INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND THE 2011 BUDGET!

At last SME’s recognised as being in need of improvements in IP support
Following intense lobbying by ACID and other industry organisations, ACID welcomes George Osborne’s statement in the 2011 Budget that the Government will set out a five-year international approach to intellectual property. Good news for SME’s is a commitment on behalf of the UKIPO to improve the range of products and services available to support UK businesses, particularly SMEs, on issues relating to IP. The IPO will also establish a network of attachés covering the key global markets, including China, East Asia and India which are some of the most challenging IP territories for micro firms and SME’s wishing to protect, exploit and commercialise their tradable knowledge.

Many ACID members share the view that UK businesses find it almost impossible to control the unauthorised use of their IP overseas, especially in BRIC countries. The new IP attachés will focus on promoting and protecting UK business interests within host countries, working with local IPR enforcement agencies and providing a focal point for supporting UK businesses with IP-related issues. Government hopes that the benefit of this measure will be felt beyond the digital and creative sector by all businesses that rely on IP.

The Government has confirmed that IP rights produced by the private sector for public sector contracts remain with the party best placed to exploit them. This ensures that, wherever sensible, business can retain their IP to use with other clients and internationally. It will come as no surprise that compelling evidence suggests that this policy has not always been followed. The Government will publish a guide to policy on IP related to public procurement, to raise awareness in the public sector and industry.

Says Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO, “I welcome the Government’s raising of awareness about the importance of IP issues in the UK but what is patently missing is any reference to addressing IP enforcement difficulties faced by thousands of micro firms and small businesses in the UK. However, it is encouraging that the Government is going to provide long called for guidelines on public sector IP procurement policy, so that industry can exploit the opportunities for IP whilst it remains with the private sector provider for re-use. This is long overdue and it is hoped that industry standards will also prevail in the procurement of IP in the private sector too.”

The Government expect that the Hargreaves review, due in April 2011, will make recommendations for simplifying payments for copyright materials and freeing up orphan works, and that Government will ‘consider’ these proposals.  The Government will commit to no further broad reviews of the IP rights regime during the lifetime of this Parliament.  There are no proposals for a US-style ‘fair use’ system to be implemented.

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