Looking overseas for areas for improvement









Part of the UK IPO’s efforts to be the best IP office in the world are reflected by its global outlook and activities. It works with overseas IP offices in a range of different ways to create a better IP environment for UK companies. With its desire for continuous improvement, the IPO’s global focus is a two-way process: feedback it has collected from customers indicates that some practices in other IP offices are worth considering as opportunities for improvements to the UK IP regime.

The IPO therefore commissioned us to explore the opportunities for emulating exemplar practice from other IP offices. The client requirements spanned patents, trade marks and designs and practices, policies and procedures.

COVID-19 lockdown at the start of the project meant that we had to rethink our approach. We discussed with the IPO the merits and limitations of changing methodology and settled on phone interviews (and subsequently some interviews via Teams).

We were interviewing partners, attorneys and other senior staff in leading IP law firms and relied on our experienced in-house Field Team to set up the interviews. We also carried out extensive desk research on the topics prior to fieldwork to ensure that we presented a credible face to the client’s customers and could effectively explore the areas of interest for the client.

A highly collaborative approach with the client ensured that the project ran smoothly despite the unusual circumstances and exceeded client expectations on the breadth and depth of findings. The results are being used to help the IPO better understand how it is benchmarked against overseas offices and to provide a starting point for overseas office engagement activities.

The client commented: “I’ve been really impressed with Beaufort’s approach to this work.  They invested valuable time in developing a deep understanding of our business.  They also displayed flexibility and pragmatism in adapting their approach to fieldwork in view of the pandemic.  Crucially this was not at the expense of quality and the rich findings in their final report have exceeded our expectations” (Arthur West, Head of Customer Insight).

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