Intellectual Property plays critical role in economic growth | FAST

Intellectual Property plays critical role in economic growth

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Parliamentary event with Minister for Intellectual Property held as Government unveils its response to consultation process on IP within the Creative Industries

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) held a reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, with the Minister for Intellectual Property as guest speaker.

This is the latest example of the organisation working with the highest levels of government to promote the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) within the UK economy and examine how small business growth can be encouraged within the global marketplace.

Lord Younger, Minister for IP, and Mike Weatherley MP, adviser to the Prime Minister for IP, were joined by leaders of the software industry and parliamentarians, to underline the importance of IP to the UK economy and to reiterate the need for industry cooperation and market education.

In his keynote address, Lord Younger said: “A key priority for the Government is the effective enforcement of IP rights. And coupled with the challenge of IP Crime, is the somewhat crowded IP enforcement landscape; this includes government enforcement agencies such as Trading Standards, the Police and Border Agency and the private sector, and of course not forgetting the role of the legal profession.

“As a result, it is crucial that all stakeholders work together. The IPO plays the lead role in developing our IP crime strategy by linking government agencies and industry bodies, such as FAST. I’m delighted that the UK Government is doing more than ever before across the whole range of issues that affect IP rights, ensuring IP crime is tackled, IP rights are enforceable, and disputes are managed and resolved more efficiently,” he continued.

Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST said: “This event signified the growing partnership between software companies, industry bodies and Government at a time when government itself is placing strong IP regulation at the centre of plans to revive the UK economy. The Government has responded to the Review of IP within the Creative Industries and we are urging them to consider the software industry – which is a major source of wealth generation and exports for British business.

“The IT, software and computer services sector accounted for the employment of 791,000 people in the creative economy in 2012, which is 31% of the total UK Creative Economy employment, having increased from 11.6% in 2011. IP sits at the heart of this industry, so it’s encouraging that the Government is committed developing and enforcing legislation that will help to protect and support the creators of content,” he continued.

Host of the event, Mike Weatherley MP, emphasising the importance of education in protecting IP, said: “Education is key. ‘Education’ must be one of the main priorities and this means educating public at large; stealing digital intellectual property is the same as stealing physical property. Our country’s economic growth depends on IP.  This should be underpinned by fair and reasonable IP law where legislation and enforcement meet to foster growth, protect and deter”.

“IP regulation is going through some significant change in the UK and it is important that FAST and its members influence the highest levels of government,” Hilton concluded.