“Intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century. Look at the richest men a hundred years ago: They all made their money extracting natural resources or moving them around. All today’s richest men have made money out of intellectual property.” [Mark Getty]

The results of a recent survey conducted by the UK Intellectual Property Office present a consistent picture of IP awareness. Larger companies are more IP aware, and have greater resources to both find out about IP and do something about it, whilst SMEs and the mass of micro-enterprises which form the cradle of IP, are in the main, effectively unaware of IP and the IP systems in operation. There is variation within industry sectors, but leaving aside outliers such as the Hotel and Restaurant sector, this is less pronounced than that with the size of the business involved.

Large companies which own IP Rights and are now IP aware, were once small companies who became aware of IP. It seems likely that there are many sectors and by no means just technology based ones, where it is small IP aware companies that grow and become the most successful. In the meantime the present research shows that small companies are generally IP unaware, and that efforts to promote IP awareness should be concentrated primarily on them.

Raising IP Awareness

One of the reasons ip4all was established was to provide a source of practical, relevant and accessible information in order to raise IP awareness. The material set out in this section comprises only a tiny fraction of the available information concerning IP e.g. there are approximately 124 statutes, statutory instruments and other subordinate legislation which directly govern the law and practice of IP Rights. However, the following pages of material present a summary of information of which every small business should be aware and thereafter there follows a more detail discussion for those that require a better understanding of this subject.

If you have any questions, in relation to any of the material set out in this section, please become a member, and subscribe to ip4all’s on-line advice service.