About us

What we do

We’re the official 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

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 2014 to 2015, our priorities will be to:

  • support UK growth by reforming IP policy, improving licensing and processing applications (eg for trade marks) more quickly
  • encourage UK businesses to understand, use and protect their IP, both in the UK and internationally
  • educate consumers to respect others’ IP rights
  • work with Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, Trading Standards, and international agencies to strengthen enforcement activities and help reduce the flow of counterfeit goods into the UK
  • develop a suite of tools to encourage university lecturers to bring IP into course material and to build students understanding of IP
  • complete the infrastructure and supporting regulations for orphan works (where rightsholders are unknown) and extended collective licensing (where additional rightsholders outside normal representation are included)
  • achieve a 4% return on capital employed (ROCE)

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