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UK intellectual property system to be reviewed

During a recent speech to an audience of high tech businesses and entrepreneurs in London’s East End, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the publication of a Technology Blueprint, spelling out how the Government intends to support high-tech innovation. This will include an independent six month review of the intellectual property system, focusing on how it can better drive growth and innovation in the internet age.

The aim of this review is to identify barriers to growth within the IP system, which consists of the rules and regulations covering how intellectual property is created, used and protected in this country. In particular, the review will focus on how the system can help businesses based on new internet and digital technology.

The review is to include examination of:

  • Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
  • The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
  • The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
  • The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.

The Intellectual Property Minister, Baroness Wilcox, also discussed the proposed review. She stated that the internet has fundamentally changed the business landscape, with some sectors, such as the creative industries, being transformed. It is therefore important that the intellectual property framework keeps pace. The future of the economy lies in the highly skilled, technological sectors and, for many companies working in those sectors, their intellectual property is their most valuable asset. The review will look at what changes can be made to our intellectual property system to ensure it helps firms grow.

The Technology Blueprint also outlines how the UKIPO will trial a peer-to-patent project which aims to improve the quality of granted patents by ensuring they are sufficiently novel and inventive. Patent examiners cannot be expected to have access to all the information which is already in the public domain, so during the trial selected patent applications will be available for people to comment on and to rate each other’s comments. The highest rated comments will then be submitted to the patent examiner for consideration. Similar projects have been carried out in the US and Australia.


26 November 2011

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