Our latest innovation and growth report does an excellent job capturing the breadth of the work of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). It would be easy to pick highlights of the things we’ve achieved in 2018-19 and just summarise what is a great report. But, when reflecting on our contribution to innovation and economic growth, it struck me that elements of our work mirror the innovation process.
It is probably easier for me to see this from a fresh perspective, having only joined the IPO in June. But quickly I’ve seen and understood that it is in the IPO’s DNA to seek solutions to issues and try to improve existing standards.
This is probably easiest to see through how we are responding to the challenge of a surge of innovation through the development of AI. The government has made clear its support for advancing the UK’s AI sector. It is expected to add £630 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and is one of the four Grand Challenges forming part of the Industrial Strategy. We published research and analysis into the AI patenting landscape to help unlock understanding of this rapidly growing sector. This has helped us to ask probing questions and identify new challenges to the intellectual property (IP) system. Our aim is to now make sure that we are best placed to provide the right support for the innovators pushing this technology forward. In doing so, we are challenging ourselves to ensure the IP system continues to evolve and unleash the UKs potential in an increasingly fast paced global environment.
Perhaps less easy to see from outside the IPO is the work we have done in delivering improved services to our customers. Firstly, we have worked hard to improve our performance. For example:
- we have coped with another significant surge in trade mark application (11.4%)
- we have reduced the average time it takes to issue trade mark examination reports from 9 to 7 days
- we experienced the biggest increase yet in design applications (18.9%)
- we now issue more than 95% of examination reports on e-filed design applications within 10 working days
Behind the focus on doing better today, is planning to improve services for tomorrow. We worked hard during the year to plan how we are going to deliver truly end-to-end digital services for our customers. We look forward to launching a new renewals service before the end of this year.
The one issue few us can avoid at present is Brexit. Since the referendum, we have been engaging our stakeholders and customers on what the impact of leaving the EU will be. During the year we put in place the final arrangements for delivering a smooth exit process. This involved passing new secondary legislation to ensure continuation of existing rights; creation of new, parallel rights; and continuation in a number of international treaties and agreements. All of this will minimise disruption to businesses and other rights holders.
Our contribution to innovation and growth is not just to support the process for others. It is also about being part of that process too. So, it’s important that we:
- continue to look for new solutions that will deliver a better experience for our customers
- we deliver a more robust framework
- we reduce complexity and maximise IP system accessibility to benefit everyone
‘Promoting innovation and growth: The IPO at work 2018-19’ tells the story of how we are responding to a whole range of challenges we face. Also, how we support those that drive innovation and creativity today, whilst having an eye firmly fixed on the future. Underneath that, the story is that IP matters. It is more than products or designs. It’s about the positive impact innovation and invention has on our everyday life. From medical cures to the everyday tools that make our lives easier, IP has a key role in building an exciting future for the UK.
New to IP? Take a look at the IPO's online training tools to learn more about the basics.