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Plans to improve intellectual property system

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The government has launched a review aimed at improving the way the current intellectual property system can help support business growth.

The review was announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron in a speech delivered to high tech businesses in east London.

Mr Cameron said: “We are reviewing our intellectual property laws to see if we can make them fit for the internet age.”

The review forms part of the government’s newly published Technology Blueprint and is intended to identify barriers to growth within the intellectual property framework.

Specifically, it will look at barriers to new internet-based business models, the cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally, as well as the cost to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.

Baroness Wilcox, the Intellectual Property Minister commented: “The internet has fundamentally changed the business landscape. Some sectors, such as the creative industries, have been transformed by the internet. The intellectual property framework must keep pace.

“An IP system created in the era of paper and pen may not fit the age of broadband and satellites. We must ensure it meets the needs of the digital age.

“The future of the economy lies in the highly skilled, technology sectors. For many of those companies their intellectual property is their most valuable asset.

“We must ensure the intellectual property system helps not hinders those companies. This review will look at what changes can be made to our intellectual property system to ensure it helps firms grow.”

The review is expected to report in April next year.

The Intellectual Property Office will also be trialing a peer to patent project, the purpose of which will be to raise the quality of the patents by ensuring they are sufficiently new and inventive.

During the trial, selected patent applications will be available for people to comment on, and the highest rated comments will then be submitted to the patent examiner.

Baroness Wilcox added: “This project aims to reduce the number of patents being granted for ideas and inventions that are not new or inventive. It will result in fewer disputes and legal challenges providing more certainty for businesses.

“We are looking to use the vast array of knowledge out there to improve the patent system for business.”