street branches but has not decided upon a new name yet. There are several options, which include reviving the Midland Bank brand, which it bought in 1992 or alternatively, taking the name of its UK online bank called First Direct.

Stuart Gulliver first took up the role of Group Chief Executive of HSBC in 2011 and will give a presentation to investors and analysts. This will be his second major strategy plan since he first started. The 10-point plan hopes to cut costs by up to $5, which is £3.25 billion, and also increase investment in Asia. This aims to invest mostly into China. Gulliver has guaranteed that he wanted to make sure that customers made a distinction between HSBCs investment and retail banking operations. From this, the new government has forced the bank to formally separate the two businesses because of new rules.

HSBC’s Hong Kong-listed shares remain down 9% over the last 12 months, however shares did rise almost 1% once the announcement had been made. By the end of the year, HSBC will have made a decision on whether to move its headquarters out of the UK. In addition to this, since it announced the review in April, rumour has it that the British bank may relocate its headquarters to Hong Kong.

Business In Hastings has an exclusive report from Sarah Owen, Labour candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye regarding her recent trip to China to exchange ideas and promote the local Vacuum Technology and other high tech manufacturing industries that the Hastings & Rother area becoming world famous for. Here in her own words is an overview of the trip.

We also have a small gallery of images from here trip which you can go to here.

Hastings: The South East manufacturing hub.


Sarah arriving at Songshun Lake high tech park

When I talk to people outside of Hastings they normally say to me; ‘Oh, arrow in the eye, tapestry, invasion by Normans.’ They’re far less likely to know about building components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, high-powered lasers or high vacuum technology. Still less likely are people to mention that Hastings is the high tech hub of South-East England.

Hastings, which is my home town is the birth place of innovations including the first television broadcast to teaching Turing, but Hastings doesn’t just deserve that recognition, our future as a town depends on it. It isn’t enough to just be a high-tech hub, Hastings needs to be known as a high-tech hub.

Global influence

The investment that our businesses need to grow, thrive, and create the well-paid, high skilled jobs that our town needs, depend on our town’s reputation. However, in today’s world, our competitors, clients, and supply chains are not just limited to the UK, they’re global.

They’re in cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, where I visited earlier this month.

These two cities, both in the province of Guangdong, are China’s high tech pioneers. Guangdong’s open, outward-looking economic policies stand greatly at odds with the lagging social and political development in the rest of China – the world’s second largest economy whilst still being a developing nation. However, there is still plenty that we could learn, gain and offer this industrial powerhouse – with particular regard to high tech manufacturing.

Growth & Investment

Since the late 80s, Guangdong area has seen phenomenal growth, seeing only a brief dip in GDP growth during the global recession to a still enviable 7.2% – putting the UK’s forecast (and overdue) 2.2% in the shade. As a province, it has consistently led China’s growth over the past 30 years and is predicted to grow at above 8% and contribute another $900 billion to China’s economy.

None of this happened by accident. It took a deliberate, conscious decision by the Chinese government to turn fields of crops and low grade industry into science parks, technology hubs and business clusters. It was only possible with investment from business, the state, academia and by attracting support from overseas.

One example is the Guangzhou Science City, which is home to almost every kind of science and high tech industry you can think of including high vacuum, bio-tech, IT and renewable technology to name just a few. From its inception, the science city hasn’t stood still and constantly looks to support and welcome the next big technological innovation.

Support and R&D

This is heavily supported by the state through the Guangzhou Development District. On my trip, I met the Director of the committee responsible for it, who explained not only how much they had financially supported businesses in the science city, with reduced rents and the highest grade facilities but also practical business support and R&D. There is now 24/7 support for new businesses – his phone was never switched off.

We need to ask ourselves what we can learn from how they encourage growth.  This is most evident when attracting foreign investment, where applications for foreign direct investment are completed by the authorities within 3 working days. Without this commitment, and the continued support of the local development departments, thriving companies like Rio Bio would not have been able to expand as quickly as they had.

