UK IPO announces support of New Social Investment Vehicle - IP Business, LLC

Primary tabs

UK IPO announces support of New Social Investment Vehicle - IP Business, LLC

Trademarks, patents, copyrights: wealth creating tools for the poor and rich alike


A new social investment fund has been formed to invest in millions of African producers using corporate business strategies to increase and secure their income from exporting to developed countries. Substantial returns look promising to Investors and Producers alike.

The UK Intellectual Property Office announced  that it is supporting the efforts of the investment and is offering endorsement of its aims and mission.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 3:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

Newport, South Wales and Annapolis, Maryland, USA 17th September 2009. Intellectual Property (IP) involves a major part of the business strategies generating the largest overall share of the income derived from the developed country economies by Corporations. 

Large numbers of African producers rely on export income from the same developed country economies and are learning to use the same business strategies.  A new social investment fund has been formed to invest in millions of producers using the IP business strategies to increase their income from exporting to developed countries, a ground-breaking process developed by Light Years IP called “IP Value Capture".

In Africa, IP has in the past had a negative reputation, as not producing sufficient local benefits to justify the enforcement of foreign trademarks, patents and copyrights in the Least Developed Countries.   Low-income producers in the developing world are now becoming aware and able to take best advantage of their own innovations, reputations and distinctive products when they are sold overseas.

 “The IP Business is a new fund for a new idea – that IP management is no longer a discretionary function for any producer or exporter in developing countries,” comments the CEO of the fund, Ron Layton. Layton continued: ‘Low-income export producers need investment support to develop and use business strategies of ‘IP Value Capture’ to earn a similar share of retail value that producing corporations have been earning for decades.” 

 Layton, as CEO of the DC-based NGO Light Years IP, in 2004 designed the Ethiopian Fine Coffee Initiative, under which Ethiopia registered ownership of the trademarks of three famous fine coffee brands and now have a network of 95 licensed distributors worldwide, including Taylors of Harrowgate, Green Mountain and Starbucks.  Millions of Ethiopians have benefitted from a large percentage increase in annual income, first reported in the year to June, 2008.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) announced today that it is supporting the efforts of the investment and is offering full endorsement of its aims and mission.

Ian Fletcher, IPO Chief Executive and Comptroller General said:

"We are pleased to support the innovative work of IP Business and Light Years IP. This (project) will ensure that developing countries can build capacity and effectively promote the use of the international IP system, so that low-income producers can leverage more income from their distinctive export products."

The launch and capitalization of the fund is expected to lead to more effective efforts by producers from the developing world to capture a better share of the value their products generate at retail.

 Notes to editors

  • Intellectual Property plays a central role in translating innovation, creativity and business reputation into economic growth and social benefit.

  • The share of IP assets as the source of corporate wealth and market value had shifted to 85% by 1998, according to the Brookings Institution.

  • The IP Business is an initiative to build capital.  It follows work by Light Years IP, a specialist NGO assisting low-income producers in the developing world to increase export incomes through the design and implementation of IP based strategies. See

  • There is evidence that sub-Saharan Africa stands to see the exponential rise the revenues from non-mineral exports through IP based strategies. See DFID support study:  (

The UK Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge based economy.

It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to IP to which the United Kingdom is a party. For more information please visit   For enquiries about the Intellectual Property Office press or media activities please contact James Thomson on +44 (0) 20 7596 6547 or Katie Phillips on +44 (0) 1633 814326.

For further information on IP Business, LLC or interviews contact Tel +1 571 213 6592 

Keywords: African Producers | Ethiopian Fine Coffee Initiative | IP Business | IP Value Capture | Ian Fletcher | Intellectual Property | Ron Layton | Social Impact | Social Investment Vehicle | Trademarks

CONTENT: Press Release