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Filings of secret ‘national security’ patents increase 36% in a year amid military tech developments

Filings of secret ‘national security’ patents increase 36% in a year amid military tech developments


National Security patent filings in the UK rose 36% in 2022, driven by increased defence spending and geopolitical tensions

Research from Mathys and Squire, a leading intellectual property law firm, reveals a significant increase in the number of secret ‘National Security’ patents filed in the UK, rising from 45 in 2021 to 61 in 2022—a 36% increase. This marks the highest number of such patents filed since 2018. The trend is largely attributed to heightened defence spending, especially in technology-intensive sectors like drones and cyber-defence, and the government's growing concern over the publication of sensitive military technologies.

National Security patents are those considered critical to national defence and are kept confidential to prevent potentially hostile groups from accessing sensitive information. The increase in these filings is also linked to the ongoing war in Ukraine, with 80% of the 2022 filings coming from defence companies.

Andrew White, a partner at Mathys and Squire, highlighted the UK's substantial investment in developing advanced security and defence technologies. He noted that the government actively monitors and sometimes restricts the publication of patents related to the defence industry to protect national security. Increased geopolitical tensions and the conflict in Ukraine have heightened the focus on safeguarding sensitive technological details from unfriendly nations.

In 2022, UK-origin patents accounted for 84% of the National Security filings, up from 80% in 2021. This trend underscores the growing role of British manufacturers in advancing defence and security innovations. Examples of technologies covered by these patents include camouflage and decoy devices, communications countermeasures, guidance systems for unmanned vehicles, and directed energy weaponry.

The latest data from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) demonstrates the increasing importance and volume of UK contributions to military technology development, reflecting both the strategic priorities and the innovative capabilities of the nation's defence sector.

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