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UKIPO Publish Latest Users of IP Rights across UK Economy

In its recent iteration, the latest IP publication identifies the UK industries that make the greatest use of intellectual property rights, with patents, trade marks, registered designs and copyright being considered. It assesses the contribution these industries make to the UK economy, in terms of employment, output and exported goods. The analysis in this paper covers the years 2014-2016 and 2017-2019. (links to both reports here)

Dids Macdonald, OBE, CEO of ACID said, ‚ÄúAhead of the soon to be published Design Economy stats in July, it is clear that IP plays a significant role enabling innovators to monetise the equity which goes into research and development. However, whilst this allows for an enhanced understanding of IP use for domestic policy making, I believe there is still much work to be done to ensure a seamless link and a better understanding between innovation (and use of IP rights) and policy making.‚ÄĚ

Across the 616 UK industries, trade marks were the most widely used IP right, occurring across over 95% of industries and having the highest number of industries with above average IP use. Compared to patents, registered designs were used more widely and were found to have higher number of industries with above average use. Consistent with the findings for industries with high IP use across all three registered IP rights, the manufacturing sector accounted for the majority of high or above average IP use industries in each of the IP rights.

The approach builds on the methodology used by previous studies from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) , and by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) . Both papers categorise industries as intellectual property (hereafter, IP) intensive if the IP use per 1000 employees is above the industry average.

Applying the above methodology to registered IP rights (patents, trade marks and registered designs) granted to UK companies only, and identifying a smaller subset of industries with noticeably high IP use, allows for an enhanced understanding of IP use within UK industries for domestic policy making. The economic contribution of sectors associated with copyright, an unregistered IP right, has also been included and follows a methodology established by EUIPO/EPO.

IPO’s summary of IP rights used

Industries with an above average use in IP rights  accounted for 26.9% (£298.5 billion) of UK non-financial value-added output  , 15.5% (4.5 million) of total UK employment and 52.1% (£159.7 billion) of goods exported.

Industries with a high  use of IP rights  accounted for 15.0% (£166.5 billion) of non-financial value-added output, 5.1% (1.4 million) of total UK employment and 12.1% (£37.1 billion) of total goods export value.

35.4% of UK industries (218 out of 616 UK industries  ) were found to have above average IP usage in any of the four IP rights considered with 14.9% of UK industries (92) having high IP usage. With respect to registered IP rights only (i.e. excluding copyright) 27.9% of UK industries (172) were found to be intensive, and 7.6% (47) were found to be highly intensive.

Industries with an above average use in any of the three registered IP rights (i.e. excluding copyright) accounted for 18.9% (£209.9 billion) of UK value-added output, 11.1% (3.2 million) of total UK employment and 51.2% (£157.2 billion) of total goods export value.

Four industries were found to have high IP use by UK companies in all three registered IP rights, three of which are in the manufacturing sector. A further five are intensive across at least two of the registered IP rights, as shown below:

Industries classified as having high IP use across multiple registered IP rights (IP per 1000 employees)

SIC Description Patents Trade marks Registered designs
3299 Other manufacturing n.e.c.  x x x
6420 Activities of holding companies  x x x
2110 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products x x x
3099 Manufacture of other transport equipment n.e.c. x x x
1395 Manufacture of non-wovens and articles made from non-wovens, except apparel x x
2432 Cold rolling of narrow strip x x
4635 Wholesale of tobacco products x x
3240 Manufacture of games and toys x x
7740 Leasing of intellectual property and similar products, except copyrighted works x

No industries were found to be highly intensive across all four IP rights considered, but five industries  were found to be intensive in both copyright and trade marks .

Centralised management of¬†IP¬†within company organisational structures led to some¬†IP¬†rights being linked to industries relating to ‚Äėhead office‚Äô type activities, such as Activities of holding companies¬†¬†. These¬†IP¬†rights were not redistributed to the industries of their subsidiaries, since the complexity of company structures and a lack of data meant that only a negligible number of ‚Äėhead office‚Äô¬†IP¬†rights could be reallocated with confidence.

Patents Trade marks Registered designs Copyright
Number of UK industries with at least one IP right  360 58.4% 586 95.1% 388 63.0% N/A
Number of UK industries classified ‚Äėabove average‚Äô use of¬†IP 64 10.4% 116 18.8% 75 12.2% 77¬†12.5%
Number of UK industries classified ‚Äėhigh‚Äô use of¬†IP 17 2.8% 25 4.1% 18 2.9% 49¬†8.0%
UK non-financial value-added output  £79.7bn 7.2% £146.5bn 13.2% £79.7bn 7.2% £156.8bn 14.1%
Total UK employment  1.1m 3.9% 2.3m 7.8% 1.1m 3.9% 2.0m 7.0%
Total goods export value  £120.6bn 39.3% £52.9bn 17.2% £72.9bn 23.8% £14.7bn 4.8%

Industry contributions towards output, employment and exports listed by IP right should not be added, since some have above average use in more than one IP right.

Across the 616 UK industries, trade marks were the most widely used IP right, occurring across over 95% of industries and having the highest number of industries with above average IP use. Compared to patents, registered designs were used more widely and were found to have higher number of industries with above average use. Consistent with the findings for industries with high IP use across all three registered IP rights, the manufacturing sector accounted for the majority of high or above average IP use industries in each of the IP rights.

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