​World Intellectual Property Day – April 26, 2021

World Intellectual Property Day 2021 shines a light on the critical role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy and how they can use intellectual property (IP) rights to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses. You can read more about this year’s theme here.


Why celebrate World IP Day?

World IP Day is an opportunity to highlight the role that IP rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity. A balanced IP system recognises and rewards inventors and creators for their work and ensures that society benefits from their creativity and ingenuity.

An environment in which innovation and creativity thrive and which is diverse and inclusive, improves our chances of addressing the major challenges facing humanity, driving human progress, and making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable.


The impact of Covid-19 on SMEs

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all types of businesses, and it’s clear that small businesses have been hit harder than most. According to a recent Simply Business UK report, research has shown Covid-19 could cost small businesses up to £69 billion in total. An estimated 234,000 SMEs have already permanently ceased trading as a result of the pandemic, with an estimated 1 in 5 saying their business wouldn’t survive another UK lockdown. If the UK is to recover, we need small businesses to bounce back.

SMEs account for 99 per cent of all UK businesses, and contribute a combined £2 trillion annually.

Intellectual Property: the lifeblood of SMEs

An article published by Barker Brettell LLP in September 2020, highlighted the importance of why IP should be at the core of an SME’s strategy, and how IP can work harder for businesses that fall into this category.

Senior Partner John Lawrence states, “Statistically, SMEs who have filed at least one patent, trade mark or design right demonstrates 21 per cent more growth than those businesses that do not, and 10 per cent of those are more likely to become a High Growth Firm (HGF)”

During the first few months of the pandemic, many SMEs sought to consolidate their IP strategy and use the time effectively to conduct IP audits and IP health-checks on their respective patent and trade mark portfolios.


Coronavirus impact on working for IP firms

Private practices, law firms, and in-house teams have all had to make significant adjustments to the way they operated 12 months ago. Many firms continue to support employees working from home, ensuring that Attorneys and key support staff have the necessary support infrastructure in place to continue their work habits with minimal disruption.

Many firms already had IT systems in place to enable Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys to work effectively from home, but as the easing of lockdown hopefully continues over the coming months, it’ll be interesting to see how many firms encourage employees to return to offices in some capacity – most likely on a 2 or 3 days a week policy.

In-house IP departments, in particular, have missed liaising directly with Research and Development teams, and while Zoom calls have worked as an interim measure, nothing really replaces face-to-face meetings and employees being physically ‘on-site’ to collaborate with one another.


IP and Aspire

Having recruited for the IP profession for over 20 years, the past 12 months have certainly presented challenges along the way. Despite this, we have been able to provide continued support for our own clients with their recruitment needs.

In 2020, we produced Virtual Onboarding and Virtual Interview guides to support the way that companies interviewed, recruited, and started new employees.

The majority of our IP clients have adapted and pivoted their recruitment practices in an agile manner, so as to minimise disruption and ensure the ‘candidate experience’ remains a positive one.

Online interviews are now commonplace, and in many ways, these have been accepted positively by candidates as they are interviewing in the comfort of their own homes. In many cases, recruitment timescales have actually shortened, as decision-maker availability has become less of an issue.

2021 vacancies and recruitment

The first quarter of 2021 has experienced a significant upturn in the number of IP vacancies in the UK, and we continue to work with a broad spectrum of firms to assist with their requirements at all levels of qualification.

Biotechnology vacancies have experienced an upturn in demand, and the demand for Electronics, Software and AI specialism are increasing again too – a trend reflected in the most recent offers extended and accepted by candidates.

Talent acquisition has conversely become more challenging, and the way firms are attracting new talent has meant more exclusivity and retained search projects to successfully hire the right candidates efficiently, and within budget.

Aspire has also signed up to IP Inclusive the industry-recognised network of professionals committed to making the IP community more equal, diverse and inclusive while encouraging employers to hire diverse talent with the goal to promote fair opportunities for all.

Whether you’re a candidate looking for a new role, or a company wishing to hire, please feel free to get in contact confidentially to discuss your requirements.

View IP jobs

Email James Dawes, Executive Consultant (Intellectual Property)

0208 158 0754