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New act strengthens intellectual property rights



The new Intellectual Property Act received Royal Assent on 15 May, better protecting the rights of UK businesses.


New powers now allow the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which is the central part of introducing a single patent across most EU countries. It is thought this could lead to collective business savings of up to £40 million per year.


Protection for designers is also included, removing red tape and uncertainties for businesses when protecting their designs. Online services will be launched to help with the management of intellectual property.


Lord Younger, Minister for Intellectual Property, said: ‘Continued investment in intellectual property is vital to all businesses, as it contributes £16 billion to the UK economy each year. It is essential that we continue to work hard to create the right environment for them to flourish so we can benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.


‘I am confident that this Act will further strengthen our world-class Intellectual Property system – from research to market – and to help businesses of all sizes continue to thrive’.


The key policies set out in the Act include: providing new protections for pre-publication research; the introduction of a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs; measures to help businesses assess the strength of their case before going through legal proceedings; expansion of existing patent opinions services; and an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research.


The measures are expected to come gradually into force from October 2014 and later into 2015.