World IP Day 2022 is just around the corner, focusing on the theme of youth. We asked Abbie Dark, our youngest ‘One IPO Transformation’ team member, for her perspective on how our transformed services will help Generation Z and beyond.
Intellectual property (IP) isn’t always at the front of young peoples’ minds. When I catch up with my friends day-to-day, they’re more interested in fashion, gossip and trending videos on TikTok.
But IP is central to all these things. For example, consider social media influencers who post their content to millions of followers, which makes it easy to be copied. IP helps to protect their content and remove misused, plagiarised or replicated content, making things more reliable and ‘legit’.
So, with IP playing such an important role in the lives of young people, the UK’s IP system needs to be set up to work for Generation Z and beyond.
Last April, we launched our ‘One IPO’ Transformation programme. Its goals, in simple terms, are to modernise our digital services and introduce a single, integrated system for all registered IP rights – patents, trade marks and designs. Watch our short video to see the transformation story so far:
Let’s get modern
Fundamentally, the core way in which IPO operates and registers patents, trade marks and designs, hasn’t changed for 100 years or more. As a new generation of digital communities appears, we need to think differently about how our systems and services work. In the third decade of the 21st century, do we want to be the IP equivalent of a video retailer or an online TV and film streaming service?
These days, my friends and I are used to accessing things instantly. With one click we can buy goods online from sites like Amazon and stream music at the touch of a button through music streaming services like Spotify. I don’t even carry my purse around anymore as I find Apple pay so much more convenient.
We would rather not have to spend time printing things off – actually none of us even has a printer anymore!
To meet modern expectations, once transformed, the IPO will have fully digital services that give you, the customer, greater control over your IP and information. Of course, that means no more having to deal with paper if you don’t need to (a big positive).
We’re also building a customer account to help customers manage their IP more easily. At the moment, simple things like a change of registered address can take up to 6 weeks. With the customer account however, you’ll be able to update it yourself in seconds, just like you can on online services like Amazon or Spotify.
Let’s be customer focused
Uber and Just Eat are examples of where young people like me have grown up with services designed around their needs.
I think that being able to order all your favourite foods with a click of a button and have it delivered right to your doorstep is the definition of being customer-focused.
To meet these new expectations, we need to challenge ourselves to provide the services our public actually needs. We’re speaking to lots of customers to understand how they really use our services and what would be most helpful for them.
For example, we’ve heard lots of customers say they just want to get a filing date as proof of their innovation being logged with us. If the customer only wants a filing date, there should be a service to do that specifically, instead of applicants having to find workarounds to get what they want.
But there are bigger picture questions too. Does a patent application need to take so long (currently around 5 years from application to granting)? Are there places where we could make greater use of artificial intelligence (AI)? These are some of the big questions that we’re trying to answer through our One IPO Transformation Programme.
Moving with the times
I have grown up in a world where change is constant. Upgrading a smartphone every couple of years has become a regular ritual for me.
So, if we are to stay current, it’s more important than ever to have services that can be updated quickly to match the new demands and technologies of my generation.
Our current services are built on aging systems, where just updating the text on one of our forms can be very slow and complicated for us to do. Our new tech will be much quicker and easier for us to update, which will allow us to adapt quickly and stay on trend. It’ll also allow us to act on your feedback more quickly, so we can make continuous improvements to our services at a pace to match the modern world.
Many of the IP laws were written long before Gen Z’s were even born. The legislation around intellectual property was written for a paper-based world. For example, our current legislation states that official copies of IPO documents have to be certified and carry a physical seal.
This type of limitation prevents us from fully modernising our systems and making the most of new technology.
We will review our legislation to see where we can remove barriers that allow us to be innovative and creative with the IP system of the future.
Looking to the future
I hope that IP will become more accessible for my generation in the future. Hopefully by improving our services, we will encourage more young people to have innovative ideas, start a business or create something they’re passionate about.
By doing a better job of explaining how IP works, providing simple modern services and making it easy to find information, I think we can definitely go a long way to achieving that.
Want to know more?
So that’s my take on how we can and will reimagine the IP system for future generations. If you’d like to learn more about how our transformation work is progressing, take a look at our recent update.
If you’d like to get involved in shaping or testing our new services as we’re designing them, sign up to our user research panel by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.