30 August 2015

What's happening to Yorkshire?

A Wooden Spoon
Author David Jackmanson
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

Yorkshire and the Humber have a population of nearly 5.3 million according to the 2011 census which is 8.4% of the population of the UK and larger than the populations of Norway (5.2 million), the Irish Republic (4.6 million and New Zealand (4.2 million) but the region contributed only 6.5% of the nation's UK patent applications in 2014 (see page 7 of the IPO's Facts and Figures for 2013 and 2014). Whereas there was a slight increase in the number of UK patent applications from 14,946 in 2013 to 15,187 Yorkshire's share actually dropped from 983 in 2013 to 980 in 2014. Yorkshire was 7th in the number of patent applications trailing London (2,766), South-East England (2,701). East of England (1,938), South West (1,510), North West (1,239) and the West Midlands (1,144).

It is the same story in trade mark applications (2,872 compared to London's 14,308, the South East's 12,484, North West's 4,676, South West's 3,597, East of England's 3,415 and West Midland's 3,127) and registered design applications (310 compared to London's 1,120, South East England's 988, North West's 585, West Midland's 505, South West's 452, East of England's 389 and Scotland's 326) though to be fair the region's registered design applications increased from 69 in 2013 to 310 in 2014).

With some of the nation's greatest research universities at Leeds, Sheffield and York, a highly developed financial services industry including business angel networks and private equity investors, Business and IP Centres in Leeds and Sheffield and strong cultural institutions, Yorkshire and the Humber should do better. In the next few months we shall investigate why our region under-performs and what can be done about it. We shall consult local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities and professionals throughout the region to see where (if anywhere) we have been going wrong and what (if anything) can be done to put it right. In the New Year we plan a day long conference to coordinate our activities. If you want to be involved email me or call me during office hours on 01484 599090.