July 29 2021

IP at the heart of new innovation strategy

Source: Intellectual Property Office

The UK government’s innovation strategy sets out how the UK aims to be a global leader in innovation and a strong intellectual property system will be key to make that happen.


Innovation is critical in tackling the UK’s biggest challenges, including achieving Net Zero, levelling up growth across the country, achieving our ambitions as a global trading nation and economic recovery from the Covid pandemic.

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 ideas will be protected and they can get a return for their work.

The Strategy outlines how IP will address its four pillars of unleashing business, supporting people and skills, serving the needs of institutions and places and 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. Building on the already successful IP audit plus programme, this new scheme will support businesses to manage and commercialise their IP so that they can use the value within their IP assets to grow their business
  • 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
  • extend its education programme to reach more higher education-based researchers during the next academic year. This will help them better understand and manage the IP they create and generate the maximum benefit from their research

In addition, the IPO will consult 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 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.

The IPO set out in its Corporate Plan a programme of work that will support the government’s focus on innovation including developing an IP & Innovation Passport and an IP in Finance strategy alongside a framework linking IP to stages in the business lifecycle. It will also publish a Places Strategy and along with existing regional posts that will support the levelling up agenda.

The IPO’s Chief Executive Tim Moss said:

Innovation is critical in tackling the UK’s biggest challenges both now and in the future.

The UK’s new Innovation Strategy is the starting point for the government’s long-term vision of how we will cement our role as global leaders in innovation and deliver the target of R&D investment at 2.4% of GDP - and it has IP running through the heart of it. The strategy recognises that a strong IP system, that protects and allows for a return on investment on ideas, creates the confidence on which this success is built.

We know that innovation is the engine of the modern economy and we’re proud of the contribution we’re making to drive that forward.