|A different type of roll|
“promote innovation by providing a clear, accessible and widely understood IP system, which enables the economy and society to benefit from knowledge and ideas.”At the same time, the IPO must navigate the waters of politics. Such waters are known for placing occupants between the devil and the deep blue sea. Let’s take a look at where the tide is flowing in the case of the role of the IPO.
should have an overarching legal mandate to promote innovation and growth, and state that IPO decisions will be based in evidence and take due account of the impact of the IP system on innovation and growth. The aim of the proposal was to improve the way in which the IPO gathers evidence to inform the development of policy. To do this, the Review proposed four new functions:
A duty to keep under review the impact of IP and IP rights, and market positions founded on IP rights, on innovation and growth, including adverse impacts on competition and the competitive spur to growth, and to report annually.
Powers to prepare one-off reports on specific areas or cases where there appears to be detriment to competition or consumer welfare.
Powers to require information to support the exercise of these reporting functions.
Powers to make recommendations to the competition authorities, and to fund investigations that competition authorities may make as a result.
It is, however, important to note that, although growth is the Government’s top priority, there are other issues that sometimes come into play when developing policy on IP. While IP makes a substantial contribution to the UK economy, it also has an impact on society as a whole – on culture, education and the dissemination of knowledge and information.
The Government therefore considers that the most effective way of strengthening the IPO’s focus on innovation and growth would be to require it to report annually on the extent to which its activities had promoted those two ends. This increased transparency would act as a powerful incentive to develop policy based on the best available evidence, and to be clear about the respective weightings given to economic and social impacts on individual policy issues. Where the data are not as robust as we might like, a requirement to report will act as a spur to improve the quality of evidence.