Last week, the U.K. parliament passed a new intellectual property rights law intended to help local businesses better protect their assets both at home and abroad, potentially saving them up to £40 million a year. The law will take effect in October, with all measures to be implemented by late 2015, the government said in a statement on its website.
The government anticipates that the Intellectual Property Act will give the country new powers to enact the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which is a key element of enabling the introduction of a single patent across most countries within the European Union. The new law will also strengthen protection for designers by “removing red tape” and ensuring a higher level of certainty for designers seeking to protect their work.
The new legislation is intended to ensure more robust protection for pre-publication research, and to treat the deliberate copying of registered designs as a criminal offense. Intentionally attaining and commercializing the registered design of a person or organization could result in fine and up to 10 years in prison, the U.K. Intellectual Property Office noted.
The government will also introduce a “design opinion service,” which will make it possible for organizations to evaluate the strength of their IP case before involving themselves in expensive legal proceedings. In addition, it gives powers to the U.K. Intellectual Property Office to provide information about unpublished patent requests with patent offices in other countries, to help eliminate application backlogs on a global scale.
The new protective measures will be accompanied by the launch of several online tools to help businesses cope more effectively with the challenges they face when managing their intellectual property.
What’s your opinion of the new U.K. Intellectual Property Act?