New Project on "Unjustified Threats" Provisions

While researching whether there are any new developments relating to section 21 of the UK Trade Marks Act 1994, the so-called "unjustified threats provision" (a friend and fiend of many UK trade mark practitioners), this Kat came across this information concerning an interesting new project by the Law Commission relating to unjustified threats in patent, trade mark and design litigation.

 According to information available on the Law Commission's website, work on this project started in April 2012 and will consider
"…. whether to repeal reform or extend the provisions that impose a liability to pay damages on the makers of an unjustified threat over a trade mark, patent or a design; it will not include copyright. The project will look specifically at section 70 of the Patents Act 1977; section 26 of the Registered Designs Act 1949; section 253 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988; section 21 of the Trade Marks Act 1994, paragraph 6 of the Community Trade Mark Regulations 2006 and regulation 2 of the Community Designs Regulation 2005".
 In particular, the project will assess
"… the balance between the rights of the proprietors of intellectual property interests and the rights of others, such as those who stock or purchase affected goods, not to be subject to an abuse of monopoly rights."
This Kat believes that many IP lawyers, trade mark and patent practitioners, have a view on these particular provisions and will be interested to take part in the Law Commission's consultation.  The consultation paper will be published in February 2013, which will be the start of a three-month consultation period ending May 2013. After analysing the responses, the Law Commission plans to publish a final report by late March 2014 -- and that's a proposal, not a threat ...

Full background can be found here

Big cats' big threats here
New Project on "Unjustified Threats" Provisions New Project on "Unjustified Threats" Provisions Reviewed by Birgit Clark on Thursday, May 17, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. Why not copyright? This could have been just the job for ACS:law, Righthaven, etc.

  2. You can see many examples of assertions of copyright ownership of things whose copyright has long expired, on the web and elsewhere. Some people, and even businesses, seem to be under the impression that because they own, for example, a physical copy of an old photograph, then they have copyright in it. Certain web sites which feature reproductions of victorian commercial postcards [which are clearly not unpublished photographs], or reproductions of woodcut illustrations that were published in victorian journals, come to mind.

  3. Why do you think is copyright excluded from the consultation?

  4. @Charles

    The reason why we Kats think the consultation excludes copyright is because the press release says "... it will not include copyright".

    Do you think it might be somehow squeezed in?


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