Executive chair of Scottish Health Innovations Limited, Graham Watson discusses the importance of protecting intellectual property to unlock innovation within the NHS and shape future healthcare.
World Intellectual Property (WIP) Day’s vision this year of a better future driven by innovators of any age is a vital one.
The annual day celebrates the role which intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity, while empowering entrepreneurs by protecting their ideas.
At SHIL, this ethos is key to how we work in partnership with NHS Scotland to identify, protect, develop and commercialise healthcare innovations that improve patient care.
Protecting IP is crucial to ideas originating from NHS Scotland, as it secures the interests of both the health professional/inventor, and the health board.
IP protection is such a crucial part of not only our work at SHIL, having protected the intellectual property, trademark, copyright and design rights of over 250 NHS inventions since inception, but of Scotland as a whole.
The nation has seen an upturn in registered design applications, patents granted, and trademarks filed according to recent UK Intellectual Property Office statistics.
These figures underline the importance that IP has not only for Scottish Business but the Scottish economy as well.
However, without ownership over the IP of what has been created or invented, anyone, regardless of permission, can use and adapt that idea without adequately compensating the inventor(s).
Therefore, at SHIL we must give creative minds at all levels of the NHS the correct IP tools to thrive and adapt their ideas.
Effective IP is nothing less than a key for unlocking the true power of ideas, both now and in the future.
On that subject, the theme of this year’s WIP Day on April 26th is around ‘IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) believes that “across the globe, young people are stepping up to innovation challenges, using their energy and ingenuity, their curiosity and creativity to steer a course towards a better future.”
WIPO will be exploring how creative minds are driving positive change and using intellectual property rights to achieve their goals, generate income, create jobs, tackle local and global challenges, and support community and national development.
At SHIL, we are keen to see the same mindset inspire NHS Scotland and the younger members of the health service workforce who are at the very heart of WIP Day, and rightly so – our collective future is of course in their hands.
However, I would also emphasise the belief that age, location, or role in health and social care really is no barrier to innovation, whether developing simple or complex ideas.
Incredible knowledge and talent reside within NHS Scotland, and coupled with the enthusiasm, energy, experience, and expertise within SHIL, we can fully harness that vast potential and catalyse innovative ideas that positively support health, economic and social outcomes.
As part of that innovation we are also keen to build positive environmental change to aid Holyrood and NHS Scotland in their goal to be net zero by 2040. Following COP26 in Glasgow, sustainability must continue to be a massive emphasis for our nation’s ingenious thinkers.
That will only take on more importance with every passing year, and IP will provide an essential lynchpin for driving sustainable innovation.
At SHIL we recognise the behaviours of NHS Scotland’s 160,000-strong workforce will influence how the service mitigates and adapts to climate change impacts; and so, encouraging this diverse workforce to come up with new ways of working is vital and is at the heart of our latest innovation call.are also seeking sustainable, forward-thinking ideas from health and social care professionals that can help.
We are calling on forward thinking NHS employees to come forward with their ideas to support NHS Scotland to adapt, develop and strengthen in response to climate change and.create a sustainable future for healthcare. The process is simple and ideas can be submitted via: http://www.shil.co.uk/submit.
At SHIL, we will evaluate these ideas and support the development of those with potential to not only benefit the environment for generations to come but also to sustain the NHS and protect its future through IP.