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The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (often referred to as the UK IPO) is, since 2 April 2007, the operating name of The Patent Office. It is the official government body responsible for
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
rights in the UK and is an executive agency of the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a United Kingdom government department, department of the government of the United Kingdom. The department was formed during a machinery of government change on 14 July 201 ...
(BEIS).


Responsibilities

The IPO has direct administrative responsibility for examining and issuing or rejecting patents, and maintaining registers of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
including
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s,
designs A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype A prototype is an early sample, mode ...

designs
and
trade mark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-markThe styling of ''trademark'' as a single word is predominantly used in the United States and Philippines only, while the two-word styling ''trade mark'' is used in many other countries around ...
s in the UK. As in most countries, there is no statutory register of
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
and the IPO does not conduct any direct administration in copyright matters. The IPO is led by the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Trade Marks, Registrar of Designs and Chief Executive of the IPO. Since 1 May 2017, the Comptroller has been Tim Moss, following the resignation of John Alty who had been Comptroller General since 2010. The Comptroller General before Alty was Ian Fletcher, who had taken over after the retirement of
Ron MarchantRon Marchant Order of the Bath, CB was chief executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office, UK Patent Office, now known as the UK Intellectual Property Office, until 30 March 2007, when he retired. Patent Office press release
, 20 March 2007
The previous Comptroller General was
Alison Brimelow Alison Jane Brimelow CBE (born 1949European Patent Office web site''Alison Brimelow's CV'' Consulted on 2 July 2007. ) is a British civil servant and former chief executive and Comptroller, Comptroller General of the UK Patent Office, now known as ...
(who was afterwards
President of the European Patent Office The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), the other being the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the o ...
).


Substantive duties

The existence of the Patent Office and the post of Comptroller General 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 IPO are set out in other legislation, including: * The
Registered Designs Act 1949 The Registered Designs, Act, 1949 (12, 13 and 14 Geo. 6 c. 88) is an act in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and ...
* The Patents Act 1977 * The
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988c 48, also known as the CDPA, is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that received Royal Assent on 15 November 1988. It reformulates almost completely the statutory basis ...
* The
Trade Marks Act 1994 The Trade Marks Act 1994 is the law governing trade marks within the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. It implements EU Directive No. 89/104/EEC (The Trade Marks Directive) which forms the framework for the trade mark laws of all EU member states ...
Each of these Acts of Parliament has been extensively amended since it was first passed.


History

The forerunner of the Patent Office, the Office of the Commissioners for Patents, was established by the Patent Law Amendment Act 1852 and opened on 1 October that year. While this is claimed as the date the modern Intellectual Property Office was created it was in fact created later, along with the office of the comptroller under the Patents, Designs and Trade Marks Act 1883 (s 82). There had been a Patent Bill Office, under the control of the
Attorney General #REDIRECT Attorney general In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinio ...
, which was part of the old patent system. It had been located in
Lincoln's Inn The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices ...

Lincoln's Inn
. Significantly, the process of applying for a patent was extremely complicated and largely set up to ensure fees were paid to various officials (patent fees formed a significant part of the stipend of the Attorney and
Solicitor General A solicitor general or solicitor-general, in common law countries, is usually a legal officer who is the chief representative of a regional or national government in courtroom proceedings. In systems that have an Attorney general, attorney-general ...
). The Patent Law Amendment Act 1852 brought the process of patent grant into a single office serving the whole of the United Kingdom (where previously a petitioner had had to apply and pay fees to several offices, and to obtain separate patents for each of the UK's constituent nations). Initially, people applying for a patent often used to submit a detailed model of their submission; these were retained and the collection became known as the Patent Museum (opened to the public in 1863 in
South Kensington South Kensington is a district just west of Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United King ...

South Kensington
, it went on to become a core collection of the new
Science Museum A science museum is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (artwork), collection of artifacts and other ...
there).


Location

From its early days, the Patent Office was based in the
Chancery Lane Chancery Lane is a one-way street One-way traffic (or uni-directional traffic) is traffic that moves in a single direction. A one-way street is a street either facilitating only one-way traffic, or designed to direct vehicles to move in o ...
area of London, where it eventually spread to fill the area between Furnival Street and Southampton Buildings. The principal entrance was at 25 Southampton Buildings, where a purpose-built headquarters was constructed in 1899–1902 (architect: Sir John Taylor). The principal interior space was the Library, a "harsh but spectacular space 140ft long, lit from skylights and a
clerestory In architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architec ...
, with two tiers of steel-framed, fireproofed galleries on cast iron
Corinthian columns The Corinthian order ( Greek Κορινθιακός ρυθμός, Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
". Designed to allow members of the public to consult patent records, it also contained a very extensive collection of technical and scientific publications, which in 1967 was transferred to the
British Library The British Library is the national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow book ...

British Library
. In 1991, having outgrown its original premises, the Patent Office moved to
Newport Newport most commonly refers to: *Newport, Wales, UK *Newport, Rhode Island, US Newport or New Port may also refer to: Places Asia *Newport City, Metro Manila, a Philippine district in Pasay Europe Ireland *Newport, County Mayo, a town on ...
,
South East Wales South East Wales is a regions of Wales, loosely defined region of Wales generally corresponding to the former counties of South Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan and Gwent (county), Gwent. Highly urbanised, it includes Cardiff and Newport, Wales, Newp ...

South East Wales
, where the IPO headquarters remains to this day. 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.


See also

*
Copyright law of the United Kingdom Under the law of United Kingdom, a copyright is an intangible property right subsisting in certain qualifying subject-matter. Copyright law is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the 1988 Act), as amended from time to time. A ...
*
Departments of the United Kingdom Government The Government of the United Kingdom is divided up into departments. These, according to the government, are responsible for putting government policy into practice. There are currently 23 ministerial departments, 20 non-ministerial departments ...
*
Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) is the United Kingdom, British professional body of patent attorneys. History The Institute was founded in 1882 as the ''Chartered Institute of Patent Agents'' and incorporated by Royal Charter ...
(CIPA) *
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys An institute is an organisation An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engla ...
(ITMA) *
Intellectual Property Regulation BoardThe Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) is a body regulating the patent attorney and trademark attorney professions in the United Kingdom (UK). It was set up by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and the Institute of Trade ...
(IPReg) *
IP Federation The IP Federation (formerly the "Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Federation" or TMPDF) is a United Kingdom Industry (economics), industry intellectual property trade association. It was founded in 1920 as an industry organization that provides inp ...
(formerly the "Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Federation" or TMPDF) *
Patents County Court In the legal system of Courts of England and Wales, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC; previously the Patents County Court or PCC) in London is an alternative venue to the High Court of England and Wales, High Court for bringing leg ...
(PCC) *
Patent office A patent office is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magaz ...
*
Software patents under United Kingdom patent law Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...
*
Company Names Tribunal The Company Names Tribunal was created on 1 October 2008 in the United Kingdom and is a direct result of the coming into force of Section 69 of the Companies Act 2006. The Company Names Tribunal is administered by the UK Intellectual Property Offic ...
*
Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a unit of the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud. It was established in 2013 with the responsibility to investigate and deter serious and organised intellectual property c ...
(PIPCU) – Funded by the Intellectual Property Office


References


External links

*
UK Patents Act 1977 and Rules
{{authority control Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Executive agencies of the United Kingdom government Trading funds of the United Kingdom government Intellectual Property Office, UK Patent offices Science and technology in the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office, UK Intellectual Property Office, UK Intellectual property organizations Government-owned companies of the United Kingdom