The UK Intellectual Property Office recently set out its ambitious transformation plans which will see an overhaul of all its IP services. In this blog we take a look at the details and what this means for IP in the UK.
The IPO has launched the "One IPO" transformation programme, a five-year programme to transform IPO services and enhance the value the IPO adds to the UK economy.
CEO Tim Moss has explained that the reasons behind the transformation programme is a pledge for the IPO to "up our game" in delivering "excellent IP services that meet the needs of our customers". He confirmed that they are not seeking to replicate the current offering but are committed to innovating and transforming their services so that they are "the best IP office in the world."
What are the aims of the programme?
The IPO's objectives in its transformation plan are to:
Deliver the best tools to enable its people to excel.
Provide outstanding, customer-focussed services.
Unleash the power of its data to help drive economic growth.
Enable and accelerate UK innovation.
Be global IP leaders.
The IPO has shared what we can expect from the transformation and sets out six benefits, which it explains are based on customer feedback:
A single, integrated system for all IP rights.
Customers will have a single online IPO account with convenient self-service features.
Its new and transformed services will be fully digital, quicker and easier to use.
Collaboration and real-time advice.
Customers will be able to easily research IP, with powerful analytics tools that will help them search, query, interpret and share the IPO's data.
Completing the transformation will make the IPO a more effective and efficient organisation.
When will this happen?
The IPO plans to deliver the programme in three phases:
Phase one: Build the One IPO foundation (2021 – 2024). The IPO will start to build a single, integrated system for all IP rights (patents, trade marks and designs) called the Common IP System (CIPS). By the end of this phase the IPO's patents service will have moved onto this system.
Phase two: All rights on One IPO (2023 – 2026). Trade marks and designs will join patents on the new CIPS IP system. The IPO expects to offer customers a fully digital service, where they can manage all of their different IP rights and account details in one place.
Phase three: Be the best IP office (2026 onwards). The IPO will listen to customers and staff to deliver ongoing improvements and excellent IP services.
The IPO has called on customers to take part in user testing which will take the form of surveys, contextual interviews and actual testing of prototypes.
The UK IPO already provides a good service for rights' owners and their advisors and is widely regarded internationally as one of the most efficient. However, there are areas which could be improved and benefit from being further streamlined and modernised, so it is very encouraging to see the IPO launch this transformation programme and for it to be supported by the UK government.
The IPO has set itself quite ambitious targets to deliver this plan, but its recent successful import and cloning of all registered EU trade marks and designs onto the UK register following Brexit, and response to the Covid-19 pandemic, shows how it is able to embrace unprecedented changes, and fulfil the latest needs of customers.
For more information, see the IPO's press release and transformation prospectus.
Also see article in Managing IP, 28 April 2021, UKIPO’s quest to become world-beater ‘must strike right balance’ in which Leighton Cassidy comments on this development.
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