Within the knowledge economy it has been predicted that 50 per cent of UK investment was protected by intellectual property rights. In 2014, knowledge economy investment was approximately £133bn, outspending the more traditional tangible investment by some £12bn.
This is an important shift, so it’s worth asking what’s behind it. Brands are undeniably a vital part of the knowledge economy. These days big brands dominate, helped by a global consumer appetite to communicate and share experiences through social media. New types of business, ones that can scale quickly and become truly global brands are all important, but are not the only ones to possess valuable, intangible assets. All businesses large and small have intellectual property they need to protect.
Brands can only truly thrive once protected and exploited effectively and it is the role of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys to advise businesses on how to do this successfully. The growth of the knowledge economy has required careful and robust protection of trademark and design assets. It is clear that businesses are taking this need seriously; 35 per cent more trademarks were registered with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in 2015 than in 2012.
In 2011, an estimated 11 per cent of total UK investment in intangible assets was in assets protected by trademarks.
In terms of design assets, businesses in the UK are increasingly benefitting from a reduction in the costs of registering designs. This is freeing up businesses to not only protect designs for one product, but for multiple designs for different parts of the same product. The UK economy is benefiting from this new environment, one that enables more comprehensive protection.
So the message is clear; businesses that want to thrive in a highly competitive global market recognise the value in protecting trademark and design assets. Businesses that are rich in intellectual property assets are more sustainable and less likely to be adversely impacted by changes in the global economy, which makes helping them protect themselves even more important.
As a result of the key role trade mark Attorneys have played in protecting the brand value of UK businesses, the quality of service and advice they provide and the work of their professional body, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys has been awarded a Royal Charter, becoming the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.
Kate O’Rourke is a senior counsel at Charles Russel Speechlys and president of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.