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Jessica Bent

New Intellectual Property Bill: What’s in it for businesses?

Intellectual property laws are about to be reformed when the new Intellectual Property Bill gets Parliament’s approval.

The key points of the new Bill are:

Introduction of the Unitary Patent Court Agreement

What this means: You won’t have to obtain patents in each EU country anymore to secure EU-wide protection; instead a Unitary Patent Court Agreement will create a single EU patent, which will be enforced in unified patent courts based in the EU. Effectively, the agreement will enable you to protect and maintain your inventions in a ‘one-stop shop’. This agreement has to be ratified by 13 signatories (including the UK) before the agreement comes into effect.

Introduction of criminal penalties for design infringement

What this means: Currently, when designs are copied, the law only provides design owners with remedies through the civil courts. The potential infringers are not always deterred by that, and resulting court cases are lengthy and expensive to conclude. Introducing criminal remedies for design infringement will ‘scare off’ more potential infringers and also bring designs in line with copyright and trade marks, where there are already criminal remedies for infringement.

IPO’s objective opinion

What this means: When you have questions about the validity of a UK patent or UK design, or think your patent or design is being infringed, you can ask the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to give its opinion. This new service will assist you in obtaining an objective opinion, which might help you avoid costly litigation.

The Bill is in its early stages, however the proposed changes are geared up to help innovative businesses.

The single EU Patent has been under discussion for some years and it is a welcome step that it looks like it will soon be here. This will assist businesses in securing one patent through the EU, which should be more cost effective.

For more information about any intellectual property rights related matter contact Jessica.