The Aerospace Technology Institute have published an interesting and informative INSIGHT paper into recent trends in global aerospace patenting across corporations, geographies and technologies. As the ATI note, patents contain a wealth of data that is relatively standardised across industry, making them a strong data source for meaningful analysis. Patents are associated with innovation and value, however, their potential for insight is far wider. ATI’s investigation aims to understand the economic value of aerospace patents and uses the data to assess international capabilities and developments that might be of strategic importance to the UK.

Patents are arguably the most visible and well known instantiation of Intellectual Property (IP) which includes product names, branding, novel inventions, product design/aesthetics and anything written, created or produced by an individual or organisation.  However, as the ATI INSIGHT rightly notes:

“…patents are not a direct proxy for innovation….  Innovation relies on “the successful exploitation of new ideas””

IP generation is a critical element of the Open Flight Deck (OFD) project and core to the successful exploitation of the R&D activities.  At the heart of the OFD project is the IP register which is a central repository of all of the innovation and potential IP being generated by the OFD partners. The register serves as an IP hopper to collect all potential IP created or used on the project.  No judgement is made at the point of capture regarding the future value or optimum protection mechanism of the innovation.  The important first step is capturing the novelty being stimulated through the collaboration and the creative environment facilitated through the OFD project funding. So far over 130 items of potential IP have been loaded in to the hopper and with another 18 months of invention opportunity ahead, the prospects for adding substantially to the UK’s aerospace IP and Patent portfolio are exciting.

The free INSIGHT paper can be downloaded from the ATI web site here.