Small businesses will be able to get government help to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights, a minister announced today.Science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks said that up to 40 small businesses would be eligible for an IP audit as part of a scheme by the Patent Office to allow the UK’s SMEs to "protect and maximise the value of their IP"."Every business uses aspects of intellectual property, the name it trades under, process it uses or the products or services it provides," explained Mr Wicks."The IP audit pilots will help up to 40 small firms in the manufacturing, service, high tech, creative and other sectors identify what intellectual property exists and offer advice to protect, use and maximise its value."The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the announcement, saying that currently many SMEs could not afford to consult an IP specialist, whose services can cost £300 per hour."Sixty per cent of commercial innovations come from small businesses. It is vital for the future of these firms, and the UK economy, that they protect their intellectual property and ensure that they receive their just rewards for innovative ideas," said FSB financial affairs chairman Mike Cherry.© Adfero Ltd

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