The Queen’s Speech makes changes to Intellectual Property Laws

Last week, as part of the Queen’s Speech, the government has published a new bill to reform and simplify Britain’s intellectual property laws.  The sector in general is likely to widely welcome these changes as creative industries are increasingly crucial to the UK economy and its vital to have up to date intellectual property laws to ensure that designers and inventors are protected. The new law will implement the EU’s Unitary Patent Court Agreement, which will lead to the establishment of a single European patent court which will sit partly in London.  This will help streamline the procedure for enforcing or seeking revocation of patents by replacing different, and potentially contradictory national courts, with one single court whose decisions in respect of European patents will apply across all EU member states. This is good news as a unified and EU wide system for determining European patents will simplify and strengthen patents. And with the court sitting partly in London, the UK will have a key role in ensuring the success of European patents. The new law will also include, for the first time, criminal sanctions for registered design right infringement. This is a welcome change as it will bring the protection of registered designs into line with that relating to copyright and trademarks. In addition, an opinion service will enable people to ask the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for an expert opinion as to whether a design or patent is valid or is being infringed, which will expand the current system for obtaining an IPO view on patents. In addition, IPO will be able to share information about unpublished patent applications with other national patent offices and it will be possible for applicants for design rights to designate the countries in which they wish their designs to be registered. In a measure intended to reduce red tape, and therefore expense, patent owners will no longer have to mark their products with a patent number. Instead it will be sufficient to mark the products with a web address containing the patent number. There will also be an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act in respect of research programmes intended for future publication to make it easier for researchers to validate information before publication. Overall the bill looks to simplify and add clarity to the way in which business functions can only be a good thing. The bill should complete its passage through parliament this session. Disclaimer This information is for guidance purposes only and is does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact Richard Abbott at rabbott@setfords.co.uk