The Group says emphasis on creating new IP (and economic growth) has been neglected in favour of a focus on how existing stocks of IP are accessed. The report also calls for a champion for IP in government, and for all departments to recognise the impact of their policies on IP sectors – much as they’re obliged to do now for “sustainability” when it comes to environmental regulation.
Several recommendations are specifically designed to keep the Intellectual Property Office in check. The IPO has been heavily criticised in recent years for being overly sympathetic to companies which operate by using other people’s intellectual property to make money – for instance Google, which clips content from other providers and places adverts alongside it.
Since 2008, under a rapid succession of weak ministers, the IPO has become a hotbed of radical anti-IP activism. Some of the proposals (PDF) floated by civil servants including Ed Quilty, nominally the “director of copyright enforcement”, would take the UK out of the international copyright system entirely, inviting economic retaliation from UK trade partners. The All Party Group strongly rejected the popular academic view, apparently endorsed by the IPO, that copyright is merely a regulation, rather than a property right.
“If the Intellectual Property Office isn’t trying to protect IP and it’s called the IPO – I wonder who is,” said Lord Timothy Clement-Jones.