580. The United Kingdom would like to thank Switzerland for preparing this paper on 'Making MSMEs Competitive in Green Tech'. We are pleased to co-sponsor it and to have the opportunity to respond to some of the issues it raises.
581. Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) play a pivotal role in the UK efforts towards more sustainability. They constitute the core engines of innovation and growth and provide for 70% of employment.
582. The United Kingdom is not alone in this; across the globe, MSMES represent 95% of businesses and, as is clear from this paper, their significance to the economy is increasingly recognized. In times of uncertainty, it is even more important that we look at ways to bolster the capacity of MSMEs to support green economic recovery.
583. The UK considers that an intellectual property framework which enables these highly skilled enterprises to protect their creativity and innovation is crucial to maintaining their competitive edge and to supporting and nurturing their continued growth.
584. Therefore, the UK Government is committed to working to increase MSMEs' understanding of the instrumental role effective IP management can play in development of their businesses. We want them to recognize and understand all their assets and to be able to access the relevant IP information, guidance and support at the appropriate time in order to maximise their value and potentially make tangible difference.
585. To that end the UK Intellectual Property Office has in the last six months supported 26 highgrowth businesses in the Green Tech space by funding comprehensive Audits with IP Professionals. The audits have provided these businesses with in-depth analysis of their IP, including opportunities for increasing revenue as well as any potential risks, together with recommendations for maximising the value of the IP.
586. In 2009, the UK Intellectual Property Office introduced the "Green Channel", to fast-track patent applications covering green technology, making it possible to grant such a patent in under a year. Since its inception the Green Channel has received over 3000 requests.
587. Intellectual property rights are about encouraging innovation and creativity to enable all to benefit. Innovative green solutions will be pivotal to address challenges like climate change, and IP rights will play a major role. For example, they can secure investments in research and development, and enable the technology to be effectively commercialised, ensuring it can have real world impact. It is crucial to recognize the influence and possibilities that "Green IP" can bring to bear on building back better, building a sustainable future.
588. Integral to adopting a change towards a more sustainable lifestyle based on green technologies, as part of the development of new global environmental policies, will be balanced and effective protections of IP rights.
589. To develop clean technology solutions, organisations must explore how they can use IP assets and associated rights more collaboratively. Promoting green growth of MSMEs is important in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth. The UK, again, thanks Switzerland for presenting this paper as an excellent catalyst for discussion.