Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Queen’s Speech: Intellectual Property Bill

Actually, more of a Patents and Designs Bill, and it is unfortunate that it's entitled “intellectual property” – hardly a precise enough expression to use in legislation.  But whatever they call it, the Bill will implement changes to the design laws that the Government announced recently in response to a consultation it carried out.  These include introducing criminal penalties for infringing registered designs (but not, thank goodness, unregistered design right).  The concept of what is commonplace for unregistered design right purposes will be tied to a specific geographical area, and the first owner of unregistered design right will be the designer even where the design is commissioned.

The Bill also contains provisions to create a new opinions service, like the one the Patent Office already offers in relation to patents, covering registered designs.  It will also provide for appeals from decisions of the Designs Registry to go to an appointed person rather than to the High Court.

As far as patents are concerned, the Bill will create a framework for establishing part of the central division of the Unified Patent Court in the first instance in London, and local divisions elsewhere in the UK.

There is more to be said about the Bill, and I plan to come back to expand this post in the future.

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