Patent changes considered to protect innovation

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Patent changes considered to protect innovation

UK government office looks at role in encouraging invention.

The UK Patent Office is consulting UK businesses on their innovation plans, to make patents easier to obtain.

The Innovation Support Strategy is part of the government’s wider agenda to encourage invention across UK industry.

Science and innovation minister Lord Sainsbury says the Patent Office consultation will consider suggestions about simplifying the patent process.

"Patents provide a valuable protection for industrial and scientific creativity," he said. "For research industries, they provide a valuable means of protecting their investment. But like all IP [intellectual property] they don’t come with instructions for use."

A Patent Office spokeswoman says businesses are being encouraged to contribute as much as possible so that ideas can be tailored to specific industry needs.

"We want to ensure that the strategy will deliver maximum benefits to UK business," she said.

New guidance on how to protect research and special training is under discussion, as are advisory systems to help support individual inventors and small firms, providing more advice and assistance with patent issues, something of particular relevance to the IT industry.

Struan Robertson, a technology IP lawyer at Pinsent Masons, says getting more advice to small IT startups is important. "The UK has a lot to be grateful for when it comes to patent law, it is very clear and does not allow very generalised technology patents that restrict innovation," he said.

"However, anything the Patent Office can do to make things as clear as possible is good."

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