The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) is set to clear up the uncertainty surrouding exceptions to patent law for researchers.
This follows the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (2006). The Patents Act gives an exemption for research work, the idea behind this is to prevent patent law from inhibiting progress and new discoveries. There are though some major uncertainties about how the exemption operates.
The Gowers review recommends amending “section 60(5) of the Patents Act 1977 to clarify the research exemption to facilitate experimentation, innovation and education”.
According to the UKIPO, at present: “research tools which are used in, but are not the subject of, an experiment do not fall within the exception”.
The consultation is open until 07 November 2008