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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

UK Intellectual Property Bill gets its second reading

The UK’s forthcoming Intellectual Property Bill (a piece of primary legislation that will become an act) received its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday, meaning it is that bit closer to becoming law having wound its way through most of the UK’s legislative process.
Merpel made it to Clause 4 before nodding off
As reported today by the 1709 Blog, this bill does not deal with upcoming changes to the exceptions to UK copyright infringement, which look like they may be put into law by a series of statutory instruments (UK secondary legislation) in the coming months.
The passage of the Bill through the UK’s Houses of Lords and Commons is outlined here, and the current draft of it is available here. Briefly, and amongst other things, if it makes it through as it is now the Bill will do the following to UK IP law, mainly in the areas of designs and patents:
UK unregistered design right
1.   Narrow the scope of protection provided by this right by tweaking the definition of a “design” slightly (to, in the words of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), “limit the protection for trivial features of designs”).
2.   Change the position on first ownership so that designs which are commissioned by another person remain owned in the first instance by the designer, rather than the commissioner as at present. This aligns the law with the position for Community designs.
3.   Introduce new exceptions to infringement for private acts, experiments and teaching.
Registered Community design
4.   Expands the exception, already available for registered UK designs, in order to provide that the authorised user of a registered Community design cannot be sued for infringement of associated copyright.
UK Registered designs
5.   Introduce the same change to ownership of commissioned designs as for UK unregistered design right, outlined above.
6.   Add a limited right for a person to continue to use a design which someone else applied to register where the person used in good faith or where “serious and effective preparations” were made for such use prior to the other person’s application for registration.
Professor Pat Pending, of Wacky Races fame, and the answer
to a pub quiz question this Kat got wrong yesterda
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7.   Grants power for the Secretary of State to make provision for the UK to accede to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on 2 July 1999 - the UK is currently only a member by virtue of being part of the European Union.
8.   Lays the groundwork for a voluntary, non-binding Design Opinions Service on design infringement issues from the UKIPO.
9.   Introduces a criminal offence of unauthorised copying of a registered design, provided said copying is done knowingly and in the course of business.
Patents
10. Lays the groundwork for the implementation in the UK of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court made in Brussels on 19 February 2013.
11. Extends the scope of the UKIPO’s current non-binding Patents Opinions Service.
More background can be found on the UKIPO IP Bill page. The IPKat will be providing further analysis of the bill in due course.

3 comments:

Paul Leonard said...

I have a question for the learned Kats and/or fellow subscribers: am I right in thinking that the UK's membership of the Hague Agreement through the EU, rather than nationally, means that others (from signatory countries) can use the Agreement to cover the UK, but UK residents can't use it as yet?

Darren Smyth said...

Dear Paul, thank you for your question. The answer is no: UK residents, in common with all EU residents, can use the Hague Agreement to obtain registered design protection in any Hague country. Others from signatory countries can obtain protection equivalent to Community Registered Design using the Hague system, but, until the IP Bill and necessary secondary legislation is enacted, not UK national protection.

Darren

Paul Leonard said...

Thank you, Darren. That has clarified things very nicely!

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