Changes to UK IP Law from 1st October 2014

September 2014

On 1st October 2014 a number of changes to IP law in the UK will come into force. 

Changes concern:

  • UK Registered Designs - Changes to the Law on Designs
  • Patents and the Experimental Use Exception - Changes to section 60(5) of the UK Patents Act
  • Copyright Exceptions - New exceptions for Personal Use, Parody, Quotation
  • Patents - New options for displaying your patent rights using webmarking

Please read on for further advice about each of the new provisions.

UK Registered Designs - Changes to the Law on Designs

On 1 October 2014 a number of changes to designs law in the UK will come into force.  The changes you need to be aware of concern: 

  • Design ownership: the owner of a commissioned design will now be the designer and not the commissioner (unless a contract states otherwise).
  • Prior use of a design: where someone uses a design in good faith that is subsequently registered by another person, there will be some protection from infringement action.
  • Intentional copying of a registered design is now a criminal offence.
  • Other changes happening in October 2014: these include simplifying who is able to qualify for an unregistered design right in the UK and restricting the ability to base a claim for copying on a cropped area of an unregistered design.

The UKIPO has produced guidance which is intended to help explain to designers, employers and businesses the changes to design law.  The guidance also explains the further changes that are expected to come into force during 2015.

If you would like further advice about the new law, please contact Antony Gold at agold@hgf-law.com  or your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.

Patents and the Experimental Use Exception - Changes to section 60(5) of the UK Patents Act

On the 1 October 2014, changes to the Patent Act regarding the experimental use exception, or research exception, will come into force.  These changes will mainly affect companies and individuals involved in clinical trial work or carrying out work to provide information for health technology assessment of medicines.    You can read more about the exception here.

It is important to note that the new provisions do not extend to commercial activities and will only apply to activities carried out from 1 October, not retrospectively.  UKIPO guidance and FAQs on the new exception can be found here. 

If you would like further advice on this or any other matter, please contact Mike Nelson at mnelson@hgf.com or Andy Camenisch at acamenisch@hgf.com or your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.

Copyright Exceptions  – New exceptions for Personal Use, Parody, Quotation

On the 1 October 2014, regulations will come into force that will introduce exceptions to copyright for personal use, quotation and parody and amend the UK Copyright, Design and Patents Act.  You can read more about the changes here.

  • Personal copying for private use - this will allow consumers greater freedom to enjoy content they have bought by allowing them to make personal copies strictly for their own private use.
  • Parody, caricature and pastiche - this exception will permit limited use of copyright material for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche without the permission of the copyright holder, but only to the extent that the use is fair and proportionate.
  • Quotation - extending the existing exception for ‘criticism or review’ to cover all types of fair quotation, as long as there remains sufficient acknowledgement of the quotation.

UKIPO guidance and FAQs on the new exception can be found here. 

If you would like further advice on this or any other copyright matter, please contact Martyn Fish at mfish@hgf-law.com  or your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.

Patents: New options for displaying your patent rights using webmarking

From 1 October 2014 the option of marking a product with a web address rather than specific patent information to demonstrate patent protection will become available in the UK.  The web address must link to a webpage which clearly sets out the patent number(s) relevant to the product in question.  You can read our full guidance here.

In summary patent holders which to use the webmarking system should ensure that:

  • Clear and accessible information is provided on the webpage
  • It can be ascertained from the webpage which patents apply to which  product/s
  • Products are clearly identified and display relevant model numbers/variants
  • Web pages are kept as up-to-date as possible to reflect patent details for each product/s
  • Note that QR codes alone will not themselves provide ALL members of the public with notice of patent rights

If you have any questions, or would like further advice on webmarking of products in the UK or another country please contact your usual HGF attorney, or visit our Contact Page to get in touch with one of our experts.