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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Independent Review of the IP System Launched Today

The Prime Minister today unveiled plans for an independent six-month review of the Intellectual Property system in the UK. Revealing the publication of "Technology Blueprint" at a major event in Shoreditch, David Cameron outlined how the Government will support high-tech innovation. According to the IPO press-release: "He spoke about how the Government can help make Britain the most attractive place in the world to start and invest in innovative technology companies."

The Press-Release Continues:
Mr Cameron said:

"I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit forthe internet age."

The Blueprint also reveals the Intellectual Property Office will trial a peer to patent project,which will allow people to comment on patent applications and rate contributions to help improve the quality of granted patents.

The six-month review aims to identify barriers to growth within the IP framework, which consists of the rules and regulations covering how IP is created, used and protected in this country.

It will particularly focus on how the IP system can be improved to help the new business models arising from the digital age."
The Press-release continues, noting that Baroness Wilcox also commented on the manner in which the internet has changed the business landscape:
"An IP system created in the era of paper and pen may not fit the age of broadband and satellites. We must ensure it meets the needs of the digital age."
There was also a great deal of talk about IP 'helping' and 'not hindering' companies that operate in highly skilled, technology sectors - with reference being specifically made to rights clearance systems akin to those available under fair use of copyright works in the US.

The scope of the review is stated to include examination of:
  • Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
  • The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
  • The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
  • The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.
  • The review will also look at what the UK can learn from the US rules covering the use of copyright material without the rights-holder's permission.
The press release notes that "[t]he review will make recommendations on the changes the UK can make as well as the long-term goals to be pursued through the international IP framework." Its report is expected in April 2011.

The IPO has also used the press-release to announce the trial of a "peer to patent project, which aims to improve the quality of the patents by ensuring they are sufficiently new and inventive." It explains:
"Patent examiners cannot be expected to have access to all the information already in the public domain and this project aims to address that.
In the trial selected patent applications would be available for people to comment on and crucially rate each other comments. The highest rated comments would then be submitted to the patent examiner."
The trial follows similar projects elsewhere (most notably in the U.S. and Australia).

IP well and truly in the spotlight.

Peer to Patent here

Beer to patent here (.pdf alert)

3 comments:

Hector MacQueen said...

Gowers again?

Arthur said...

Interesting that copyright is to be updated "for the Internet Age" again so soon after the Digital Economy Act.

It's almost as though they don't want to go through the expensive nightmare of actually enforcing the DEA.

Colin said...

The wording of the Technology Blueprint (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/innovation/docs/b/10-1234-blueprint-for-technology) is that they are "launching an independent review of the intellectual property framework" which is exactly (word for word) how the Gowers Review is described - (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/gowers_review_index.htm) rather than spending six month's time and money on another review (it was less than five years ago when I believe the internet already existed) aren't they better off reading the Gowers report?

Have they said who is conducting the review this time? Surely the IPKat is as qualified as anyone for this job.

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