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Reviewed 21 September 2011

Government calls on UK designers to help identify growth potential

The Government today launched a call for evidence on how the UK intellectual property system can better support our globally successful design industry.

At an event hosted by the Design Council, Baroness Wilcox urged the UK's design community to gather information and data on what makes our design industry tick and what Government can do to support innovation and growth.

The lack of evidence available on this innovative sector was highlighted by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his review of Intellectual Property and Growth. In its response, the Government committed to gaining a better understanding of whether the design rights system in the UK is geared to the needs of business.

Design is important to the UK economy, with an estimated £33 billion invested in design and architectural services in 2008. But there are questions about whether the design industry is properly supported by the Intellectual Property system.

To help answer these questions, and properly target and inform policy change, the Government has today issued a 'call for evidence' PDF document(1.32Mb) in relation to the design sector and launched a supporting online questionnaire/survey External Link aimed at business.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said:

"UK design has an excellent reputation. From fashion to aerospace and from graphic design to technology, the UK design industry is held in high regard across the world. However, we must maintain that excellence and the Government is committed to doing more to support the design industry. I urge the business community to participate in this call for evidence and help shape the future of design in the UK."

At the same event, Baroness Wilcox announced the publication of the first phase of research into the use of design rights in the UK. The research shows that the most intensive spenders on design in the UK are business services, manufacturing and construction sectors. Relative to other countries in Europe the UK spends significantly on design related products and services; but there is very low awareness of design rights. The research also found that registered design rights are used mainly in specific business sectors, such as furniture and clothing.

These reports are available via our IP Research area.

Notes to editors

  • The full Government response PDF document(402Kb) to the Hargreaves Review, along with the IP International Approach PDF document(672Kb) and IP Crime Strategy PDF document(435Kb) are available on this website.
  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  • Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  • It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  • The Design Council CABE places good design at the heart of social and economic renewal. As a centre of new thinking and insight into the role of design in innovation, it is one of the world’s leading design organisations. For more than 60 years, it has sought to provide evidence and demonstrate how design can help build a stronger economy and improve everyday life through practical projects with industry, public services and education.
  • The Design Council CABE is a charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, that promotes design and architecture for the public good. For more information please visit the Design Council website External Link.
  • ‘Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth’ is available on the review website.
  • A full copy of the Government response to the Hargreaves Review is also available on the BIS website External Link.
  • For further information, please contact Dan Palmer on 0207 215 5303 or e-mail
Date of release: 21 September 2011