The United Kingdom has a proud heritage of discovery and innovation, of breathtaking art and creativity. Today, despite tough economic conditions, Britain remains in the vanguard of science and technology, of design, music and film.
Our investment in the intellectual property that underpins these strengths massively outstrips that in more physical assets like buildings or machinery. As we work to lay the foundations for robust, sustainable growth, we must deliver an IP system that supports our innovators, creators and entrepreneurs, and inspires the confidence of rights holders and users alike.
We can be proud of what this Government has achieved. Since taking office in 2010, we have driven forward an ambitious suite of projects to implement recommendations from the Hargreaves review of Intellectual Property and Growth, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published in 2011. The changes we have delivered, in both the legislative framework and our rights granting systems, bring the UK’s IP environment out of the 20th century and into the digital era. They better align our IP framework with the needs of both users and creators.
Free online IP tools
The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court now offers an effective dispute resolution mechanism within the UK. Our network of IP attachés has helped to protect nearly £400million worth of UK IP assets on the global stage. Our businesses have access to better advice and guidance on IP through the launch of our IP for Business tools and, most recently, the IP Finance toolkit; and our higher education students can now tap into online learning tools to help them understand IP within their chosen discipline.
But challenges remain. We have further to go before we can say with conviction that employees and entrepreneurs fully understand IP and before they have full confidence that their IP rights will be respected and can be enforced around the globe. If our budding innovators and entrepreneurs can maximise the value of their work in a society that respects intellectual property, the UK will continue to lead the world in innovation and creativity.
It is for this reason that one of the targets I have agreed for this year is the design and launch of a new online educational hub, as part of a drive to make IP an integrated part of our education system, from the first days at school right through to graduation day. And why I have been encouraging the IPO to continue its work to ensure effective enforcement of IP rights, not just in the UK but internationally, building on the solid foundation created by the International IP Enforcement Summit which we hosted in 2014.
These are big ambitions. As the IPO works to deliver on them, it must, of course, ensure that it remains true to the continuous improvement of its core rights granting services. The changes the office has already made have, I know, been warmly welcomed. In this plan I am pleased to see how the IPO plans to continue its transformation to a truly digital business which delivers the high quality services its customers expect.
I am determined to ensure that we maintain our progress towards an infrastructure which helps the UK truly stand out as a global hub for IP development and exploitation. The stretching targets I have agreed within this plan chart the next steps the IPO will take in its journey towards that objective. I have every confidence the IPO can deliver them.