The view from here – Andy Camenisch, Partner, HGF

Andy Camenisch, Partner at HGF, stood talking expressively to a person out of shot

In this series we ask key spokespeople from across the region and from our core sectors to share their insights.

This time we chat to Partner and patents expert Andy Camenisch who is based at HGF’s head office in Leeds. International intellectual property (IP) specialist HGF, are Nexus’ new IP professional services partners.

What are your predictions for the Leeds and City Region as we emerge from the COVID crisis and get back to business?

We are already witnessing and enjoying the benefits of more agile working. It was happening to some extent before the pandemic, but has been put into overdrive as a result of the lockdown.

Just take the example of our recent CDP conference, which featured a key speaker, a barrister who is based in London. Previously he would have had a two-and-a-half-hour commute to Leeds and back to London, possibly with an overnight stay. At our virtual conference, delegates were still able to tap into his expert knowledge and insights, but utilising just 45 minutes of his time. Delegates saved journey times too, of course, which can bring distinctive advantages in terms of business productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Face-to-face meetings are not obsolete, of course – sometimes there is no substitute for safely-managed, in-person gatherings, but businesses will limit and plan those much more carefully.

In terms of recruitment, where someone lives will also have much less relevance, so businesses based in our region will have a much broader geographical base of expertise to tap into.


What role do you think innovation hubs like Nexus have to play in the revival/growth of the regional economy?

There are not many places like Nexus in the country. They think big. They take university and business collaboration to another level, catalysing connections to help member businesses develop their innovations and grow their business.

They are able to offer a truly agile working environment, with flexible space options, shared community resources and benefits, which are key to start-ups and high-growth companies.

We have extensive experience working with universities, including the University of Leeds, and have seen the huge advantages which entrepreneurs have gained through working with brilliant academics in their field.


What role do innovation-led businesses have in the revival/growth of the regional economy?

An absolutely critical role. Thanks to the introductions and background briefings from Dennis Dokter and the Nexus team, I’m learning much more about the community’s member businesses and it is clear that they are going to play a key part in the growth of our region’s economy.

As well as in healthtech – with the huge amount of expertise in data gathering and insights from member businesses – there are companies such as Innotech: specialists in crowd-spacing and management – the expertise they provide will be central to so many sectors as the UK emerges from the crisis and develops new ways of working and living.


What key guidance are you offering to innovation-led businesses/start-ups?

To look after the basics. Nothing has changed regarding the key requirements of intellectual property in terms of due diligence, protection and infringement.

During the pandemic, the Government’s Open COVID Pledge, urged businesses to make their IP available free of charge for use in ending the pandemic and minimising the impact of the disease.

The COVID-19 Technology Access Framework encouraged royalty-free licences designed to facilitate rapid global access to advances which could prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19. Those licences last until one year after the World Health Organisation declares the pandemic is over or by January 1, 2023.

We’re advising any business which has set up under that licence regime, to ensure that they are preparing for a return to business as usual in terms of patent protection.

Find out the latest information to help guide you through the advice and support schemes available in response to COVID-19 on our hub.