ATTEMPTING to navigate between the escalating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty over the impact of Brexit makes this is a tough time to be in business.

Confidence is understandably low and many businesses are simply trying to weather out the storm.

History teaches that times of crisis can also be times of great innovation. Necessity is the mother of invention. Many businesses are looking not only at short-term survival but at medium-term opportunity, by planning new product and service offerings, filling gaps that are opening up in what used to look like entrenched markets and seeking different customers and suppliers. Elsewhere, those looking at starting new businesses see the potential for rapid change in the market as a green light to the future.

Those of us who have the pleasure of working with the inventors and innovators of the business world have seen a number of fresh business models emerging, as well as creative brands and product ideas. Because these things are both difficult and expensive to develop, they are worth getting it right and protecting it.

In the past, when the economy seemed easier to navigate, many businesses might have been tempted to pursue these new ideas "on the fly", without advice in the early stages. However, whether it is a sign of a new caution or simply an indicator of the seriousness of the stakes involved, there has been a noticeable level of intent among the people we have been talking to: they want to sanity check their ideas around regulatory issues, data protection compliance and potential third party rights infringement, and they want contracts in place to ensure as far as possible that they don't get caught out in dangerous times. And where they have sweated to innovate, they want the protection on offer for what they have created.

There are still opportunities to be taken by those who innovate, with planning and due caution. For further advice contact Clive Lawrence, Head of Intellectual Property and Commercial Law on 01904 611411.