Unjustified threats on intellectual property rights
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The IPO launched a discussion document on 22 October 2015, following the Law Commission’s final report and publication of a draft Bill.
This response document provides a summary of the key points raised by respondents on the proposal to reform the law relating to unjustified threats on intellectual property rights. It provides the government’s commentary on these issues.
The government would like to thank all respondents for their contributions.
In view of the positive responses the government will continue to investigate introducing the reform via the Law Commission special procedure for uncontroversial bills.
UK law provides a statutory right of redress against unjustified (or groundless) threats to sue for infringement of a patent, trade mark or design right (the threats provisions).
The threats provisions have been criticised for not working as well as they should. They are thought to be unclear and have been accused of failing to achieve the necessary balance, which is to allow rights holders to protect highly valuable assets, but not to misuse threats of infringement to distort competition.
So, in 2012, the government asked the Law Commission to review the relevant law. Following a consultation in 2013, PDF 442KB and a response report in 2014, PDF 922KB , the Law Commission has now presented a final report and published a Draft Bill.
The government has been supportive of the Law Commission work to date and is currently considering the Law Commission’s Report and the draft Bill that accompanied it. As part of this, the government is keen to confirm stakeholder views
Last updated 28 January 2016 + show all updates
Government response to the proposed reform of the law relating to unjustified threats on intellectual property rights published.