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Reviewed 4 March 2011

New British Standard offers better protection for inventors

A new British Standard setting out for the first time good practice and principals of ethical behaviour for organisations providing services to inventors has just been published by BSI.

In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of organisations offering services to inventors and other originators and developers of ideas. Such organisations include commercial companies, universities that specialise in invention and product design, and inventors' clubs. While many of these are reputable and protect inventors' intellectual property rights, some take advantage of inventors either inadvertently or intentionally.

The new standard, BS 8538 Specification for the provision of services relating to the commercialization of intellectual property rights, should help to provide a consistent level of service and aid inventors to navigate the fragmented market for intellectual property services in the United Kingdom.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox welcomed the standard and said:

"For inventors and small businesses the intellectual property system can seem complex and daunting. Commercial success will often depend on the advice and support of a professional advisor. It is vital that inventors and businesses are able to choose their advisor with confidence.

I am pleased that we now have this new British Standard for services relating to the commercialization of intellectual property rights to help with that choice".

Dan Palmer, Head of Market Development at British Standards Institution (BSI) said:

"The new standard should help reputable service providers to ensure that they are treating inventors fairly, and help inventors to understand what to expect when they begin the process of securing the intellectual property rights for an idea."

Editors notes

  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within 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.
  • Its 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.
  • It 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.
  • BSI Group External Link is a global independent business services organization that inspires confidence and delivers assurance to over 80,000 customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world's first national standards body, BSI has over 2,500 staff operating in over 140 countries through more than 50 global offices.
  • The standard specifies requirements for the provision of services to the originators of intellectual property with a view to their commercialization.
  • The standard is intended to act as a framework in which reputable advisory or promotion organisations can work.
  • The standard is available at the BSI shop External Link.
  • For further information, please contact IPO press officer Emma Griffiths on 020 7215 5982 or e-mail communications.
  • To request a review copy of BS 8538 please contact BSI's Press Office.

Date of release: 4 March 2011

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