FAST building SME membership

Just days after widening its membership tiers to attract more SMEs SMI Telecoms has joined FAST

Just days after changing its membership criteria to reach out to more SME sized developers the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has signed up SMI Telecoms to help protect its intellectual property.

Earlier this month, FAST took the wraps off a structure with five membership categories, ranging from the sub £250,000 turnover level up to £25m plus, with the aim of providing more tailored content for smaller firms.

Membership also provides access to legal advice, IP valuations, networking opportunities and event support at different levels depending on the specific membership category as the industry group looks to increase its support for software firms.

SMI Telecoms provides management software to communication service providers and has IP that dates back to 2004 and the firm SMI Telco and its CTO Gary Brooks, which was later transferred to the latest incarnation of the business that was launched in 2011.

Kevin Williams, VP sales at SMI Telecoms, said that when someone stole its software it had a major impact on the business and it looked to FAST to help increase the protection of its IP.

“Software and IP theft continue to plague a variety of organisations, and our business is no different. We have spent years developing our software and investing in our IP, and are naturally keen to protect it. FAST has the know-how and contacts to offer guidance on how best to do that, and the clout to make an impact, making them a good fit for our business," he said.

Recent figures from IDC showed that there could be as many as 8,000 software and application development businesses in the UK and the majority employed less than 50 people. The government's own numbers show that the creative industries are worth £76.9bn a year, accounting for 1.71m jobs in 2013 – 5.6% of the working population in the UK.

Alex Hilton, FAST’s CEO, said that the group had made some headway in "championing the protection of software businesses" as it looked to defend intellectual property.

"It’s important that we continue to stand up for the rights of established software publishers and resellers, as well as the growing number of start-up software developers, and believe that by combining our efforts with businesses to come up with real and practical solutions that will pay dividends," he said.

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