LONDON Intellectual property (IP) audits are to be offered to small businesses in the U.K. with up to 40 small firms, many of whom have never before sought to protect their valuable intellectual property, benefitting from a three-day audit being piloted from March by the Patent Office in collaboration with four regional development agencies.
The pilots form part of a new Innovation Support Strategy designed by the Patent Office to help U.K. business recognize, protect and maximize the value of their IP assets. The strategy implements the first of the recommendations of the recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, published last December.
“Protecting and promoting innovation has never been more important for firms big and small, at home and abroad. Andrew Gowers' Review underlined the importance of intellectual property in a world where the UK's economic competitiveness is increasingly driven by knowledge-based industries, innovation and creativity,” said, Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks.
“The IP audit pilots will help up to 40 small firms in the manufacturing, service, high tech, creative and other sectors identify what intellectual property exists and offer advice to protect, use and maximize its value. It is just one of a number of new initiatives designed to help businesses raise their IP game in the face of growing global competition, added Wicks.
Other initiatives outlined in the Innovation Support Strategy include:
* Web based guidance to help U.K. firms operating in foreign markets. Companies working in fast growth economies such as China, India and Brazil should be able to benefit from simple and concise guidance on obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights to help them overcome legal hurdles and guide them to reliable professional help.
* Trials of 'patent mapping'. By analyzing patent information the Patent Office will be able to identify trends in the market for particular products, services or research and development strategies. Businesses using this service will be able to use this information to plan company investment and highlight areas of potential collaboration.
The IP audit pilot will target two group, companies that have filed only one or two IP applications and those that have never filed.