The UK has seen a rise in the amount of patent applications approved, but a dip in the amount submitted.
A jump of 29 per cent in the amount of patents granted in the UK is the largest recorded in the past decade, research shows.
Findings from law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) show that the number of patent applications granted in the UK rose by 29 per cent to 2,992, up from 2,323 in 2010.
Breaking down the figure, RPC’s research shows that the vehicles and transport sector produced the biggest surge, up 68 per cent to 689. Next in line was the electric power sector which saw successful applications from 635, an increase of 58 per cent.
David Cran, intellectual property and technology partner at RPC, comments, ‘UK businesses are some of the most innovative in the world and a proportion of this increase is likely to reflect successful research and development by UK plc.
‘Another factor at play is the importance of the UK market to international, IP-dependent businesses, who apply for a UK patent to protect their products from competitors in the UK.’
Despite the jump in successful patent applications, RPS says that there has been a continual decline in the amount of submissions made, falling from 20,196 to 15,343 in 2011.
Cran says that the drop in requests made represents a ‘concerning trend’. He adds, ‘If businesses reduce their investment in researching and protecting innovative new products and processes, that will have an inevitable impact on the new development cycle.’
RPC has outlined three changes to the UK patent regime which could stimulate greater investment in research and development by UK businesses.
On top of the recent ‘Patent Box’ initiative, a 10 per cent tax rate on profits generated from patents, which was announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s March 21 Budget speech, RPC says that further reforms to the UK court system would also aid patent protection.
The third of its recommendations involves on a move towards a single European patent. ‘A unitary European Patent system that simplified the current position of separate patents for each European country would be welcomed by most UK and European businesses, as it should reduce costs and increase research and development investment in Europe by making it more competitive with other territories, such as the US,’ Cran adds.