The Intellectual Property Bill was given its second reading in the House of Commons, having completed its Lords stages last year.

The Intellectual Property (IP) Bill was given its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday (20 January 2014), having completed its Lords stages last year.

The Bill will help UK businesses succeed in global competition by making the IP landscape easier to navigate and helping them protect their IP rights.

During the first debate on the Bill in the Commons, David Willetts outlined the key policies in the Bill, including:

  • new powers for the UK to implement the Unitary Patent Court Agreement. This is a central part of introducing a single patent across almost all EU countries and could lead to direct savings to UK businesses of up to £40 million per annum
  • measures to help businesses assess the strength of their IP case before going through formal and costly legal proceedings with the creation of a design opinions service. There will also be an expansion of the existing patent opinions service
  • the introduction of a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs. This will deter those who knowingly copy UK registered designs and will provide greater protection for our hugely important design sector. In 2009, UK business invested over £15 billion in designs and the Bill seeks to protect and develop this important industry
  • an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research. As a result researchers can validate and analyse their work before putting it into the public domain
  • allowing the UK Intellectual Property Office to share information on unpublished patent applications to clear backlogs internationally

Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said:

Continued investment in intellectual property is vital as it already contributes £16 billion to the UK economy and represents 4.3% of UK GDP. It is essential that we create the right environment so that our businesses can flourish and benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.

I am grateful to those who continue to work with the government on the important issues in this Bill. It is also pleasing to see that amendments that were made during the Bill’s passage through the Lords have resulted in an improved Bill coming to the Commons.

Detailed scrutiny of the Bill by the House of Commons will continue in due course when it enters the Committee stage.

Notes to editors:

  1. The IPO is part of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

  2. This year the UK was rated number 1 in Taylor Wessing’s Global IP Index in respect of obtaining, exploiting and enforcing the main types of IP rights.

3.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.