Solihull Approach, Trademarks, Franchises and the Law: MidTECH and Solihull approach “Going National”

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Case Study Summary
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Overview summary:
The Solihull Approach is a training method for practitioners working with families, children and young people, developed from within the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Hazel Douglas, a clinical psychologist is the Director of the approach.

The approach began in 1996 as a new method of training health visitors supporting parents of children experiencing sleep, feeding, and toileting or behaviour difficulties. As the approach became popular it now needed trademarks, intellectual property agreements etc. This is when MidTECH was contacted.
Challenge identified and actions taken :
The approach was successful with health visitors who first utilised it, that it quickly began to be applied more broadly, becoming an integrated model for many practitioners. Hazel and the team wrote and produced their own course packs. These ever since have been used to think about the behaviour of children in a holistic, relationship-based way.
Trademarking:
This success posed challenges, however: as the approach grew and began to be disseminated widely, questions of ownership arose. For Hazel, who had devised the method the question of rights to the ideas behind it became critical.
Franchising the Model:
In addition franchising the model also had its difficulties. MidTECH thus helped to protect Hazel and her team from copy-cats looking to steal their work. MidTECH enabled them to establish a framework for establishing franchises.
Action:
Trademarking:

MidTECH became Solihull Approach's in-house IP specialists. They explained the process of registering a trademark so clearly and MidTECH worked with lawyers who inevitably became involved.
Franchising the Model
MidTECH enabled a framework for establishing franchises. Via an intensively consultative process, MidTECH worked extensively with lawyers on Solihull Approach's behalf to devise a set of proper legal agreements which could govern these sorts of arrangements.
Impacts / outcomes:
The security MidTECH provided to the Solihull Approach and their efforts to spread their successful model ever further can't be underestimated: on the day we touched base with Hazel to write this article, the Trademark Office had called her to highlight a new trademark which had the potential to infringe upon Solihull Approach's. Needless to say, she turned immediately to MidTECH for advice on liaising with her lawyers, the Trademark Office – and assessing the potential clash.
MidTECH have helped to create a strong theoretical model which now educates people in how to understand their relationships and in a way that increases the wellbeing of individuals with of training health visitors supporting parents of children experiencing sleep, feeding, and toileting or behaviour difficulties.
Supporting quote for the innovation from key stakeholders:
"They explained the process of registering a trademark so clearly that we could do it ourselves. That advice was absolutely crucial, and MidTECH was able to work with the lawyers who inevitably became involved”.

“People in professions are trained to give advice – but it’s often difficult to make it heard. We now have in place a strong theoretical model which educates people in how to understand their relationships and in that way increase their well-being.”
“We got in touch with MidTECH through our Trust, the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust," recalls Hazel. "They very quickly got to work."
"Not only that, but we recently needed our trademark to be appropriate to new activity in China: without MidTECH, we wouldn't have known whether or how to extend ours to cover a range of much less obvious classes in order to protect us in challenging international markets. There's no way we could have done that ourselves.”
“That's why it's so helpful to be able to access people who do know this world, who are experts. It gives you the confidence you need to innovate and expand."
Which local or national clinical or policy priorities does this innovation address:
The Solihull approach was developed from within the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust but now the model is used Nationwide.
Plans for the future:
Talks currently underway with China and adoption in Australia is underway.
Tips for adoption:
If you are interested in using Solihull Approach in your organisation please contact the team at - https://solihullapproachparenting.com/contact-us/
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