Growth in intellectual property investment

Business investment in 'intangible' assets, such as intellectual property (IP), increased by more than 10 per cent to £137.5 billion from 2009 to 2011, according to Government figures.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) data shows that investment in assets such as knowledge and creative assets is growing faster than investment in tangible assets, such as buildings and machinery.

Almost half of these investments are protected by formal IP rights. Of these:

  • 46 per cent are protected by copyright
  • 21 per cent are protected by unregistered design rights
  • 21 per cent are protected by trademarks.

An independent report into the role of IP and intangible property in facilitating business finance, commissioned by the IPO, recommended that the Government put together a 'toolkit' to help SMEs and lenders make better use of the value within IP and intangible assets. It recommended that this toolkit should build on existing Government initiatives.

The Government's response to that report says that, together with industry, it will look to:

  • improve understanding of IP in the financial services sector
  • support dialogue between finance providers and IP-rich firms
  • build lender confidence in assessing the values and risks of intangible assets.

The Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger, said:

"These investment figures show the strength and value of the UK's creative and knowledge-based industries. Continued growth in investment in ‘intangible assets', along with the fact that nearly half are protected by formal intellectual property rights, demonstrates that some UK firms do understand their real value.

"However despite these positive figures, as the economy grows a real challenge remains for firms to understand their intellectual property and how it can help them to access funding to invest in the first place.

"The government has set out an action plan, to help address the missed opportunities and help businesses, and the lending community, to realise and maximise intellectual property assets."