Announcement

Small businesses need to do more to protect their ideas

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The ‘Intellectual Property Awareness Survey of Business’ has shown that only 15 percent of small companies have ever sought advice on safeguarding…

The ‘Intellectual Property Awareness Survey of Business’ has shown that only 15 percent of small companies have ever sought advice on safeguarding their ideas. Only 11 percent of firms overall assign responsibility for managing intellectual property (IP) rights. This is compared to 43 per cent of larger companies, meaning that smaller enterprises risk missing out on valuable income from their creativity.

Announcing the results during a visit to Plymouth University to talk to final year robotics students about the value of their ideas, Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said:

“Innovation is the backbone of our economy, and it’s encouraging that many businesses know the importance of protecting and exploiting their ideas. However it’s clear that many smaller companies aren’t aware of how to make the most of their intellectual property.

“As part of the Government’s commitment to helping small businesses, the Intellectual Property Office offers a range of information and services to help companies identify and benefit from their inventions and designs.”

Services offered by the Intellectual Property Office include:

  • A free online IP Healthcheck tool to help businesses understand different areas of IP.
  • Workshops delivered throughout the UK to teach business advisors about IP.
  • An IP Master Class course in partnership with Coventry University and the British Library.
  • Free regional IP awareness seminars for businesses.
  • Free guidance documents on a range of IP topics, from outlining the basics to country-specific IP guides for UK exporters to Brazil, China, Korea, India and Vietnam to help British companies in the major markets around the world.

This is the second awareness survey commissioned by the IPO. It involved 20,000 businesses of all sizes and from all industry sectors across the UK, and aimed to find out their level of awareness about intellectual property including trade marks, patents, copyright and designs.

Notes to editors

  1. The Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  2. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge based economy.
  3. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to IP to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  4. The ‘Intellectual Property Awareness Survey of Business’ can be found at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipsurvey2010.pdf.
  5. More information about the services provided to businesses by the IPO can be found at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whyuse/business.htm.
  6. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See [http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom](http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom) for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone

Fax

Mobile

Email NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Name Sally Catmull Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 6577 Fax

Mobile

Email sally.catmull@bis.gsi.gov.uk