Insights Government publishes Innovation Strategy with intellectual property at its heart


On 22 July 2021, the Government published its Innovation Strategy, which sets out how the UK aims to be a global leader in innovation. The IPO says that a strong intellectual property system will be key to making that happen.

The IPO says that innovation is critical in tackling the UK’s biggest challenges, including economic recovery from the Covid pandemic, and that IP will play a central role in creating the right environment to meet these challenges. An effective IP system gives confidence to businesses, creators and investors that innovations will be protected and they can get a return for their work, it says.

The Strategy outlines how IP will address its four pillars of: (i) unleashing business; (ii) supporting people and skills; (iii) serving the needs of institutions and places; and (iv) stimulating missions and technologies. Specifically, the IPO will:

  • launch a new “IP Access” fund that will help businesses to grow and to build back better from the Covid pandemic;
  • launch a new, free, fit for purpose support offer for businesses and organisations to make the most of their IP in overseas markets; the service will consist of easy to access, “self-serve”, online materials and clearer routes to access the UK’s network of IP experts based in key export markets around the world; and
  • extend its education programme to reach more higher education-based researchers during the next academic year to help them better understand and manage the IP they create and generate the maximum benefit from their research.

In addition, the IPO will consider a number of issues to strengthen the UK’s IP system, and in the autumn, it will consult on the protection of inventions and creations made by artificial intelligence (AI) with minimal human input. Following its 2020 call for views on AI, the IPO will look at options to address whether patents should be granted to inventions, and copyright should apply to creative works, created by AI.

The IPO will also lead a call for views to better understand how the current framework for Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) is functioning to support innovation, and to establish whether change is needed. To read the Government’s press release in full and for a link to the Innovation Strategy, click here.