Sam Gyimah – 2018 Speech on the Unified Patent Court Agreement

Below is the text of the speech made by Sam Gyimah, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, on 26 April 2018.

I am delighted to be here on World Intellectual Property Day; my first as IP Minister.

And I’m delighted to see such a wide cross-section of our IP community here today, including two former IP Ministers and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary IP Group Pete Wishart, each of whom supports and advocates for IP.

I want to thank John for the introduction, and for bringing us together today, and I would also like to congratulate him and his organisation on their 25th anniversary this year. Today is as much a celebration of their work as it is of IP.

And we can all agree – there is much to celebrate.

The UK is consistently ranked among the best IP regimes in the world. We have topped the Taylor Wessing Global IP Index three times, and we have maintained our second-placed ranking in the recent US Chambers of Commerce International IP Index too.

Thanks to the Intellectual Property Office and our IP legal community, we offer a world-class rights granting regime.

As well as encouraging new IP, we are global leaders when it comes to protecting it too.

The success of the Police IP Crime Unit and the strength of collaboration between local and national enforcement agencies means we are ever more effective at protecting rights holders and consumers.

Providing those protections gives businesses a sense of certainty. But we were asked to provide further certainty and clarity in our preparations to leave the European Union – something which we’ve done by securing a transition period.

Now we are well placed to make sure we turn the changes – which will be the central part of our exit – into opportunities.

One of those opportunities is to make sure we continue to strengthen and develop the international IP framework.

And today I am pleased to confirm that the UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court agreement and look forward to bringing the court into being.

But there is continuity too. We will maintain our high level of protection of intellectual property, and we will keep making the case for British innovations.

As we develop our trading relationships with other countries we will focus on getting the right outcome for UK inventors, creators and consumers, while promoting our outstanding talent to all corners of the world.

We must be transparent and inclusive as we develop our future trade policy, and we will be working closely with a wide range of stakeholders to develop our priorities around trade and IP.

I am delighted to have already met some of our important stakeholders, and we have a shared ambition to ensure that IP rights underpin future trade relationships.

IP is serious business. So, naturally, supporting, protecting and developing it is a fundamental part of the Industrial Strategy.

It can help us to build on our strengths, extend them into the future, and capitalise on the opportunities before us.

And it’s a key part of our aim to raise the level of research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

The recently launched Creative Industries sector deal is a perfect example of this ambition in action.

The commitment by government and industry to invest nearly £60 million in immersive technologies wouldn’t have happened without a strong IP regime to support innovation, giving us the confidence needed to make that investment.

But IP isn’t limited to the creative industries. I’m delighted to be standing here on the day we have launched a new deal with our booming artificial intelligence sector. And IP is central here, too.

Earlier this week I visited IntelligentX, a microbrewery in the heart of London. There, I learned how AI can take feedback, refine flavours, and craft beers to match your exact tastes.

Now if you ask me, that’s pretty exciting. But artificial intelligence has all kinds of real world benefits which are rather more serious too.

From streamlining complex services to increasing our productivity, AI is being applied across a whole range of sectors including manufacturing, automotive and financial services sectors.

Today’s Sector Deal will see government and industry investing almost £1 billion together, strengthening our reputation as a world-leader in innovative technologies.

This will help us to assert ourselves as one the most attractive places in the world to start and grow an AI business.

For those businesses – and many others – IP is often their most valuable asset. That is why improving access to finance is so important; it’s essential that a business can built on an idea. But it also needs the means to grow.

Our plans for providing intensive business readiness support will be complemented by the work of the British Business Bank and the IPO. They are currently exploring the potential for an IP asset-based lending product that would help better secure investment in their ideas.

We are a nation which backs ambition, and embraces innovation. So we have every reason to back IP.

Today is a celebration for IPAN; for us and our contribution to a world leading IP system.

In government, we have a vision of an innovative and resilient economy. And I know it is one that you share.

I know we all have our eyes the future, and I’m excited to see the role that British IP can play in shaping the world.

Thank you.