Posted on April 25, 2019 by staff

British businesses ‘left behind’ by IP failures


British businesses need to educate themselves on intellectual property and how it can help them succeed and innovate in a tough economic climate – or if Britain leaves the EU.

That was the view at a House of Commons summit attended by top IP institutions, law firms, universities and business leaders from the automotive industry.

The event was hosted by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network and backed by IP business intelligence solutions provider PatSnap.

“It is a well-known fact that 80 per cent of a company’s value is in intangible assets such as IP, but unfortunately many British companies aren’t making it part of their business strategy,” said Duncan Clark, director of academy at London-based PatSnap.

“Instead, they’re only learning about IP when it’s far too late or when it becomes a legal issue.

“Believe it or not, in countries like China, children of a primary school age learn about business and the importance of intellectual property In contrast, many university courses don’t even include it as module – so the fact is, British businesses are getting left behind.

“The key to all this is education. If we can create policy to help British businesses utilise IP in their strategy from the outset, we will have a strong economic advantage over our competitors.

“This will be particularly useful to the British automotive industry which needs to find a way to stay afloat when Britain leaves the EU.”

David Wong is senior tech and innovation manager at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, representing the views of the UK’s £82 billion automotive industry.

“Automotive is often seen as the ‘sunset industry’ but I beg to differ. I see something more exciting and exhilarating than ever before and IP is the fulcrum of this transformation,” he said.

Stephen Lambert is head of automotive electrification at McLaren Applied Technologies, a leader in the power electronic sector contributing nearly £50billion to the UK economy.

He added: “In our world, we face rapid development, we have to fix problems quickly and have an innovative mindset. But IP isn’t in the average mindset of an engineer because filing patents means you lose your competitive advantage. We need to use IP more to retain our innovation culture and protect what we have.”

Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for universities, science, research and innovation, said: “Britain is a world leader because of IP. It underpins everything we do in the economy itself and is fundamental to this country’s success.

“We need to provide a smooth and effective IP system regardless of Brexit and we need to be prepared for all eventualities, whatever the outcome.

“IP is not a ‘Cinderella’ subject in government and we need to work together as one single IP community.”