How Intellectual Property Remains at the Heart of National Competitive Advantage
15 Jan, 2013
Research revealed today suggests that the UK is losing momentum in the race to capitalise on the potential of Graphene. Despite being home to Graphene – the substance was discovered at Manchester University in 2004 – the findings show that we are lagging behind other countries in reaping the commercial benefits of this super-material. As Graphene becomes globally renowned for its unique properties, this highlights the issue of the UK, supporting with public funds, academic research which is then leveraged outside the UK.
Through its ongoing research programme, Futurescope, Coutts has explored the opportunities that Graphene presents and the role that patents must play in the UK staking our claim in the landscape of innovation.
Other countries, such as South Korea, are increasingly focussing on Graphene research and development. As such, they have already seen heavy investment which has enhanced their position as a forerunner in commercialisation of Graphene and resulted in universities, research institutes and multinational companies, such as Samsung, holding numerous Graphene product patents.
Commenting on the potential of Graphene and the role of intellectual property, Andrew Haigh, Executive Director, Head of Client Propositions said:
“Coutts has been informing clients of the potential of super-material Graphene for some time. Global interest in this super-material is ongoing, but at the heart of the debate is the issue as to whether the UK is able to commercialise publically funded research through patent development or whether this should be made available internationally unpatented. When the substance was discovered nearly a decade ago, the door to this research was wide-open to other nations that had the corporate backing to maximise this untapped opportunity through development of their own patents. The extensive development of graphene has shown how the fire power of global corporations can be leveraged in order to accelerate commercialisation. However, as evidenced by the figures denoting the international spread of patent publications, this may have been to the detriment of the UK plc.
“The opportunity for Britain to unlock the potential of Graphene may still remain. Time is now of the essence for UK academic institutions involved in this research and development. They must use the Chancellor’s recent cash injection to strengthen substantially commercial alliances. As home to Graphene, we should see this as an opportunity to take ownership and use these prospective alliances to start leading commercial uses for the product here, which would surely bolster our economy in the decades to come.”
The Futurescope series commissions research, and documents innovation and structural changes that will shape the next decade. Full copies of research available on request.