About us

What we do

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

We operate and maintain a clear and accessible intellectual property system in the UK, which encourages innovation and helps the economy and society to benefit from knowledge and ideas. We help people get the right type of protection for their creation or invention.

Who we are

The Intellectual Property Office became the operating name of The Patent Office on 2 April 2007. The Patent Office was set up in 1852 to grant patents, although the origins of the patent system date back a further 400 years.

We’re now a team of over 1,000, with offices in Newport and London. The team is made up of specialists in rights-granting, IT, finance and HR.

We have ISO accreditation for the following:

  • ISO 9001 for our patents pre-granting process and patents search service
  • ISO 27001 for our IT security
  • ISO 14001 for our environmental management system
  • ISO 9001 for its UK trade mark application process - from fee payment up to registration of the trade mark

In addition, we also hold Investor in People and Customer Excellence awards for our training and development of staff and commitment to customer service respectively.

Our responsibilities

We’re responsible for:

  • IP policy
  • educating businesses and consumers about IP rights and responsibilities
  • supporting IP enforcement
  • granting UK patents, trade marks and design rights

Our priorities

From 2016 to 2017, our priorities will be to:

  • delivering excellent customer services for patents, trade marks and designs, whilst making access easier by expanding our digital offering

  • contributing to the UK’s goal of delivering an open, flexible Digital Single Market

  • further improve how the UK IP framework is perceived and functions by making it harder to make unjustified threats around IP disputes, increasing the evidence base around IP and innovation and what makes the best place to patent, and educating consumers, especially the young, to value IP rights

  • helping IP rich UK businesses confidently approach international trade by working to improve global IP systems through negotiation, direct bilateral engagement (eg China) and by providing specific help and advice through our attaches

  • providing leadership, coordination and strategic direction to enforcement activities, working with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, HMRC, Trading Standards and industry

  • increasing the number of businesses that better understand how to manage and exploit their IP, including exploring a greater regional presence and better IP trading

  • achieving a return on capital employed of at least 4% and an efficiency gain of 3.5%

Corporate information

Read about the types of information we routinely publish in our Publication scheme. Find out about our commitment to publishing in the Welsh language scheme. Our Personal information charter explains how we treat your personal information.

Corporate reports