It’s heart-warming to see the priority given to Green Tech in the UKIPO’s newly published corporate report. The report sets out the Patent Office’s priorities for the near future. Critically, one of these priorities is based on the recognition that the UK’s IP regime is a central driver for renewable innovation. The Patent Office clearly sees that IP can propel the Green Industrial Revolution 10-point plan, and so play a key role in ensuring that the UK Government’s commitment to net-zero is achieved.

It’s reassuring that the UKIPO wants to create an environment in which entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses can be confident to create, invest and adopt new Green Tech. It is by fostering such confidence that new renewable and sustainable technologies can be developed and importantly brought to market and adopted.

The UKIPO already has tools in place to help renewable technologies, such as the “Green Channel”. This allows accelerated search, examination and grant of patent applications relating to Green Tech. However, it’s excellent news that one of the UKIPO’s declared objectives in their new report is to provide financial support to innovative small and medium businesses to help them make effective use of their IP. This is with the prime aim of cultivating businesses to grow and thrive so as to contribute to the Green Tech revolution and to the wider economy.

The Patent Office also wishes to work with partner organisations to identify innovative, high-growth potential businesses across the UK and provide financial support to manage their IP. Part of this intent will be delivered through two grant schemes: IP Audit and IP Access. The IP Audit scheme will provide funding for professional IP advice to assist businesses identify their IP assets. This will allow businesses to develop an IP management plan and to set a clear pathway as to how they can leverage value from their IP assets. Further, the IP Access scheme will provide subsequent funding to allow recommendations from the IP Audits to be achieved. This will ease the way for companies to release value from their IP assets and to allow businesses to flourish and grow.

In 2021 an EPO-IEA study highlighted that further innovation, accompanied by concerted policy action, in a wide range of low-carbon energy technologies was required to accelerate the availability and diversity of technologies at affordable costs. The same EPO-IEA study found that, between 2010 and 2019, only 3% of international patent families in clean energy technologies originated from the UK. This compared to 10% from South Korea, 12% from Germany, 20% from the US, and 25% from Japan.

To improve the UK’s position in Green Tech, the UKIPO report and stated objectives are welcome news. However, the UKIPO and the IP industry need to effectively communicate to the UK Green Tech industry the tools being made available by the UKIPO. Only then can the UK play a key role in the Green Industrial Revolution.

“The UK’s IP regime is central to innovation and can assist in formulating IP policies to ensure the Green Industrial Revolution 10-point plan priorities, UK Government’s net zero by 2050 commitment and the COP goals are met.”