It is thought that since World War II, 2.5 per cent of all inventions have come from the UK, compared with 25 per cent from the US.
However, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development figures, the number of patents filed per 10 000 of population of the UK fell between 1981 and 1993. In the same time period, the OECD average rose.
The Financial Times recently claimed that the UK gross national product would be 165bn a year richer had the country taken full commercial advantage of all its inventions and innovations.
The 75-year-old, non-profit making Institute of Patentees and Inventors has one full-time employee. It runs on subscriptions from some of its 1000 members and a 10 000 annual grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.