An index compiled by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property (IP) Center has place the UK at number one for IP enforcement. This result is a reflection of the UK’s strong IP legislation which, in the report, is ranked as second only to the USA’s own laws.

The report, which considers a variety of factors in both legislation and enforcement, considered the UK system to be robust, although with areas for improvement, which include software piracy – the UK has higher levels of piracy than some other comparable economies – and the issue of plain packaging for tobacco products, which raises a number of questions about intellectual property protection.

Minister backs strong IP system

As the report was published, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister, said: “A strong IP system is key to encouraging innovation and delivering continued economic growth. So I am tremendously pleased that this Global Index (GIPC) views the UK’s IP enforcement regime as the best in the world. This is testimony to the joined-up efforts of government agencies, law enforcement, industry and other local and UK and international partners in tackling IP crime. That the UK is also ranked at the top for patents, trade marks, trade secrets and market access, membership of international treaties is further evidence of our world class IP regime.”

It remains a fact, however, that no matter how strong the system is, IP owners are the ones who decide whether to take advantage of that system to enforce their rights to trade marks, patents, design rights, copyright and other IP ownership. Enforcing these rights is an expensive and often drawn-out process, which many companies may not be able to afford to take on. However, our courts are held in high regard throughout the world, which means that those deciding to take action are confident of a fair and detailed hearing.

Intellectual Property Advice from SH&P

Working within IP legislative environments in the UK and around the world, the team at Stevens Hewlett & Perkins is ideally placed to help you protect your intellectual property. From start-up businesses who need to register a trade mark to national and international organisations with complex IP portfolios, we have the knowledge and commercial awareness to give you reliable, relevant advice.