On the 10th May this year, the Intellectual Property Office released a Bill with the proposed changes that should be made to the current law of Intellectual Property. The Bill purports to make property protection more accessible to small and medium enterprises, allowing businesses to gain a greater understanding of what is protected under the law. Another suggested reform is the cost of litigation preventing smaller businesses being trampled on when a larger company infringes its protected designs.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable said:
“Figures show that UK business invests nearly £16 Billion in design each year, which represents 1.1% of GDP. The changes in this Bill are to help SMEs and innovative businesses get on and grow. By reforming and simplifying IP rules and making them easier to understand, we aim to help businesses protect their innovations more easily.”
Another key factor of this Bill is that it will aim to provide a greater certainty for investors of new designs and technologies. This is very important for businesses investing in future technologies, why would they spend Billions in investment money to then have a small company steal their design. It allows companies that invest in creating the technologies and developments of the future to be safe in the knowledge that their designs will not be taken without repercussions.
For those that infringe the rights of another, the Bill will aim to introduce criminal sanctions for the infringement of designs. This will bring parity with copyright and trademark infringement. By creating a criminal sanction it also acts as a deterrent therefore providing better protection for a very important property sector.
The Bill, if brought into law, will give the UK new powers to implement the Unitary Patent Court Agreement. The Court is a central part of introducing a unified patent across most of the European Union. This is estimated to bring in benefits for businesses of up to forty million per year.
The Bill, currently in its second reading in the House of Commons may take some time before it becomes an Act of Parliament. We will wait to see the changes Parliament makes and how it will change the area of Intellectual Property Law for the better.