Introducing the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill

After a long battle, a new bill that could revolutionise intellectual property has been introduced into the House of Lords and will now be considered by both Houses of Parliament.

Its creation was sparked by a request sent to the Law Commission by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the UK Intellectual Property Office to review the threats provisions that exist in relation to patent, trade mark and design law in 2012.

The Law Commission, following this request, published a consultation paper in 2013. The responses they collected from this highlighted a strong support for retaining protection against unjustified threats with a clear support for a reform of the law as it stands.

April 2014 saw the publication of a report from the Law Commission which made a summary of the reponses received, which was accepted by the Government. They then tasked the Law Commission to draft a bill to incorporate all the reforms needed. This was published with a final report on the 12th October 2015.

Following a further consultation, the Unjustified Threats Bill has now been approved and will now move on to be considered in Westminster.

The new bill is looking to make life easier for businesses and entrepreneurs. To do this, it has a number of aims including:

– To clarify the type of communications which are permitted between parties involved in a dispute over IP infringement

– To prevent the misuse of threats to intimidate or gain an unfair advantage in circumstances where no infringement of an IP right has actually occurred

– To provide a clear framework within which businesses and their professional advisors can operate to resolve disputes, including attempting to negotiate a settlement before turning to litigation

This is a key development that will be one to follow as it could transform IP in the UK as we know it.

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