Press release

Northern Ireland businesses to get greater IP support

New support tools will help Northern Ireland businesses identify, protect and grow their intellectual property assets.

The potential for businesses in Northern Ireland to succeed and expand has received a big boost with the launch of new support tools to help small firms identify, protect and grow their intellectual property assets.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched ‘IP for Business’ - five business tools which make sure firms can tap into up-to-date guidance to help manage their intellectual property (IP) and get more relevant advice from their accountants and other business advisers.

The tools respond to the challenge of making sure businesses can generate value from ideas against a backdrop of poor understanding of intellectual property rights and how to exploit them. At the centre of the toolkit is IP Equip - a new, free interactive online training tool that helps businesses and their advisors to identify assets which may be protected by intellectual property rights and think through the strategy for protecting them.

Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said:

Intellectual Property is a prospect which small businesses often find rather daunting. However, what ‘IP for Business’ shows, is that with the correct support and guidance this doesn’t have to be the case.

The perceived barriers to protecting and managing IP successfully can be easily overcome. All businesses, regardless of their size or turnover, can use these products and I would urge them to do so to tap in their full growth potential.

Olive Hill, Invest Northern Ireland Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions said:

Invest Northern Ireland works closely with the UK Intellectual Property Office to assist Northern Ireland businesses in the identification, management and protection of their intellectual assets and welcomes the launch of these new tools. The tools will greatly assist businesses in the development of their IP protection strategy, which is fundamental to both business growth and international success.

Other products launched include:

  • IP Equip app which is available to download free from the Apple store iTunes and Android App store. This will give access to IP information on the go

  • IP Basics which is a range of new guides for business owners, explaining how to maximise the potential of IP

  • IP Health Check which allows business owners to assess their own business for free with a tailored report to identify and value their IP

  • IP Master Class which is a popular course which enables advisors to advance their knowledge

More details on and access to the products will be available via the IPO website.

Notes to editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact Clare Saunders on 01633 813882.
  2. For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on 0207 215 3505.
  3. The Intellectual Property Office is within the BIS and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  4. Businesses in Northern Ireland can access additional support and guidance on how to protect and develop their ideas from Invest Northern Ireland’s website.
  5. IP plays a vital role in encouraging business growth and success. Understanding the IP a business owns or uses and how to manage this strategically can offer significant benefits to a business.
  6. The full list of business support tools launched as part of ‘IP for Business’ are:
    • IP Basics – Straightforward free guides to understanding your IP
    • IP Equip – Free, quick and easy online IP training tool for professionals who advise businesses
    • IP Equip app – Free, quick and easy IP advice at your fingertips
    • IP Health Check – Asses your own business for free with a tailored report to identify and value your IP
    • IP Master Class – Reach your potential with comprehensive and in depth IP training
  7. The IPO and Invest Northern Ireland are holding a launch event on 9 April 2014 at Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street, Belfast. The event will run between 9.30am and 12.30pm, offering invited guests an opportunity to trial the tools.