New law makes it easier to protect intellectual property

Businesses will be able to protect their intellectual property rights more effectively across Europe and the rest of the world as new legislation comes into effect.

The Intellectual Property Act received the Royal Assent on 14 May. One of its key features is that it enables the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which will make it possible to get a single patent covering most EU countries.

Ministers estimate that this will save UK businesses up to £40m a year.

The Act also introduces a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs. This will deter those who knowingly copy UK registered designs and provide greater protection for the design sector, which ministers consider to be hugely important.

The Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger, said: “Continued investment in intellectual property is vital to all businesses, as it contributes £16 billion to the UK economy each year. It is essential that we continue to work hard to create the right environment for them to flourish so we can benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.

“I am confident that this Act will further strengthen our world-class IP system – from research to market – and to help businesses of all sizes continue to thrive.”

The Act provides new protections for designers, as well as removing red tape and some of the uncertainties for businesses when protecting their designs. It will also introduce a number of online services to help businesses better manage their intellectual property.

It’s expected that the new measures will start coming into effect in October this year and be fully implemented by late 2015.

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