UK intellectual property worth £65bn

Computer and copyright

UK businesses' intellectual property investments are worth over 65bn, according to research commissioned by the Government's Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The IPO, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, commissioned two reports, one into UK investment into artistic works, including film, TV and radio, and a more broad-based paper, "The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the UK Market Sector".

The reports found that businesses in the UK are investing more than ever in intellectual property. By 2008, the last year for which data are available, intellectual property was valued at 65bn, twice the level of 1990. The reports also found that some 3bn of investment in copyrighted material was not included in the national accounts so the true figure could well be higher.

Researchers working on behalf of the IPO found that businesses had seen more growth from intellectual property investment over the last 10 years than they had from general business spending or investment in almost any aspect of their fixed capital. The only investment that had driven greater returns was money spent on information technology. Copyright and designs, researchers found, were the biggest contributors to the growth of IP.

However, UK firms risk losing some of their gains, by not taking sufficient steps to protect their IP. "Businesses who decide not to protect their intellectual assets are taking a huge financial risk because they may lose any rights to their creative ideas," warned Baroness Wilcox, minister for intellectual property. "We would therefore always encourage companies to make an investment and make sure they gain the financial benefits they are entitled to."

The Coalition for a Digital Economy, along with other groups such as the BCS recently