John Kay, economist and columnist for the FT, predicts that the next big influence on the UK economy will be an overhaul of intellectual property rights…
According to HM Treasury, ‘intellectual property (IP) is a critical component of our present and future success in the global economy.’ With the UK’s competitive edge increasingly driven by the manufacturing industry, scientific sectors and creative media, it’s imperative that the administration of copyright, patents and other types of IP fosters a balance between protection and innovation.
John Kay points to the steady extension of the reach of copyright over the past decade or so as a potential barrier to creativity. ‘It may be seen to serve the interests of larger, established companies and inhibit creativity elsewhere. People are now seeing this as restrictive on new innovations and published material,’ he says, adding that ‘all new work in these fields must to some extend be based on what has gone before.’
This is especially pertinent with the rise of digital media and the confusion of the boundaries of ownership and ‘property’ that such technologies create. A relaxation of copyright governance would be a significant boon to smaller business that increasingly feel shut out by restrictive IP laws.
An independent review into the current system has been commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to examine how IP is awarded, licensed and enforced. The report will be published this autumn. For more details visit the website www.hm-treasury.gov.uk and search for ‘Gowers Review’.