The Intellectual Property Bill has completed its passage through the Lords and Commons and awaits royal assent. Once the Clerk of the Parliaments utters the words "La Reyne le veult" the Bill becomes law. The Bill makes important changes to patent and design law and imposes a duty upon the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills to deliver an annual report on how far the Intellectual Property Office and IP legislation generally have contributed to growth and innovation.
I have charted the progress of the Bill since it was introduced into the House of Lords by my fellow St Andrean Lord Younger just under a year ago (see Jane Lambert "The Intellectual Property Bill" 28 May 2013 NIPC Law) and I submitted evidence to the House as it passed through committee (see Intellectual Property Bill, Written evidence submitted by Jane Lambert (IP 04) 31 Jan 2014). Two days ago, I analysed the Bill's provisions in so far as they affect inventors (see Jane Lambert "How the IP Bill affects Inventors" 21 April 2014) and I am about to write a corresponding article on how the Bill is likely to affect designers.
This Bill has had a rougher passage than it need have had largely because of the government's determination to criminalize registered design infringement notwithstanding advice to the contrary from the vast majority of intellectual property practitioners. Thankfully the original proposals have been watered down significantly so it is unlikely that there will be many prosecutions that could not have been brought under existing legislation but the fight over that provision delayed the reforms to design law that everyone welcomes such as an alternative appeals procedure from the Designs Registry, accession to the Hague, the extension of the IPO opinions service to designs and some important changes to unregistered designs law.
Despite the watering down of the provisions criminalizing design infringement the threat of prosecution is likely to result in more challenges to registered and registered Community designs whether in invalidation proceedings, threats applications and requests for opinions on validity (see my article "Clause 13 of the Intellectual Property Bill will probably go through. What next?" 20 Dec 2013 NIPC Law).
Our chambers will be responding to this with a series of training sessions the first of which will be a talk by my colleague Alex Rozycki and me on the Intellectual Property Bil at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square on 19 May 2014 between 16:00 and 18:00 (see "Learn how the IP Bill will affect you" 17 April 2014 NIPC Law). Alex specializes in the criminal aspects of IP law and will speak on how to defend a Crown and magistrates court proceedings and indeed how to bring a successful private prosecution under the new legislation. I will be talking about every other aspect of the legislation. CPD points will be available and if you want to attend this talk call George on 020 7404 5252 or fill in our on-line form.
If the event in London is a success we shall repeat our talk in other parts of South East England. If you want to host our talk in your offices or at your local law society then call me on 020 7404 5252 or fill in my contact form. You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+, Linkedin or Xing,