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UK intellectual property law bill – criminalisation of the copying of registered designs?


14th May 2013

Following its consultation on reform of the UK Designs Legal Framework, the UK Government published The Intellectual Property Bill (the IP Bill) last week. A copy of the draft bill can be found here. The next reading of the bill will be in the House of Lords on 22nd May 2013.

Summary Of The Bill

The IP Bill has Design, Patent and Copyright elements.

On the Designs side it seems likely that the most controversial element is the proposal to criminalise the copying of registered designs. The criminalisation of the copying, in the course of a business, of registered designs has been proposed despite the objections expressed by the IP Federation (which represents the views of some very significant UK manufacturers and innovators, see: www.ipfederation.com). On the other hand, the calls from organisations such as ACID (Anti Copying in Design) and FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) for the criminalisation of copying of unregistered designs have not been taken up at this stage by Government. No doubt both ends of the criminalisation argument will be lobbying hard as the IP Bill passes through Parliament.

The call by the IP Federation for a UK unregistered design right to exclude functional designs from protection also appears to have not been taken up. This is despite the Federation’s concerns that it dissuades some manufacturers from basing themselves in the UK as it is a right which can be owned by non-UK companies with no commercial footprint in the UK but which only exists and can only be infringed in the UK.

The Patents elements are mainly concerned with the implementation of the European Unitary Patent and some other tidying up.

We will report on the progress (and possible amendment) of the IP Bill through Parliament as it happens.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking before any action in reliance on it.

Author
Jan Vleck
Partner
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