......Mark Sheahan, Managing Director of Compgen Limited, was named Innovator of the Year in a ceremony held at the British Library in November by the London Business Innovation Centre.  His SqueezeopenTM containers are a real breakthrough in packaging design.  Much cheaper and quicker to produce than standard closing systems.  His invention has already been taken by major packaging producers in the US and the UK.


Mark's design will also reduce the 67,000 accidents caused annually in the UK alone because of the problems people have when opening consumer goods.  Airtight, and easy to make child-proof, the SqueezeopenTM lids are also a boon for the elderly and the disabled.

Mark has had a golden year, winning the Invention of the Year and Gold Consumer Product at the British Invention Show, the Grand Prix at INPEX America's largest Invention showcase, the Visteon Award for Manufacturing Innovation and gold medals from Geneva's International Exhibition of Inventions and the Taiwan Invention Association.

The Library's expert staff are a great help for the new inventor.  They run patent clinics to help people get started.  New inventors are vulnerable; you can be taken advantage of.  I keep an eye on the trade press to make sure that none of mine is pirated, and I know that other inventors have used the collections when taking action to protect their intellectual property.  The Library's resources empower the lone inventor.'

The Library's support for innovation was highlighted in the Government's report, Investing in Innovation, published in July 2002. The report underlined the value the Library added at a national level in supporting scientific  and  technical  research  and  development in universities and

How did the Library contribute to his triumph? ,You inspire confidence', says Mark.  During development of the product, he visited the Reading Rooms and the website to check on existing patents for packaging.  'It's vital to do thorough searches.  Otherwise you can waste so much time, and companies can spend thousands of pounds, developing an idea, only to find that a patent already exists.  The Library can also help innovators and entrepreneurs assess the market.  There's no point developing a prototype unless there's a big enough market out there large 

'The Library's expert staff are a great help for the new inventor.  They run patent clinics to help people get started.  Inventors are vulnerable and can be taken advantage of.  The Library's resources empower the lone inventor.'

Mark Sheahan, Innovator of the Year

corporations through Document Supply services and Reading Rooms.  It also recognised the 'particular benefit (the Library offers) to smaller firms which are less able than large companies to hold substantial collections of scientific journals and other publication's.

Refocusing the services we offer to small and medium-sized companies has been central to Julia Stocken's work since she joined the Library last year as Head of Science, Technology and Innovation.  She says, 'we're here to help make ideas happen. 

Mark believes that 'nearly every idea's already been thought of, but just not commercialised.  You can find out who would be interested in your idea by looking at which companies are filing patents in your field.  You need to delve into filing patents in your field.  You need to delve into an area, look at how others have addressed a problem, then see if you can move forward from it.  Once you've filed your patent, you can get in touch with manufactures.

The enterprise sector needs reliable information; they may not be familiar with the sources, or know how best to use them.  We've got the expertise, the facilities and the scientific and technical information, online and in print: we can sift it, asses it, and package it how they want.  We're developing our ideas with partners, including the London Development Agency.  There's such  sense of excitement: we're fine-tuning a really powerful resource.'


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