Intellectual Property Act 2014: Annual Report on Innovation and Growth: First Annual Report from the IPO

Jane Lambert











If there is one thing that the IPO is good at it is writing reports which is just as well as it was ranked 12th in 2012 in the the list of top 15 patent offices by number of patent applications which was the last year that the World Intellectual Property Office ("WIPO") published that particular league table (see page 17 of WIPO IP Facts and Figures 2012). No doubt it will slip still further after unitary patents become available because why would anyone want a monopoly of an invention for a small, crowded, offshore island which came within an ace of fragmentation last September when they can get a European patent for nearly the whole of the EU as though it were a single state?

S.21 (1) of the Intellectual Property Act 2014 requires the Secretary of State before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the end of each financial year to:
"lay before Parliament a report setting out—
(a) the Secretary of State’s opinion of the extent to which during that year—
(i) the activities of the Patent Office have contributed to the promotion of innovation and of economic growth in the United Kingdom, and
(ii) legislation relating to intellectual property has been effective in facilitating innovation and economic growth in the United Kingdom, and
(b) how the promotion of innovation and of economic growth in the United Kingdom was taken into account in the case of any legislation relating to intellectual property that was passed or made during that year."
As the Act was only passed last May this obligation does not arise until next year but "the IPO wanted to start this good practice immediately" so this is the first report on the IPO’s work to support innovation and growth in the UK, covering the period from April 2013 to March 2014.

The report Supporting Innovation and Growth: a report on the work of the IPO  2013/14  appeared on the IPO's website yesterday. There are the highlights of the report as set out in the executive summary:

  • increasing the exceptions to Part I of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which is said "to ensure that our copyright framework reflects the impact of new digital new technologies" and somehow "contribute over £500 m to the UK economy over 10 years";
  • concluding negotiations on the European Directive on Collective Rights Management, signing the Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, working in collaboration with other IP Offices to tackles issues around increasing patent backlogs and giving direct support to over 200 businesses dealing with IP issues worth over £370 million and helping a further 3,400 UK businesses through outreach and education work;
  • developing new ways of working to improve efficiency without loss of quality such as a new electronic processing system for trade mark applications and working with customers to develop on-line services for patents;
  • building awareness for IP;
  • passing the Intellectual Property Act 2014;
  • tackling IP crime; and
  • completing a programme of research to strengthen the evidence base on intellectual property.
Apparently the UK was judged to be the best location in the world for obtaining, exploiting and enforcing the main IP rights but the executive summary does not say who did the judging.  

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