Intellectual Property Bill

Intellectual Property Bill announced in the Queen's Speech[1] for the 2013-14 parliament.

“A further Bill will make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property.”

The Government wants to change the intellectual property laws in response to the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property.

Measures in the Bill

  • bring in EU-wide patents by implementing the Unitary Patent Court Agreement. The London Court would hear pharmaceutical and life sciences patent disputes from around the EU.
  • introduce criminal penalties for the copying of designs; something which is already in place for copyright and trademark disputes
  • propose a designs opinion service to allow designs holders to ask the Intellectual Property Office for an expert opinion on whether a design is being infringed
  • allow information sharing between international patent offices
  • allows the UK to join the Hague system whereby design applicants can choose which countries to register their design in
  • allow patent owners to mark their products with a web address linking to the details of their patent
  • exempt researchers who are yet to publish their work from Freedom of Information requests to give them the chance to validate and analyse their work and file for patents before opening them up to the public

Potential problems with the Bill

There are questions to be answered surrounding how the criminal penalties for copying designs will be enforced, the effects of the Bill on 3D printing and whether the Bill will negatively impact innovation in the UK.

Additional clauses

Amendment 35 and 36[2] in the public bill committee, proposed to introduce a new clause "Online copyright infringements: technology companies" aimed at forcing sites such as Google to suppress copyright infringers from search results.

(iii) an assessment of the degree of online copyright infringement and the extent to which identified search engines and other internet services facilitate this
(1) The Secretary of State will, within three months of this Act coming into force, report to both Houses of Parliament on proposals that will have the purpose of ensuring technology companies hinder access via the internet to copyright infringing material.

Amendment 35 was not included.[3]

External links