Business Law & Compliance

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New Intellectual Property Act to benefit UK businesses

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A key part of the Intellectual Property Act is the creation of new powers for the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement. This is a central part of introducing a single patent across almost all EU countries, which could lead to savings of up to £40m per year for UK businesses.

The Intellectual Property Act also provides new protections for designers, as well as removing red tape. It will also introduce a number of online services to help businesses manage their intellectual property.

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

The key policies that will be implemented include:

  • Providing new protections for pre-publication research to ensure UK universities and the research sector remains a world-leader;
  • The introduction of a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs;
  • Measures to help businesses assess the strength of their IP case before going through formal and costly legal proceedings, with the creation of a design opinions service; 
  • The expansion of the existing patent opinions service to give businesses involved in potential patent litigation an impartial view on the strength of their case on a much wider range of issues;
  • An exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research. As a result researchers can more easily validate and analyse their work before putting it into the public domain; and
  • Allowing the UK Intellectual Property Office to share information on unpublished patent applications with other national patent offices.

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