The EU has proposed unitary patent protection for 12 member states (including the UK). The hope is that other states who are dragging their heels (Italy for example) will join in time. In the long term this will result in significantly reduced cost for early stage companies seeking to invest heavily in R&D and an associated patent.

Watch out for small companies invoicing you for VAT when they are not registered and pocketing your money. There is a handy little tool to check the validity of a VAT registration number at http://www.vatvalidation.com/ Simply enter the VAT registration number and it will tell you whether it is a valid number and if so who it is registered to.

Alternatively you can use an App available on the iPhone called Calc VAT which has a VAT Validator embedded within it.

Capital for Enterprise Ltd (CfEl) is proposing to launch a £100m co-investment fund to leverage the potential of business angels as the most significant source of early stage capital in the sub £1m investment market. The fund will aim to act as a “big business angel”, sharing the risk with private investors and investing as a partner alongside angel networks and syndicates with a view to achieving £2 angel investment to match every £1 invested by the fund. The bid for funds is being made to the Regional Growth Fund and if successful the new co-investment fund will be managed by CfEl.

http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/

The latest fascinating major milestone in the global smart phone sales race is Nokia and Microsoft’s recent announced alliance. Nokia is having to respond to its fast declining market share where it has been losing ground to Android (open source) and Apple (consumer favourite). For reference Q4 2010 shipments by Operating system (OS) were Android 33%, Symbian 31%, Apple 16%, RIM 14%, Windows 3%, Others 3%. (Source Canalys).

It is telling that Nokia chose a non exclusive deal with Microsoft where it has to pay a licence fee to use the Windows OS in preference to Android’s OS which would be free.

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