Proposed modernisation of the UK IP system – Part 1

The government has announced Intellectual Property legislation which aims to provide a more efficient, clear, accessible and modernised IP system. Its provisions relate mainly to patents and designs.


1. Patent Numbers: the bill will enable the proprietor of a patent to mark a product with its internet link which will take the user to a webpage which will provide them with the patent number(s) associated with the product.

2. UK IPO Opinion Service: the UK IPO will have more flexibility in that it will have more freedom to expand the areas relating to a patent on which an Opinion can be requested. The bill will also allow Opinions to be requested on the validity or infringement of a Supplemetary Patent Certificate granted on a patent.

3. Revoking a patent: the UK IPO has limited powers to revoke a patent. Where there is an Opinion adverse to validity, the bill will extend the powers of the UK IPO so that they may revoke the patent. It is said that this power “will only be exercised in the clearest if cases, where it is indisputable that the patent lacks novelty or inventive step”.

4. Sharing Search Results: prior to a UK application being published as an ‘A’ publication, the UK IPO will be able to share search results with overseas patent offices. However a confidentiality agreement will need to be put in place to determine which information should be allowed to share.

Part 2 discusses the changes to the design system.

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