A strengthened Intellectual Property Bill, that will help create greater clarity and confidence for businesses who want to protect their intellectual property, has left the House of Lords – the second chamber of UK Parliament – after three months of scrutiny. It will now progress to the next stage, after the summer recess, First Reading in the House of Commons.
Throughout this first stage, the government listened to the views of stakeholders about the measures included in the Bill. An area of concern for some stakeholders was the scope and operation of the proposed criminal sanctions for the deliberate copying of a design.
The government has listened carefully to these concerns, and has responded by amending some of the wording of the Bill.
Industry groups expressed concern that businesses who act carefully, doing their best not to infringe the rights of others, could be accidentally caught by the new offence. They asked the government to look again at the scope of the defences available.
It is the government’s intention that the proposed new criminal sanction for breach of registered design rights is focused on wrongful business behaviour. The changes made by the government today strengthen this and mean that the offence will not capture a person or business who has reason to believe they were not infringing a design.
Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said: “The Intellectual Property Bill will give UK businesses who want to protect their products and technologies through patents and design rights greater clarity and confidence to grow. The changes we’ve made today are as a result of listening to business and Parliament and they support the key aims of the Bill. As usual the House of Lords has given this Bill very thorough scrutiny and I look forward to the further scrutiny it will receive in the House of Commons. My thanks go to those Peers who participated in the debates, as a result of which I believe the Bill is now in excellent shape.”