If We Can You Can: Claire Rutherford of Definition IP

If We Can You Can: Claire Rutherford of Definition IP

Claire Rutherford runs Definition IP, providing intellectual property advice to a range of businesses, with particular focus on SMEs. Claire spoke to BQ about how the innovative start ups she works with inspired her to enter the If We Can You Can challenge...

What did you do before setting up your business?

I have been a Patent attorney for more than 15 years.  Although born in the North East I began my career in Scotland, but moved back to Newcastle in 2005 to open a new office for the company I worked for at the time.  The firm was then acquired by a large national firm of Patent Attorneys, and I remained with them as a Director in their Newcastle Office until leaving in 2015 to set up Definition IP.


What inspired you to set up your business?

I was inspired by the innovative businesses that I had worked with for many years.  I also felt that the North East has an amazing track record for innovation but doesn’t always extract value from that innovation (and in fact has some of the lowest patent filing numbers of any UK region) - something doesn’t add up and I want to be involved in changing that by strengthening the IP knowledge base in the North East.


What makes this business different?

Definition IP are a firm of Patent attorneys who provide practical, approachable and effective intellectual property advice to our clients.  Unlike many firms, our current focus is the SME market.  We provide old-school expertise with a jargon free service and transparent fee structures.  


What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?

I have been inspired by the innovative businesses that I have worked with for many years and when starting up my business it really was a case of ‘if they can…perhaps I can’, so the IWCYC Challenge really rang a bell for me. 


Where do you see your business in three years’ time?                     

In three years I envisage Definition IP as a thriving small business based in the North East, but more importantly I see us working with an ever growing cohort of other exciting small businesses who not only innovate, but know how to make the most of their innovations!


What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

Reconnecting with innovative businesses in the North East.        


What has been your biggest challenge?

Whilst I have advised businesses for many years about the Intellectual Property and business strategy, and I have also ran an office, I have never before ran my own company starting from scratch.  Having responsibility for everything, the small things and the large, from the post to the business direction for the next 12 months has be daunting and at times tiring…although always exciting (even the post can be exciting when it’s all yours!)


Who/what gave you support or advice?

I am currently part of the first Entrepreneurial Spark intake in the Newcastle hatchery.  The programme is helping lift my head and work on the business not just in the business. 


What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?

Mitigate risk, but don’t procrastinate forever – as the Entrepreneurial spark team would say #GoDo.  Of course, I would be remiss not to also say make sure you build Intellectual Property into your business plan!


The competition is now open to all pre-start business ideas or start-ups established in the North East within the last 3 years, regardless of the business leader’s age or experience.

For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visitwww.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Deadline for entries is 16th of October 2016.