UK – Intellectual Property Office

Jane Lambert
27 May 2010

The Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) is the operating name of the Patent Office. It changed its new name on 2 April 2007 in response to the 57th recommendation of Andrew Gowers’s Review of Intellectual Property.

The IPO is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. As of 26 May 2020 the Minister responsible for the IPO was Baroness Wilcox.

The IPO is responsible for registering patents, trade marks and registered designs  for the UK and helping to develop and implement government policy on intellectual property.   It is headed by a Chief Executive referred to as the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks in the Patents Act 1977 and as the Registrar in the Trade Marks Act 1994 and the Registered Designs Act 1949. The Chief-Executive manages the IPO but also resolves disputes between examiners and other officials and applicants for or proprietors of intellectual property rights and between applicants or proprietors and third parties thereby exercising both administrative and judicial functions. The Chief-Executive usually delegates his or her judicial functions to officials known as hearing officers.

The IPO’s head office is in Newport but it as a branch in Bloomsbury in central London.