This month we had the pleasure of co-hosting our own Knowledge Quarter Breakfast Briefing. Our very special guest was none other than Mr Tim Moss CBE Chief Executive Officer of the UK Intellectual Property Office and Comptroller General. The topic for discussion with our invited guest audience was ‘The importance of intellectual property for the creative industries and the impact of Brexit on intellectual property law and practice in the UK.’
Heavy stuff, but to ease things along I got to sit in a great big green comfy armchair alongside Tim and our other most distinguished guest and Co-host the exuberant Roly Keating Chief Executive of the British Library and Chair of Knowledge Quarter.
Only 11 months into his job at the UKIPO and Mr Moss has wasted no time in getting to grips with the wonderful world of intellectual property and its place in underpinning the business health of our creative sector. Unhampered as so many in our profession are by the obsession with preserving the status quo he presented a optimistic vision of our intellectual property future post Brexit underpinned by an understanding of the framework within which we currently sit and thrive. I for one was excited about the opportunity that may be to make sure our systems are not just ‘good’ as currently but potentially even better.
Now before I go further I need to say that our breakfast was held under Chatham House Rules. When I hear the announcement that Chatham House Rules to apply I am always struck by two conflicting thoughts. The first is a slight nervousness that there will be someone in the room who uninitiated in the strange ways of the English is now frantically googling it and about to miss out on some other important or interesting information. The second is an impish delight that my ears are about to be assaulted by outlandish comments that will be shocking and that I will have been so lucky to be privy too.
Of course the reality is invariably far more sober. All it means is that I can report on what was said but not attribute comments to anyone present.
Against that background I can let rip with a summary of the main points as follows:-
(i) The importance of Intellectual Property to creative business and business generally should not be underestimated.
(Ii) The UKIPO is committed to making sure we get the best deal in trade talks with the EU so our intellectual property rich businesses can be sure of continued success.
(iii) The UK has one of the best intellectual property systems in the world and intends to keep things that way.
(iv) Withdrawal and transition must be achieved with maximum efficiency and minimal cost (Love that one!).
(v) Over the last year the number of registered trade mark and design filings has gone through the roof.
(vi) If you are thinking about a move to Newport, the job scene is looking buoyant so now may be a good time.
(vii) We need to look outside of the details that govern individual rights and consider the frameworks within which intellectual property based businesses operate on global basis such as TRIPS.
(viii) While we are turning out backs on the Treaty of Rome there are plenty of other Treaties which cover IP that are unaffected.
(ix) We are all committed to the mission to make sure that every man woman and child knows his patent from his trade mark from his design. The resources available on this front at one’s fingertips are improving all the time and are so good there is little excuse for not knowing. That said an unidentified person at Briffa is still aghast at the number of callers it has wanting help with patenting their name!
(x) Finally to invoke the great cry of Gloria Gaynor ‘We will survive’. Our great trading nation did not get where it is today without the ability to adapt, change and take advantage of the changing weather fronts and trading conditions. Indeed is that not what the British are so very good at. Onwards and upwards we go.