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Relief for IP lawyers at this year’s State Opening of Parliament

Relief for IP lawyers at this year’s State Opening of Parliament

May 25, 2016

This year’s State Opening of Parliament has provided IP lawyers with some relief. Amidst prison reforms and other new legislative measures, Intellectual Property was on the agenda as the Queen introduced the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill on 18th May 2016.

Following a review of the controversial law on groundless threats of legal action in cases that involve patents, trade marks and designs, the government has begun plans to agree proposals that will ensure lawyers are exempt from liability when making threats on behalf of their clients.

IP lawyers will welcome news that recommendations powered through by Law Society’s Intellectual Property Law Committee are to be adopted. The Bill aims to lower the current hurdles that businesses encounter when caught in IP disputes.

The current provisions allow the recipient of an infringement letter to claim against the rights holder, as well as their legal advisor in some circumstances. This can create difficulties for businesses seeking to enforce their rights and has a reputation amongst practitioners as being unworkable and unjust.

The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill will provide some direction when distinguishing between the levels of a supply chain. The Bill will ensure that rights holders focus their assertions on the source of the suspected infringement and away from IP lawyers.

A draft Bill was published last October, in response to a long and widely-debated campaign by the Law Society’s Intellectual Property Law committee. The draft Bill was considered as ‘suitable and uncontroversial’ and is eagerly awaited by Intellectual Property practitioners.

The Bill is set to become law in the coming year and should make it easier for businesses to settle disputes outside of the courtroom. The proof shall be in the pudding.

Read more about how Intellectual Property Law could affect your business, or contact a member of our team on +44 0 20 7700 1414.