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Intellectual property

10 November 2010

Professor Ian HargreavesProfessor Ian Hargreaves

An independent review into how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation is to be led by the University’s Chair of Digital Economy.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox revealed Professor Ian Hargreaves - who took up the Chair in October - would lead the review which was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Spanning the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cardiff Business School, the Chair brings together a programme of work ranging from the future of digital media to the role being played by digital communications in re-shaping public services. Intellectual property law and commercial practice are fundamental issues for this area of academic work.

The six-month review aims to identify barriers to growth within the intellectual property (IP) framework, which consists of the rules and regulations covering how IP is created, used and protected in this country.

It will particularly focus on how the IP system can be improved to help the new business models arising from the digital age.

Baroness Wilcox said: ""Professor Hargreaves is a distinguished academic, journalist and public servant. I am delighted someone of his calibre will lead this important piece of work."

"The internet has fundamentally changed the business landscape. Some sectors, such as the creative industries, have been transformed by the internet. The intellectual property framework must keep pace.

"An IP system created in the era of paper and pen may not fit the age of broadband and satellites. We must ensure it meets the needs of the digital age. The future of the economy lies in the highly skilled, technology sectors. For many of those companies their intellectual property is their most valuable asset. We must ensure the intellectual property system helps not hinders those companies.

"This review will look at what changes can be made to our intellectual property system to ensure it helps firms grow."

Speaking about the announcement, Professor Hargreaves said: "I am honoured to be asked to lead this important review. Intellectual property is the DNA of the knowledge economy upon which the prosperity of Wales and the UK depends. It is essential that the UK and intellectual legal regime keeps pace with business needs, whilst protecting legitimate ownership interests."

Professor Hargreaves has held senior positions at the BBC, Financial Times, The Independent, and New Statesman. He has been Professor of Journalism at Cardiff for over a decade.

He was a founding non-executive board member of the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and an executive board member, and Director of Strategic Communications at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In 2009 he was seconded part-time to conduct a review of Creative Industries in Wales for the Welsh Assembly Government.

The review is expected to report in April next year and will look at:

  • Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
  • The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
  • The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
  • The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.

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