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Intellectual Property

Volume 678: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2020

Our industrial strategy sets out the Government’s vision for making the UK the most innovative country in the world. The UK starts from a position of strength and is already ranked in the top five of the global innovation index and top 10 by the World Bank as the best place to start and grow a business. But the global landscape is changing and we must continue to invest in research and development. The industrial strategy has set an ambition to raise total research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, helping businesses access the right funds and equip them to face the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies and new ways of doing business.

Intellectual property (IP) plays a crucial role in innovation and touches everything that makes modern life more enjoyable, easier, safer and prosperous. It provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. UK investment in IP rights reached almost £64 billion in 2016 and studies have shown that industries that rely on IP have accounted for over a quarter of UK employment and almost half of GDP. Our IP system matters. It creates jobs and economic growth and is helping to propel Britain to the forefront of innovation.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) corporate plan 2020-21 explains how through its stewardship of the IP system, it will help the UK to be the most innovative and creative country in the world. It will do this through delivering excellent IP services, creating a world leading IP environment and attracting and retaining the best people by making the IPO a brilliant place to work.

The UK already has one of the best IP regimes in the world, consistently ranked as one of the top regimes in indices such as those from the US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index, and during 2020-21, the IPO will continue to contribute to building a business environment that makes the UK the best place in the world to start and run a business.

As an executive agency and trading fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the IPO has set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. I am glad that today I can inform the House that for 2020-21 the IPO’s targets are:

Deliver excellent customer service with our average overall customer satisfaction at least 85%.

Deliver our services efficiently through continuously improving our systems, processes and ways of working to make things better for our customers and our people, reduce costs and improve the value for money we provide. Our target is to achieve efficiencies worth at least 3.5% of our core operating costs.

We will have created equivalent UK rights from existing EU trade marks and designs to the UK register on 31 December 2020.

We want to ensure that the UK’s IP framework incentivises the development and adoption of AI technologies, supporting the Government’s ambition of putting the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution. We will do this by developing our understanding of how AI impacts the IP framework through launching a call for views and publishing our response so as to provide the clarity our customers need to confidently invest in AI.

It is important to note that our plan and our targets were developed prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus (covid-19) epidemic. At present our targets are unchanged but we will review this as the impact of the virus becomes clearer. We have the ability to adapt our finance and resource models according to emerging trends and we will do so. We will also work with BEIS and our other partner organisations to review our priorities regularly, ensuring we support wider Government responses to the economic impact of the virus and seek to focus our efforts and resources where they will have the most significant impact driving the UK innovation and creative economy.