March 19, 2014

Intellectual Property Bill to aid UK businesses

The Intellectual Property (IP) Bill was given its second reading in the House of Commons on 20 January, having completed its Lords stages last year.

The Bill will help UK businesses succeed in global competition by making the IP landscape easier to navigate and helping them protect their IP rights.

During the first debate on the Bill in the Commons, David Willetts outlined the key policies in the Bill, including:

  • new powers for the UK to implement the Unitary Patent Court Agreement. This is a central part of introducing a single patent across almost all EU countries and could lead to direct savings to UK businesses of up to £40 million per year
  • measures to help businesses assess the strength of their IP case before going through formal and costly legal proceedings with the creation of a design opinions service. There will also be an expansion of the existing patent opinions service
  • the introduction of a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs. This will deter those who knowingly copy UK registered designs and will provide greater protection for our hugely important design sector. In 2009, UK business invested over £15 billion in designs and the Bill seeks to protect and develop this important industry
  • an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research. As a result researchers can validate and analyse their work before putting it into the public domain
  • allowing the UK Intellectual Property Office to share information on unpublished patent applications to clear backlogs internationally

Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said: “Continued investment in intellectual property is vital as it already contributes £16 billion to the UK economy and represents 4.3% of UKGDP. It is essential that we create the right environment so that our businesses can flourish and benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.”

Royds can provide comprehensive advice on many areas of intellectual property law. For more information please contact Stephen Welfare and John North.

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