85% of small firms failing to keep ideas secure

Intellectual Property office warns entrepreneurs to do more to protect their ideas

Only 15% of Britain’s small firms have ever sought advice on protecting the ideas they come up with, according to new figures from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Figures contained within the IPO’s ‘Intellectual Property Awareness Survey of Business’ also show that only 11% of new and growing businesses allocate responsibility for the management of their intellectual property (IP) to a specific employee or division.

In contrast, an increasing number of bigger businesses take IP seriously; according to the survey, 43% of larger companies now have a specific person, or department, responsible for safeguarding their ideas.

Announcing the results of the survey, intellectual property minister Baroness Wilcox said that innovation “is the backbone of our economy,” and lamented the fact that “many smaller companies aren’t aware of how to make the most of their intellectual property”.

Publication of the survey comes just eight days after chancellor George Osborne announced a major increase in R&D tax credits in his budget speech – placing innovation firmly back on the agenda for companies across Britain.


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