Potential legislative changes for IPO digital transformation

Closed 6 Jan 2023

Opened 3 Nov 2022


The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the government agency responsible for developing Intellectual Property (IP) policy and legislation. The IPO also administers systems for issuing patents, trade marks and registered designs.

The government’s ambition is for the IPO to be the best IP office in the world. However, the systems and processes it works with are outdated and holding it back. If somebody wishes to apply for a patent or trade mark, they need to use completely different services. For example, changing an address requires customers to tell the IPO multiple times on different forms for each patent, trade mark or design they have registered. This isn’t efficient or straightforward for customers.

Over the next few years, the One IPO Transformation programme will completely transform the services the IPO provides.

The IPO doesn’t want to replicate its current services but redesign them around customer needs. Instead of building services around the separate IP rights, the programme will create a single, integrated system for all registered IP rights – a one-stop shop focused around the key tasks the IPO’s customers want to perform.

Many of the laws that govern how the IPO operates were written when IP rights were processed on paper. Current services recreate that paper-based approach in electronic form. For true digital transformation of IPO services, the legislation needs updating to remove legal barriers and address inconsistencies between different IP rights. Removing barriers that prevent the IPO from being innovative will allow it to provide modern digital services fit for the 21st century.

This consultation is the first to address potential legal changes needed for the IPO’s Transformation programme. As the programme develops, there may be additional changes to legislation which government may consult on in the future.

There are two parts to this consultation.

Part A focuses on proposed changes to the law to enable digital transformation of our services. We seek evidence and views on a range of options on how our legislation could be altered to better support innovation.

Part B focuses on proposed changes to the IPO’s Tribunal function to improve the service provided and align processes that should work in a similar way across rights. These are more specific changes on particular issues.

You may respond to questions in either or both parts. We welcome responses from rights holders, legal professionals, small and large businesses, individuals, and those with a general interest in how the IPO conducts its business.

You can respond using this online survey, or by sending your comments to transformationconsultation@ipo.gov.uk.

More Information

We will summarise all responses and publish this summary on GOV.UK. The summary will include a list of names or organisations that responded, but not people’s personal names, addresses or other contact details. We will process your personal data in accordance with all applicable data protection laws. Please see our privacy statement and privacy notice for consultations for more information.

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please tell us, but be aware that we cannot guarantee confidentiality in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded by us as a confidentiality request.

In particular, information you provide in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be disclosed in accordance with UK legislation (the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 2018).

What happens next

The consultation has now closed. The government thanks everyone who has provided a response. We will consider all of the responses and publish a summary on GOV.UK, along with the government's response, in due course.