12 March 2020TrademarksEdward Pearcey

Spring budget: UK Chancellor announces more funding for IP centres

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced £13 million ($16.3 million) in funding for a rollout of more business and IP centres across the UK, as part an effort to better protect IP rights across the UK’s regions.

The move, revealed in yesterday’s, March 11, budget, was cautiously welcomed by Anti Copying in Design ( ACID), a UK design and IP campaigning organisation.

ACID’s CEO, Dids Macdonald, praised the extra money, but called for it “to be accompanied by a more robust enforcement strategy, both inside and outside the UK”.

“This will be particularly important as the UK leaves the EU. We need to put IP at the top table and protect the UK’s creative industries with a unified enforcement system,” she continued.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which works on behalf of local authorities to support, promote and improve local government, also welcomed the new funding, which extends the Business & IP Centre National Network currently run out of various libraries in the UK.

“This funding demonstrates that the Government have heard our calls for greater recognition of the vital role that libraries play in helping businesses to innovate and grow,” said Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s culture, tourism and sport board, in a statement.

“Libraries provide a diverse range of services in our communities and bring people together to learn, network and access free Wi-Fi which improves digital skills and employability. They deliver unrivalled value for money and return on investment, generating £6.95 for every £1 of public funding.

“The British Library’s Business & IP Centre network improves careers and livelihoods. Research shows that of those business and IP users who went on to start a new business, half were women and more than a third came from the BAME community.

“Councils are committed to improving the life chances of their residents and stand ready to work with the Government to grow local economies and the entrepreneurs of the future.”

The Chancellor’s announcement follows the announcement by No.10 that it will not be seeking involvement in the Unified Patent Court (UPC), despite the country’s ratification of the underlying agreement in April 2018.

In a quote sent to WIPR, a UK government spokesperson said: “The UK will not be seeking involvement in the unitary patent/UPC system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.”

Yesterday, March 11, a UK parliamentary committee asked the government to clarify its position on the country’s UPC participation.

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