Business Law & Compliance

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Cable introduces changes to IPO

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Speaking at the Big Innovation Centre, business secretary Vince Cable launched a range of measures that he claims will improve services to business, strengthen enforcement, and help consumers get the most out of creative products and services.

The plans, which will involve a step change in the way the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) delivers services, include: 

  • Launching a “superfast patent processing service” to deliver patents in just 90 days and a faster trade marks examination service, which is said to deliver a full examination report in five days, instead of ten;
  • A campaign to educate smaller businesses about getting the “best value from their creativity and innovation”;
  • Action to help consumers and young people understand the importance of respect for IP and the harm counterfeiting or illegal downloading can do; and
  • Working with key partners, such as the City of London Police, to tackle IP crime such as counterfeiting and online piracy.

These measures will come into effect next year. The IPO will also expand the way it operates, moving beyond just granting rights and do more to support businesses in understanding the opportunities available to them at home and abroad. This will include piloting an IP advisory service for small and medium businesses with high-growth potential. 

The IPO will work more closely with organisations where businesses already go for advice such as trade associations, UKTI, chambers of commerce, banks and accountants.

Vince Cable said: “Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation, is a key pillar of our return to robust growth. So it is right we work to create the environment in which creative, innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish. 

“A vital part of getting this is making sure that the intellectual property landscape encourages and cements success and growth. The new vision for how we support businesses and consumers is central to achieving this.”

A new national consumer campaign will be launched in the Spring to help raise awareness about counterfeiting and piracy. It aims to ensure that the rights of creators and innovators are better enforced. This will in particular focus on young people, reaching out to them in schools, theme parks and on the web, to educate them about their responsibilities in downloading materials and also protecting their own ideas.

There will also be further strengthening of the IPO’s IP attaché network which places a business attaché in challenging overseas markets to help British businesses and encourage improvements to the nation’s IP environment. In 2013, a new attaché will be placed in Singapore to serve South Asian markets, supporting those already in place in China, India and Brazil.

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