The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (often UKIPO) is, since 2 April 2007, the operating name of The Patent Office. It is the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK and is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (DBIS). Some work on copyright policy is however shared with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and plant breeders' rights are administered by the Plant Variety Rights Office, an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The IPO also has direct administrative responsibility for examining and issuing or rejecting patents, and maintaining registers of intellectual property including patents, designs and trademarks in the UK. As in most countries, there is no statutory register of copyright such that there is no direct administration required in copyright matters by the IPO.
The Intellectual Property Office is led by the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also registrar of trade marks, registrar of designs and Chief Executive of the Office. Since 30 April 2007, the Comptroller has been Ian Fletcher who took over after the retirement of Ron Marchant on 30 March 2007. The previous comptroller was Alison Brimelow who, , is the President of the European Patent Office.
The existence of the Patent Office and the post of Comptroller are required by the Patents and Designs Act 1907 (though most of the remainder of this Act has been repealed), but the substantive duties of the Office are set out in other legislation, including:
* The Registered Designs Act 1949
* The Patents Act 1977
* The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
* The Trade Marks Act 1994
All of the above legislation has been amended extensively since it was first passed.
Since 1991, the IPO has had its headquarters in Newport, South Wales, but a small branch office in London has been maintained for the benefit of the large professional community based there and for communication with central government.
On 1 October 2008, the position of the Company Names Adjudicator was introduced under the Companies Act 2006. The Company Names Adjudicator's powers are enforced through the Company Names Tribunal which forms part of the Intellectual Property Office.