The Intellectual Property Office has made a number of recommendations to the government about how to help small and medium-sized businesses better manage and protect their intellectual property (IP).
The recommendations form part of a report that is due to be published shortly, which also examines the problems SMEs having getting access to finance for IP.
It found that the current system in the UK rarely caters for IP investment through regular bank lending. The report states that IP assets are often confused and not identified properly by businesses and banks, where there are too few effective places for businesses to identify, licence and trade in copyright, designs, trademarks and patents.
“Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the economy. Most of our successful creative businesses are SMEs and we know that Intellectual Property represents a big part of their assets and growth potential,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable.
“But too often, through risk aversion or banks’ conservative lending practices linked to property as security, IP is not catered for by traditional bank lending. Intellectual property is too important an asset to be undervalued by banks who are the main source of finance.”
He added: “That is why I commissioned a report to explore how we can improve SMEs’ access to capital. We will look carefully at its recommendations in order to better support this countries creators and IP-rich businesses.”
The report recommends a series of steps including:
• Creating a toolkit to help SMEs, lenders and other financiers identify, understand and make more effective use of their IP
• Making it easier for businesses to show what IP they have when looking for funding
• Developing templates and providing advice which help banks and others understand the cash flow and business value of IP
• Supporting the development of accessible and effective IP marketplaces
Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said: “This report will hopefully raise awareness and add to the appreciation of IP, so that we can protect our creative industries and better support a resilient and stable economy.”