CBI calls for more support for IP-focused businesses

The Chamber of British Industry (CBI) has called on the government to put the development of intellectual property (IP) at the very front of its agenda, saying this is the best way to stimulate the economy – and if its hoped-for initiatives are even in part pushed through, innovative small businesses could find themselves more supported than ever before.

As part of a six-point plan, the CBI urges the government to establish reliable routes for small firms focused on creating new IP to access finance. It stresses the importance of IP and idea development to the economy and calls for the patenting and trademarking processes to be made ‘fit for purpose’.

It also suggests every government policy should be assessed on how many investment or idea development opportunities it opens up for businesses. And in encouraging news for companies seeking financial aid for research work, it proposes an extension of the research and development (R&D) tax credit system, to encourage the development of new IP.

“We want to see future tax changes have to pass a test, which is: 'Will it make the UK a more attractive place for businesses to invest in, develop and exploit IP?' ” said CBI president Helen Alexander at the organisation’s East of England annual dinner last night.

“We must have a stable and competitive tax framework if we’re to incentivise IP development and exploitation. Change and uncertainty undermine the confidence of those making long-term investment decisions.

“We currently have a strong R&D tax credit scheme. But other countries are fast catching up, and are becoming more innovative in how they set tax structures to encourage IP development.”

Alexander added that ‘any plans to remove the UK’s R&D tax credit should be rejected out of hand as dangerously short-sighted’.

Here's the plan in full:

  1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) should have a single, clear mission to act as a 'champion for IP-intensive companies' across government. UK Trade & Investment and the IPO should collaborate to provide a one-stop-shop for any prospective foreign investor in IP-intensive industries.
  2. The IP architecture for patents, copyright, designs and trademarks must be 'fit for purpose' for all businesses in the global economy. This will require specific actions such as the introduction of a community patent within the European Union. More broadly, the government should promote the importance of IP to the UK public and highlight the important role that IP plays in enterprise, creativity and innovation.
  3. All relevant future tax changes should have to pass the test 'will it make the UK a more attractive place for IP-intensive businesses to invest in, develop and exploit IP?' The government should also give serious consideration to a 'royalty box' approach to encourage companies to register their IP in the UK and further enhance the R&D tax credit scheme to encourage more research and development in the UK.
  4. The quality and quantity of graduates, particularly with STEM skills, must be increased as a matter of urgency, through opting in high ability students to take all three sciences at GCSE and encouraging a greater uptake of STEM subjects at A-Level. The government should also invest in laboratories in schools and encourage more work experience for young people to ensure they are enthused about and better prepared for careers in IP-intensive industries.
  5. The government should take more steps to improve collaboration between universities and business. The IPO should continue to market Lambert model contracts for sharing IP in business/university projects to help encourage research, and working with business should be included as a criteria for academic promotion. Government at all levels should support the development of research clusters by maximising local strengths and avoid creating disincentives for investment.
  6. The government must take action to ensure a supply of venture capital funding to IP intensive start-up companies. It should also establish a mechanism such as a new Industrial and Commercial Financial Corporation to provide development finance for IP-intensive businesses in the UK for the future health of the economy.

All welcome news for IP-focused small businesses. Let’s just hope the government takes these messages on board.

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here