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Recent changes in UK based IP laws

The intellectual property protection is a multistep process. The initial focus is on the invention or the idea. The next step is to decide the kind of protection that’s needed since not all ‘new’ things and ideas warrant a patent or an IP protection. It also has a cost associated with it.

The form of IP protection the inventor applies involves submitting an application with the UK Patent and Trademark office (UKPTO). The legal cost behind it involves the time that is spend for market research and related IP searches.

At times, litigation would also be involved and it may very well be the case that the cost of litigation cross that the value of the IP protection. The key question is that how far one can go to win a decision.

Just recently, the UK IP Office made an amendment in the section of Patent Acts of 1977. The nature of this amendment was to give protection for lawsuits related to patent infringement to companies that have innovative products.

Through this amendment, companies that are running trails on innovative products would have the same protection like the ones on generics.

Another amendment introduced on May 10th allows better means of protection to products and technologies. The amendment highlights the nature of protection under the law, reduction in the case of costly litigation and a better level of certainty to those who invest in new designs and technology.

The bill gives new powers to implement the Unitary Patent Court Agreement. This Court is one of the integral elements for ensuring a single patent across the EU. Estimates have indicated that profits up to £ 40 million per annum can be achieved. The London Court which would oversee the pharma and life sciences patent disputes would allow the UK economy to gain £ 200 million annually.

The bill also allows the patent holder to consult with the IP office before proceeding with the legal proceedings. The IP office would determine whether the design/patent is being infringed. This allows cost of litigation to be brought down. This bill also offers law firm marketing solutions and other programs more room for promotion of patents and designs without additional costs and legal permissions.

According to the Business Secretary, the new bill would promote the expansion in small and medium enterprise and allow innovative businesses to grow. As of now, investors in UK invest about £ 16 million each year in design, which contributes 1.1% of the GDP.

The bill also introduces the criminal penalty for deliberate infringement of either the patent or the design. It would serve as a good legal deterrent.

In order to speed up the process of litigation, there would of sharing of information with the international patent offices with regard to patent applications that are unpublished. This allows the task to be completed quickly and also would increase the value of the patent owned by UK businesses.

This amendment allows UK to be a part of the Hague system. The Hague system is an international design registration system which allows applicants to have protection in different countries. Before the bill was passed, the cost for UK businesses to have patent in multiple countries cost £ 7,500. Now, it would cost only £ 500.

To cap it all, as per the new bill, patent owners would have the option of marking their designs/products with a web link. Through this web link, the detail regarding the patent number and public access would be made.

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