Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates



£270m Technology Commitment from UK Government in Spring Budget

The UK Government recently announced in the latest Spring budget that £270 million was to be allocated to launch an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.  The fund is expected to support R&D in universities and businesses resulting in innovation in the following areas:

  • Artificial intelligence and robotics that can function in extreme environments (e.g. offshore energy, nuclear energy and space)
  • Batteries for new electric vehicles to improve air quality
  • Medicine manufacturing technologies to increase patient drug access

This announcement has been welcomed as a positive development by IP attorneys at UK firms.


Top 10 Most Innovative UK Cities Revealed

Cities Outlook 2017 is the latest edition of an annual report compiled by the Centre for Cities study group looking at number of patents filed in different cities across the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Cambridge and Oxford (famous for their world class universities) are in the top 3.  London was responsible for 18% of the 12,000 UK patent applications published in 2015 but ranked only 20th because of its large population.  The data alludes to a UK north-south divide as 7 out of 10 cities with the most published patent applications are in the south while north based Wigan and Birmingham were ranked as places with the lowest number of published patent applications.

The top 10 most innovative cities are listed below:

Rank City Patent Applications per 100,000 residents
1 Cambridge 341.1
2 Coventry 118.4
3 Oxford 79.9
4 Derby 67.7
5 Swindon 61.6
6 Aberdeen 57.3
7 Crawley 55.8
8 Aldershot 51.5
9 Slough 45.4
10 Reading 40.3

The full report can be read here:

Global Innovation Index Ranks India 43rd out of 45 Countries

‘The Roots of Innovation’ report compiled by the US Chambers of Commerce is an annual International IP Index.  In the latest edition of this report the highest counrty performers were noted as the US (32.6), the UK (32.4), Germany (31.9), Japan (31.3) and Sweden (31).  By comparison India ranked 43rd out of 45 countries with a score of just 8.4.  In recent years the report mentioned there had been a slight improvement in India’s performance but suggested that substantial legislative reforms were needed.

The full report, the Roots of Innovation, can be read here:


Disney Patents Software for Customized Theme Park Attraction Experiences – Scary or Tame Ride? – Your Data Will Decide!

Disney recently received a patent for software described as “Sensing and Managing Vehicle Behaviour Based on Occupant Awareness.”  The patent alludes to a system with the ability to combine facial recognition with established preferences (stored on a device containing guests’ data from rider profiles and questionnaires completed before visiting theme park attractions) and customize the experience of the attraction to the rider (for example using different ride paths for different audience profiles as shown above). The ride can become more exciting for guests seen to find the experience boring or more “tame” for guests susceptible to motion sickness.

It remains to be seen whether the technology within this patent will be used but it does sound an exciting prospect offering a customized experience to all users (e.g. children to thrill-seeking adults).


Global Patent Applications Reached 2.9 Million in 2015

There were more than 2.9 million patent applications worldwide in 2015, up 7.8% from 2014.

China’s patent office received 1,101,864 filings in 2015 which represented almost as many applications as the U.S. (589,410), Japan (318,721) and the Republic of Korea (213,694) combined.

China (+18.7%) had the fastest growth, followed by the EPO (+4.8%), the US (+1.8%) and the Republic of Korea (+1.6%).

Computer technology (7.9%) electrical machinery (7.3%) and digital communication (4.9%) represented the highest percentages of worldwide published patent applications.



The UK Ranks Third in the Global Innovation Index 2016

The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual index (first compiled in 2007) which ranks countries based on their innovative status.  The GII index is based on subjective and objective data from sources including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.  In the latest, 2016 rankings, the UK was ranked third behind Switzerland (1st) and Sweden (2nd) but above the USA (4th) and Germany (10th).


The Most and Least Inventive Cities in Europe

2011 data from the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that Europe is a hub of innovation.

The most innovative European cities include:

  • Eindhoven, the Netherlands: 250 patent applications per 100,000 people
  • Regensburg, Germany: 83.8 applications per 100,000 people.
  • Aachen, Germany
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • Grenoble, France: 80 applications per 100,000
  • Darmstadt, Germany
  • Zurich, Germany
  • Basel, Germany

The least inventive cities include:

  • Almería and Jerez de la Frontera, southern Spain
  • Taranto, Reggio di Calabria, and Palermo in southern Italy
  • Czestochowa in southern Poland.


Male Inventors found to be Three Times More Likely than Women to Apply for Patents

A report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) entitled “Equity in Innovation: Women Inventors and Patents” found between 2000 and 2016 the number of patent applications with a man listed as the primary inventor was more than triple the number of applications with a woman listed first.

Part of the reason for women’s small share of patents is their underrepresentation in patent-intensive STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields.

The report outlines several recommendations to make patenting more accessible to women:

  • developing systems and data tools to better track women’s patenting activity
  • networks for women inventors and entrepreneurs
  • making the patenting process more transparent
  • making more concerted efforts to get more girls and women into STEM education
  • encouraging a more equitable division of responsibility for family care and better access to affordable child care
  • paid family leave for both mothers and fathers.


Innovation Investment Levels in the US and China

It has been suggested that over the last decade US government policies and legal rulings have pushed US investment money overseas to China.  A huge portion of the US economy relies on intellectual property industries which support more than 45 million jobs and account for up to $6 trillion (which is equivalent to 38% of the US GDP).  Decreased patent incentives and changes in US patent law have resulted in companies being less likely to invest in biotech and software innovations in the US.

China on the other hand seems to be changing its reputation as an economy full of copycat innovations to a world-class leader in cutting-edge technology.  China’s R&D spending relative to its GDP has more than doubled in the last 15 years.


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