A House of Commons summit has thrown the spotlight on how British businesses need to educate themselves on intellectual property (IP) and how it can help them succeed in a tough economic climate – or if Britain leaves the EU.

Top IP institutions, law firms, universities and business leaders from the automotive industry attended the conference on Wednesday, April 24 hosted by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN) and backed by business intelligence solutions PatSnap.

The aim of the summit, held ahead of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) World IP Day (Friday April 26), was to encourage the influential attendees to work together to develop policy and support education that will help British businesses harness the benefits of IP to support innovation in order to stay competitive in a global marketplace.

Duncan Clark, director of Academy at Patsnap, said: “It is a well-known fact that 80% of a company’s value is in intangible assets such as IP, but unfortunately many British companies aren’t making it part of their business strategy. Instead, they’re only learning about IP when it’s far too late or when it becomes a legal issue.”

David Wong is senior tech and innovation manager at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, representing the views of the UK’s £82billion automotive industry. He commented: “Automotive is often seen as the “sunset industry” but I beg to differ. I see something more exciting and exhilarating than ever before and IP is the fulcrum of this transformation.”

Stephen Lambert is head of automotive electrification at McLaren Applied Technologies, a leader in the power electronic sector contributing nearly £50billion to the UK economy. He added: “In our world, we face rapid development, we have to fix problems quickly and have an innovative mindset. But IP isn’t in the average mindset of an engineer because filing patents means you lose your competitive advantage. We need to use IP more to retain our innovation culture and protect what we have.”

Chris Skidmore, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, said: “Britain is a world leader because of IP. It underpins everything we do in the economy itself and is fundamental to this country’s success. We need to provide a smooth and effective IP system regardless of Brexit and we need to be prepared for all eventualities, whatever the outcome. IP is not a “Cinderella” subject in government and we need to work together as one single IP community.”

According to WIPO, one of the biggest mistakes start-ups make is failing to create a well-thought-out IP strategy.

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