Three quarters of UK-based R&D professionals say their organisations are planning to invest more in innovation in the year ahead.

74 per cent of UK-based R&D professionals report that their organisations will be investing more in R&D activity in the year ahead despite challenging times, according to a survey compiled by intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers LLP.

Karl Barnfather, chairman at Withers & Rogers, which polled a total of 69 R&D professionals at a series of seminars hosted by the firm in the UK, said:

“The research shows that R&D activity levels remain strong despite current economic and geopolitical uncertainties and organisations understand the strategic value of their IP assets.”

Interestingly, more than half (52 per cent) of R&D professionals are actively planning to leverage existing IP rights to access new markets in the year ahead.

WR_Karl_Barnfather_22_RKP (002)Karl Barnfather commented: “The transfer of IP rights is definitely a trend; helping organisations to get the best possible commercial return on their investment in innovation. 81% of respondents told us they are currently involved in a cross-sector collaboration with a supply chain partner or other third party.

“While this is positive, it is important that organisations are taking the right precautions to ringfence their IP and create agreements that will ensure they have an interest in any new IP assets that might be jointly generated in the future.”

Almost all R&D professionals (93 per cent) believe that their organisations could be more innovative and some could be missing out by not focusing on ideas generation at all levels.

Karl Barnfather added: “Businesses that prioritise innovation understand the value it can bring by engaging workers and creating a forward-looking culture. R&D professionals clearly see some potential for improvement but it is up to management teams to drive change in this area.”

Most respondents (71 per cent) were unaware of recent developments which could impact on IP legislation in the future. In particular, the UK Government has indicated that it will ratify EU laws that will pave the way for the introduction of the unitary patent system. Once in place, the new system will bring benefits such as unitary patents spanning most European countries, an opportunity to deliver cost efficiencies and pan-European enforcement rights.

“The Government has signalled its commitment to proceed with the proposed unitary patent system, which could bring significant benefits for many UK-based organisations seeking to own or enforce pan-European patent rights in the future. We are advising businesses to seek advice now about the opportunities the new system could create."