Small firms to get IP health checks

Intellectual property audits will be offered to UK small businesses, says science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks

UK small firms will be offered intellectual property audits, science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks has announced. Around 40 small firms will take part in a three-day ‘IP audit’ pilot scheme next month, which is run jointly by the Patent Office and four regional development agencies. Many of these firms have never tried to protect their intellectual property before. The pilot is part of a new Innovation Support Strategy designed by the Patent Office to help UK firms recognise the importance of protecting their IP. It implements a recommendation from the recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, published last December. "Protecting and promoting innovation has never been more important,” says Wicks. ”This is one of a number of new initiatives designed to help businesses raise their IP game in the face of growing global competition." Other initiatives outlined in the Innovation Support Strategy include: web-based guidance to help UK firms operating in foreign markets; and trials of 'patent mapping' – in which the Patent Office analyses patent information and identifies trends in the market for particular products, services or R&D strategies.