With the coronavirus pandemic affecting billions of people and millions of businesses around the world throughout 2020 and 2021, there can scarcely have been a more important time for scientific innovation in the race to understand, treat and protect people from the virus. In late spring 2021, we sent a survey to our clients looking at how intellectual property (IP) intensive firms have responded and adapted to the global COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, into 2021 and beyond. This report is based on the responses we received, which highlighted the resilience of innovative and IP intensive businesses during the pandemic, and their bright future.
The respondents represented a wide range of organisation types and sizes, technology sectors, and countries, enabling us to compare and contrast responses to the various challenges which arose as a result of the pandemic.
Overall, Intellectual Property is still very much viewed as a tool to protect and grow a business, and an organisation’s existing IP, as evidence of innovation, allows great resilience to external forces, such as a pandemic. Consistent with this, investment in IP did not contract during the pandemic period and portfolios are expected to expand as the crisis recedes.
R&D and innovation programmes were reduced in 2020 and early 2021, but not to a very large extent, and are now bouncing back to former levels of activity. For most businesses, their IP strategy remained unchanged throughout the pandemic, and many look to invest more into this aspect of the business in the future.
Funding and collaboration opportunities, in particular, may have stalled for some, but there appears to be general optimism for the future in these areas.
This optimism is most prevalent in businesses that have considered and acted upon the relevant issues to maximise the potential that these opportunities could bring to the business. Sentiment on the extent to which these opportunities will be available appears to vary depending on organisation type, the type of technology and the geographic location.
The survey, and subsequent report, highlights that despite the global coronavirus pandemic most definitely affecting businesses reliant on research and development programmes, innovation, and intellectual property to grow and protect their business, a robust IP strategy clearly helps provide great business resilience, and enabled the majority of innovative businesses to “Keep Calm and Carry On” throughout the economic upheaval of the pandemic.