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Hargeaves review of Intellectual Property published

Digital Opportunity: A review of Intellectual Property and Growth

An independent report by Ian Hargreaves

Following on from the Gowers Review, in November 2010 the government announced another independent review of how the current Intellectual Property framework and how it ‘supports growth and innovation’.In the introduction, Professor Hargreaves states:

  • We have found that the UK’s intellectual property framework, especially with regard to copyright, is falling behind what is needed. Copyright, once the exclusive concern of authors and their publishers, is today preventing medical researchers studying data and text in pursuit of new treatments.

  • Copying has become basic to numerous industrial processes, as well as to a burgeoning service economy based upon the internet. The UK cannot afford to let a legal framework designed around artists impede vigorous participation in these emerging business sectors.

Chaired by Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University, and assisted by a panel of experts and staff from the IPO, the review reported to Government in May 2011. The Review makes 10 recommendations designed to ensure that the UK has an IP framework best suited to supporting innovation and promoting economic growth in the digital age.


Digital Opportunity: A review of Intellectual Property and Growth

The report looks at issues of licensing, providing support for smaller firms,what to do about ‘orphan works’ as well as the need to work towards a more stable international sphere. The main recommendations seek to put in place:

  • an efficient digital copyright licensing system, where nothing is unusable because the rights owner cannot be found;
  • an approach to exceptions in copyright which encourages successful new digital technology businesses both within and beyond the creative industries;
  • a patent system capable of preventing heavy demand for patents causing serious barriers to market entry in critical technologies;
  • reliable and affordable advice for smaller companies, to enable them to thrive in the IP intensive parts of the UK economy;
  • refreshed institutional governance of the UK’s IP system which enables it to adapt organically to change in technology and markets.

To download the report as a PDF (1.1 mb) click here

To read more about the report, and various documents that were submitted to the research team, visit:

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