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Science minister names new Patent Office chief

Ian Fletcher, this is your life

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Ian Fletcher has been appointed as the new chief executive of the UK Patent Office. Fletcher, currently serving at the International Directorate in UK Trade and Investment (IDUTI), will succeed Ron Marchant, the incumbent, when he retires at the end of March.

Marchant said he is confident Fletcher will take the office "forward on its chosen path".

This April, the Patent Office will become the Intellectual Property Office. The name change is supposed to reflect its wider role in a post-Gowers world.

Minister for science and technology Malcom Wicks said it was an exciting time for the Patent Office: "The recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property redefines the Patent Office's role both in the UK and abroad, seeing intellectual property rights as vital for British businesses. I look forward to working with him [Fletcher] and the office as it develops."

In the official announcement of his appointment, Fletcher declared himself "delighted" to be joining the Patent Office, and who would expect anything less?

"[The Patent Office] already plays a vital role in the UK's economic prosperity, its scientific excellence and its innovation system." he said.

"As the office moves on to tackle to challenges set out in Andrew Gowers' review, the office's role will become even more central to the UK's response to the challenges of globalisation."

Fletcher's civil service career began in 1989 when he joined the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, having spent his early career in the New Zealand diplomatic service.

He has since worked at the European Commission and for the UN before returning to the UK and joining the DTI. He later became principal private secretary to Sir Andrew Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary and head of the Home Civil Service before moving to his current role at the IDUTI in 2004. ®

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