Intellectual Property Office (United Kingdom)

Intellectual Property Office (United Kingdom)

The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (often The IPO) is, since 2 April 2007, the operating name of The Patent Office.[1] It is the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK and is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).[2] Some work on copyright policy is shared with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport[citation needed] and plant breeders' rights are administered by the Plant Variety Rights Office, an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[citation needed]



The IPO also has direct administrative responsibility for examining and issuing or rejecting patents, and maintaining registers of intellectual property including patents, designs and trade marks in the UK. As in most countries, there is no statutory register of copyright such that there is no direct administration required in copyright matters by the IPO.

The Intellectual Property Office is led by the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also registrar of trade marks,[3] registrar of designs[4] and Chief Executive of the Office. Since 15 February 2010 the Comptroller has been John Alty,[5] following the resignation of Ian Fletcher, who took over after the retirement of Ron Marchant on 30 March 2007.[6] The previous comptroller was Alison Brimelow who was afterwards, between July 2007 and June 2010, President of the European Patent Office.

Substantive duties

The existence of the Patent Office and the post of Comptroller are required by the Patents and Designs Act 1907 (though most of the remainder of this Act has been repealed), but the substantive duties of the Office are set out in other legislation, including:

All of the above legislation has been amended extensively since it was first passed.


Since 1991, the IPO has had its headquarters in Newport, South Wales, but a small branch office in London has been maintained for the benefit of the large professional community based there and for communication with central government.

On 1 October 2008, the position of the Company Names Adjudicator was introduced under the Companies Act 2006. The Company Names Adjudicator's powers are enforced through the Company Names Tribunal which forms part of the Intellectual Property Office.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ The change was recommended in the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, see Governance: Recommendation 53, Intellectual Property Office web site. Consulted on 25 April 2008
  2. ^ About us > Our mission, Intellectual Property Office web site. Consulted on 4 June 2009
  3. ^ Section 62 of the Trade Marks Act 1994
  4. ^ Section 44(1) of the Registered Designs Act 1949
  5. ^ John Alty, Chief Executive and Comptroller General, Intellectual Property Office web site. Consulted on October 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Patent Office press release, 20 March 2007

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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