IP protection stepped up

UK businesses will be able to better protect their intellectual property rights in the UK and abroad as new legislation was given the final go-ahead.

A key part of the new Intellectual Property Act, which received Royal Assent on 14 May, is to create new powers for the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement – a central part of introducing a single patent across almost all EU countries, which could lead to savings of up to £40 million per year for UK businesses.

The Intellectual Property Act also provides new protections for designers and will also introduce a number of online services to help businesses better manage their intellectual property (IP).

Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said: “Continued investment in intellectual property is vital to all businesses, as it contributes £16 billion to the UK economy each year.

“I am confident that this Act will further strengthen our world-class IP system – from research to market – and to help businesses of all sizes continue to thrive.

Key policies in the Act include:

  • introducing a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs
  • introducing 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
  • an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research, so that researchers will be able to more easily 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  • allowing the UK Intellectual Property Office to share information on unpublished patent applications with other national patent offices.

It is expected that the new measures will come into force from October 2014, with all measures implemented by late 2015.

Link: More information on the Intellectual Property Act