26 November 2005

Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's Strategic Audit

The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit made a very interesting observation on page 19 of in its recently published "Strategic Audit". Reporting triumphantly an OHIM bar chart that shows the UK second only to Denmark in the number of trade mark applications per million, the report observes
"UK performance is strong on filings of trade marks, which may be more closely indicative of non-technology based innovation than patent statistics."

In a forward looking arrow graphic, it also suggests that other UK strengths include excellent science base, English language and traditions of openness. Since some of our best universities are closing their physics and chemistry departments I am not persuaded about this strong science base. It appears to be based on another convenient statistic namely the number of scientific papers and citations which comes conveniently from the DTI. However, even this particular piece of propaganda has to admit that the UK business’s record on R&D and patents is comparatively (sic) weak, though it tries to minimize that weakness by suggesting that these are imperfect measures of innovation in an increasingly services focused economy. Not nearly as imperfect as scientific papers and citations, mate!

I am trying very hard to keep this blog politically neutral but guff like that would try the patience of Job.

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