UK Industrial Strategy

IP is gr-r-reat!
As the policy wheels turn, the UK government is consulting on its industrial strategy. The strategy is the government's plan for developing innovation and encouraging economic growth.  The launch is just the start; what follows next is a whole host of consultations and discussions on how the plan will translate into practice.

IP, unsurprisingly, has a role to play.  There are multiple direct references to IP in the strategy:
  • A commitment to commission research on how institutions commercialise their IP, looking licensing and spin outs, and how practices vary between different institutions (institution here generally meaning universities) 
  • A commitment to reviewing how the IP system maximises incentives for collaboration and licensing
  • New IPO representatives in the the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine
  • The role of IP in innovative public procurement
  • The independent review in to the UK creative industries which will include the role of IPR
The strategy has popped up in multiple IP and research discussions in recent weeks.  A key theme has been that there remain key challenges in understanding how IP works in practice, such as commercialisation and licensing. The role of IP in university spin-outs is a long-standing problem; a problem that is perhaps dwarfed by the challenges of making such start-ups/spin-outs survive. There are also multiple criticisms that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which will launch with £270M to fund research on AI, robotics, nuclear energy, manufacturing and others, is noticeably lacking a human side.

Non-UK readers may curious as to the "Northern Powerhouse" and "Midlands Engine."  Every good economic spin needs a catchy name (see Asian Tigers, Celtic Tiger). [Merpel is very upset the UK monikers are no longer of the feline persuasion. She suggests instead the Northern Panther and Midlands Manx.] Northern Powerhouse refers to the economies of the North England cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle; Midlands Engine is the economy of the area between the South of England and the North.  The focus on these areas is likely in recognition of the need to decentralise the UK economy away from London, although Scotland, North Ireland and Wales do not seem to have received the same treatment.

It is hard to view the strategy without considering the political context. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and its impact on labour and skills, in addition to pending questions on international trade agreements, mean that domestic innovation and industry are more important than ever.  Government investments and tax credits form part of industrial strategy and may be key in keeping and attracting multinational corporations.  It is too early to tell if the industrial strategy is anticipating direct Brexit implications on IP.

The call for responses to the consultation on the industrial strategy closes April 17th
UK Industrial Strategy UK Industrial Strategy Reviewed by Nicola Searle on Sunday, March 26, 2017 Rating: 5


  1. Perhaps Scotland can have its own 'Lothian Lynx' to go with Merpel's Panther and Manx...but then again, is the Lynx too independently minded and solitary for the IP community to stomach?

  2. I can't help feeling that "Manx" has its own geographical meaning that we shouldn't attempt to hijack for the English Midlands. "Jaguar" and "Puma" are heavily trade-marked ... Midlands Ocelot, anyone?

  3. "She suggests instead the Northern Panther and Midlands Manx."

    Thereby hangs a tail (or not).

  4. When I read of a "powerhouse" up North or an "engine room" in the Black Country, I can't help thinking of the bridge, where all the officers are and where all the important decisions are made. In London. Of course. I feel somewhat patronised by such terminology but perhaps that's because I'm used to a Chancellor who has a PhD in physics, and captains of industry here in Germany who have higher degrees in engineering. To be frank, I am sceptical whether the Establishment in London has the faintest clue about manufacturing things. They might be whizzo in financial engineering but for me that's not relevant at all.

  5. I suggest the Midlands Margay and the Northern Kodkod. Both animals being obscure, in danger of extinction, and little known or discussed outside their countries of origin; all things that are the likely fate of the "Northern Powerhouse" and the "Midlands Engine".


All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.