R&D spend to rise

A survey by intellectual property firm Withers & Rogers suggests that a third of UK businesses are preparing to increase spend on research and development in the year ahead.

One in three UK businesses are preparing to increase spend on research and development in the year ahead – a sign that business confidence is returning, according to a new survey by intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers.

The survey reveals that 31 per cent of businesses are planning to spend more on R&D in the coming year and 84 per cent are expecting to spend the same or more.

Similarly, 35 per cent of businesses say that they are planning to do more to protect their intellectual property in the next 12 months.

Withers & Rogers’ Karl Barnfather said: ‘The fact that businesses are prepared to spend the same or more on R&D in the current climate is positive, indicating an underlying confidence about their trading position.

‘However, the survey also reveals that some businesses are failing to optimise the commercial value of their knowledge, by cutting corners and potentially missing out on opportunities.’

Despite the opportunity to take market share, only 42 per cent are potentially capitalising on knowledge transfer opportunities by adapting their inventions for other markets.

Furthermore, only one third of businesses said they were more likely to sue patent infringers and 52 per cent admitted they do not have a clear strategy in place for dealing with such infringements.

Barnfather added: ‘The apparent willingness to continue investing in R&D is not necessarily surprising given that many believe those organisations who are prepared to do so are more likely to retain or even grow their market share despite the difficult market conditions.

‘Ultimately, patents prohibit competitors from replicating products and thus create commercial advantage for their owners.’

The survey was completed by delegates at three events on invention management and a further three events on wider intellectual property education. The events took place in London, Bristol and Leamington Spa. According to Withers and Rogers, the sample included more than 70 senior level managers responsible for R&D activities.