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© Alliance for Intellectual Property 2019

Trading Places: The UK's IP Future

December 19th, 2017

New Alliance report details the crucial relationship between IP and trade, identifying both risks and opportunities in upcoming negotiations

See photos and a write-up of our launch in Parliament with a speech from Secretary of State Matt Hancock here.


The Alliance has launched a new report highlighting the current and future export opportunities of its IP-rich member sectors. In just a few examples highlighted in the report the publishing industry’s exports were worth £3.1 billion in 2016, the music industry £2.5bn and the TV industry £1.3bn all of which experienced growth.


The Alliance believes these exports could grow even faster if the Government uses its future trade negotiations with the EU and other countries to raise the level of IP protection in these countries. If the UK fails to do so, however, the value realised from British creativity will be lost.


The UK’s priority in trade negotiations is clearly to forge a new trading relationships with the EU. On copyright and trademarks the transposition of current EU legislation into UK law is the priority, though there is some work to be done to ensure design rights are equivalent and to ensure any new customs arrangements take the transportation of counterfeit goods into account.


It is, however, future trading arrangements with non-EU countries where using the negotiations to improve IP protection could have the greatest benefit. Clearly there remain significant issues with IP theft in countries such as China, India and Brazil where the Government has highlighted the potential for trade deals. However, even in countries such as the US, Canada and Australia there are issues around IP protection which the Alliance would like the Government to raise. 


Canada, for example, does not provide customs officials with the ability to detain pirated and counterfeit goods that are moving in transit or are transshipped through Canada and has broader copyright exceptions than the UK, whilst under US copyright law there is no right for the producers of sound recordings to receive a royalty when their recordings are included in terrestrial broadcasts (e.g. through FM radio).


The report highlights a series of measures that the Alliance would like to see raised by the UK Government in its discussions with a range of countries. Commenting on the Report, Eddy Leviten, Director General of the Alliance said:


“If we are to maximise the commercialisation of our world leading creativity, we need IP protection put at the heart of our trade negotiations.  A lot has been talked about agriculture and financial services, but IP protection is vital to all businesses, but particularly those that rely on creativity.  Today’s report puts a figure on our members exports which we believe will accelerate if the Government takes this issue seriously.”