Why does Intellectual Property matter?
Intellectual Property is increasingly crucial to the UK’s economic, cultural and social well being. IP enriches our lives by providing us with work, entertainment and education. It is hard to think of a service, product or activity which in some way does not depend on IP.
Industries dependent on IP are central to our cultural life. Internationally they project an iconic and positive picture of our country and in the UK itself who could imagine life without the UK film industry; our music industry; world renowned British authors and publications; business software and computer gaming; sporting events, iconic design; our vibrant art scene; fashion and globally recognisable brands? All of these industries from brand manufacturing to sport are entirely dependent on IP and all are vulnerable to the theft of their IP.
In stark economic terms our creative industries contribute over 8% of the UK’s GDP and are responsible for nearly 2 million jobs while at least the same again can be added for other industries which depend on IP, such as brand manufacturing. These industries are growing at twice the rate of the economy in general. At a time when Britain’s other iconic industries such as financial services are under unprecedented strain the central importance of IP to Britain’s economic fortune cannot be doubted.
The UK’s prosperity really is dependent on IP as the economy shifts its focus from assembly to products that require highly skilled employees, significant investment in R&D, along with other key contributions to the economy in the form of corporate profitability, taxation, licensing, and export sales of finished goods.
The protection of intellectual property is not a ‘nice to have’; it is an absolute essential. It protects investment in innovation, with income streams generated by IP rights crucial in enabling creators and investors to dedicate time and resources to new projects.