Many economic and commercial commentators are predicting 2023 will see another marked increase in the importance and value of intellectual property (IP). With relatively calm waters expected after the events of recent years, the next 12-months is being forecast by many to become a period of renewed investment and innovation. Intellectual property is not only likely to become more important but more valuable as companies compete for market advantages. As UK-based commercial intellectual property experts, working with clients in key sectors including food, fashion, technology, healthcare and energy, we at ip21 thought we’d take a look at why IP may be even hotter property in 2023.
IP protection continues to rise
In 2021, the IP Indicators Report by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, reported that since 2020 patent applications had risen 1.6%, whilst trademark applications increased at an almost unprecedented 13.7%. The figures for 2022 and 2023 are expected to show a continuation of this trend.
So, why is IP protection rising? In part, it is likely down to the increasing levels of global competition. This makes it not only more important to protect commercially-critical IP but to create it in the first place. Strong brands identities, unique designs and patented technology and processes are just some of the ways companies large and small are seeking to gain an advantage.
As a result, more money is likely being directed to research and development, with innovative products and services being investigated and created. More IP protection makes good sense, as any organisation’s commercial advantage can soon be eroded if competitors copy, adopt or infringe on their hard work!
More IP assets will become digital
Once the preserve of software developers and technology companies, digital assets have now become the bread and butter of everyday businesses. With more commerce conducted online - and IT controlling even the most fundamental of business processes – protecting and exploiting digital IP is an area of significant growth. Once the subject of science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming a part of many business strategies - applied to everything from customer service to product development.
To some extent, patent law around the world is still playing catch-up when it comes to AI but most regimes in Europe, North America and Asia are reviewing their treatment of technology like AI, Blockchain, The Internet of Things and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and patenting technology in this space is becoming more achievable.
The EU’s Unified Patent Court
The Unified Patent Court is currently in development in the EU and will be functional later this year. It will provide the 27 member states with a single court for the approving and checking of patents. Its existence may also lead to a review or reform of associated intellectual property law and legislation, which could have a knock-on effect to individual EU states’ own regulations. News of the court is being widely welcomed as it seeks to make Europe-wide IP protection and enforcement even easier. Our full briefing note is available here.
IP valuations are rising
Though difficult to quantify - due to the opaque nature of many corporate accounts - the anecdotal evidence amongst market analysts is the value of IP is rising and will continue to do so in 2023. Due to its importance in creating competitive advantage in many increasingly global sectors, IP assets are seen as more vital than ever to many businesses and brands success. Many businesses are increasingly looking to grow – or at least better define – their IP portfolio, particularly patents, copyright and registered designs. More information on IP Valuation can be found here.
Equally, organisations are going to ever greater lengths to protect and enforce their IP rights. Asia in particular - with its historically less robust attitude to IP or counterfeiting – may still represent the greatest threat to many UK, US and European IP asset holders. However, the maturing Chinese and Indian economies are increasingly seeing the value of their own IP in their global success and seeking to follow their western counterparts in defining and protecting its value.
Is 2023 the year of IP?
Though headwinds still exist, many businesses in both the UK and global economy will be looking the next year as a time to invest in their future. The volume and value of IP looks set to continue to grow as savvy and innovative companies make intellectual property an even greater advantage on both their P&L and balance sheet.
How can ip21 help?
If you’re looking to define, protect, value, exploit or defend your IP, we’d like to help. Here at ip21, we’re one of the UK’s most respected IP law experts. We have offices in locations across East Anglia and London and have represented over 3,500 clients in the UK, Europe, North America and many other countries. We have protected, defended and challenged intellectual property for some of the world’s biggest brand owners and product developers. We can help businesses to protect innovations, trademarks and copyrights, as well as advising, mediating and litigating on the protection, defence and sale of intellectual property.
Learn more about our approach by clicking here, or the experience of our team of experts here.