The UK IPO issued its Innovation and Growth Report 2020-21 in September, which highlights the UK's growing position in IP.
In particular, the report highlights the UK's international rankings - 4th in the World Intellectual Property Office’s (WIPO) Global Innovation Index 2020 and 2nd in the Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) International IP Index 2021. These are great to see and long may they continue and improve.
As you would expect, likely due to Brexit and the pandemic, the UK IPO has seen an unprecedented demand on its services. With regard to the cloning of EU registered rights, the UK IPO had to add approximately 1.5 million trade marks and 700,000 designs onto the Register. Not a small task! In addition, new national UK trade mark filings in 2020/21 saw an increase of 56.7% compared with 2019/20 (140,894 applications) and new IR designations increased by 19.3% (20,313). This increase didn't stop at trade marks and design filings have been significantly increased - 44.6% increase in national designs (35,059) and a huge 60% increase in designs filed via the International system (6,280). Patent filings and examinations also increased.
The report puts it simply "[t]he high volumes of applications suggest one perhaps undeniable fact: British innovators are optimistic. Our figures suggest an increase of engagement between the IPO and innovators".
It was great to see how the UK has continued to work internationally to increase knowledge and collaboration in IP. The report provides details on the UK's work with Brazil, India, the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and WIPO in particular - well worth a read.
Finally, the report does not shy away from understanding that there are still issues - "The IPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) need to recalibrate their relationship so that British companies innovating trade marks and designs remain competitive in Europe. The IPO and the world’s patent offices must keep pace with technical advances, ensuring that their decisions are timely, accurate, available and easy to access. Global innovation requires a level playing field in which all countries adopt similar, negotiated, IP regulations, so as to balance the rights of innovators and consumers, wherever they are. We are intensifying our relationships with key players in the international scene, at the European Patent Office, WIPO and other important administrations to make sure IP registration process are fit for purpose".
All in all, a great year for the UK's IP regime!
We know that innovation is the engine of the modern economy and this report goes a long way to capturing and identifying the role the IP system plays in that and, more specifically, how the IPO is striving to maximise that contribution. As a key element of the new Innovation Strategy and continued clear demonstration of the value that IP brings to our economy and society, the UK’s IP system and the IPO rightly remain world-leaders.