Maintaining our position on the global stage

Next to the continued austerity and slow growth we’re faced with here, Guangdong’s example is enviable. When I told both the Chinese businesses and development committee that our own local council will face a 70% reduction in funding from central government by 2017, they asked how on earth we expected to support growth in Hastings? And that is, quite literally the million dollar question.

Whether this support is replicated in the UK by our calls for a dedicated British Investment Bank to support SMEs, a cut in business rates or freezing energy bills which will have a direct impact on particularly manufacturing business’s sky rocketing overheads – it is clear that Government must act now to provide practical support to our local industries if we not only want to maintain our position, but to continue being the birth place of innovation.

Hastings: Time to show the world we’re open for business


Sarah at the first Tec 66 event in summer with Maggie Aderin Pocock, Lord Bassam and Council leader Jeremy Birch and business leaders.

Hastings is home to established names with world-class reputations, General Dynamics, Torr Scientific and Photek among them. But we need some of the reputation of those brands and our excellent experienced service industry, to not only be located in our town, but associated with it as well.

Businesses in Guangdong are crying out for the quality that Hastings’ businesses can offer, as much as we are for high quality jobs. But Hastings’ reputation for high-tech manufacturing and services is barely known elsewhere in Britain, let alone on the other side of the world, in China.

Tec 66: Why its important

This is why events such as Tecc 66 are so important. We need to be prepared to shout about what we are good at, and sell to a global market, which is what I did at every opportunity that I was visiting businesses in China. Nothing less will do in today’s globalised world.

That is why I am working to bring more international exhibitors to the next Tec 66 event and other similar events for our creative industries. That will help build on existing trade links, support our businesses to join major international supply chains, create jobs and ultimately ensure that Hastings has an economic identity that is known worldwide.

To get in touch with Sarah or to follow her via Twitter please see below

Email: Sarah@sarahowen.org.uk

Twitter: @sarahowen_

You can also find out more about Sarah at her website here.

Posted by: In: Global Business News, Lifestyle 06 Nov 2013 Comments: 0

Top 10 Richest People Revealed by Bloomberg Markets magazine who have published their annual list of the richest people in the world. The top spot has been re-taken by Bill Gates, after his main rival Carlos Slim saw his fortune fall by 12.9%.

Rich People

Top 10 Richest People on the planet has been revealed.

The top 100 billionaires saw their fortunes climb even further this year. Their combined wealth rose $200 billion to $1 trillion – so together they are worth more than the GDP of most countries or to put it in perspective could wipe out the whole debt of Greece and still have plenty of money left over.

The USA is still the top 10 billionaire capital of the world with 7 out of 10. Unfortunately there are no UK entrants in the top 10.

Here is the list of the top 10 richest people in 2013 highlighting where they are from, what their net worth is this year and the main source of their fortunes.

1. Bill Gates – USA -$72.9 Billion – Software (Microsoft)
2. Carlos Slim – Mexico – $65.5 Billion -Telecoms (América Móvil)
3. Amancio Ortega – Spain – $61.9 Billion –  Fashion Retail (Zara)
4. Warren Buffett – USA – $58.2 Billion – Investments
5. Ingvar Kamprad –  Sweden -$50.3 Billion – IKEA
6. Charles Koch – USA – $45.2 Billion – Koch Industries
6. David Koch – USA – $45.2 Billion – Koch Industries
8. Larry Ellison – USA – $41 Billion – Software (Oracle)
9. Christy Walton – USA – $36.5 Billion – Retail (Walmart)
10. Jim Walton – USA – $35.1 Billion – Retail (Walmart)

In the top 100 the  the biggest winner this year was Mark Zuckerberg at number 25, who saw his net worth double since December 2012 – to reach $24.5 billion. He is also the youngest billionaire on the list (The oldest is Karl Albrecht who is number 20 on the list and 93 years old).