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Reviewed 17 December 2012

Cable announces step change to turn ideas into growth

Business Secretary Vince Cable, today set out new plans to make sure UK creativity and innovation supports growth. Speaking at The Big Innovation Centre, Dr Cable launched a range of measures that 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 will deliver a full examination report in five days, instead of 10;
  • 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.

The new measures, which will come into effect next year, aim to encourage and help businesses get the best value from their ideas and boost growth.

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.

Dr Cable said:

"Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation, will be a key pillar of our return to robust growth. So it is right that we work to create the environment in which creative, innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes can flourish."

"A vital part of getting the environment right must be about 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."

Making sure consumers are protected from counterfeiters and better understand the use and value of intellectual property is also key. A new national consumer campaign will be launched in the Spring to help raise awareness about counterfeiting and piracy and ensure that the rights of creators and innovators are better enforced.

The activity 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.

The UK will host an enforcement summit next summer inviting countries from around the world to share best practice and work together to combat problems.

Notes for editors

1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

2. The IPO's role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.

3. The IPO operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.

4. The government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries'. It set four ambitions in the 'Plan for Growth External Link', published at Budget 2011:
- To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Date of release: 17 December 2012