The UK is a global leader for IP protection


The UK has a world-leading intellectual property environment, according to a recent report by the US Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has released the seventh edition of its annual International IP Index, which puts the UK as one of the world’s leaders in terms of IP protection and enforcement, when compared with 49 other countries. This is great news for the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), which has plans to make the UK a “world-leading” intellectual property environment, as part of its 2019 to 2020 corporate plan.

The UKIPO want to help the UK become the most “innovative and creative country in the world” by delivering excellent IP services, creating a world IP environment and attracting and retaining the best people by making the UK a “brilliant place to work”.

The UK is already in a strong position as the International IP Index report places it in second place, just behind the US, based on overall scores across the eight categories that are assessed.  Those categories are Patents, Copyright, Trade Marks, Trade Secrets, Commercialisation of IP Assets, Enforcement, Systemic Efficiency, and Membership and Ratification of International Treaties.

Matt Shaw, Equity Partner at Forresters, said: “It’s great to see the UK is ahead of the game when it comes to creating a world-leading environment for IP protection. The findings from the report show that the UK was given top place in the Trade Marks and Related Rights category. This category measures the strength of an economy’s environment for trade marks and related rights.

“Also, the UK came second in the Enforcement category, which looks at an economy’s prevalence of IP rights infringement, the criminal and civil legal procedures that are available to rights holders, and the authority of customs officials to carry out border controls and inspections. It is no wonder the UK ranked fourth overall for innovation, according to the Global Innovation Index, when it has one of the best IP environments in the world.”

The report noted the big economic benefits from improving IP protection, including making economies 26% more competitive and 39% more likely to attract foreign investment.


The UKIPO’s Corporate Plan

The UKIPO has stated that developing legislative and policy framework, increasing IP’s impact through awareness and education, and reducing IP crime and infringement are the three ways it can help the UK become a world leader.

Chris Skidmore MP, who is the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and Interim Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, which includes IP, echoed the aims of the UKIPO at an Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN) event. He said IP was a “golden thread” that underpins the UK’s economy and links many government departments.  Also speaking at the event, fellow MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary IP Group, Pete Wishart, said the UK has designed an IP framework that is “the envy of the world”.

Writing in the corporate plan, Skidmore said: “Intellectual Property (IP) plays a crucial role in encouraging such investment. It touches everything that makes modern life more enjoyable, easier, safer and prosperous. It provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. UK investment in IP rights reached almost £64 billion in 2016 and studies have shown that industries that rely on IP have accounted for over a quarter of UK employment and almost half of GDP. Our IP system matters. It creates jobs and economic growth and is helping to propel Britain to the forefront of innovation”.