UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO)


This past Thursday the Brexit vote sent shockwaves around world, including the IP community and in particular with respect to IP rights in the UK and Europe. But concerns at the moment are speculative as nothing yet has changed.

The UK has only voted on whether to leave the EU. The UK has not actually left the EU, nor is any such departure likely for at least two years from the date the UK officially notifies the EU of its plan to withdraw. Modifications to any IP laws will come only through terms of the Brexit negotiated between the UK and the EU in the coming months and years.

In the meantime, we can predict and highlight potential impacts that could result from a UK exit from the European Union.

Continue Reading Keep Calm and IP On: Planning for UK IP Post-Brexit

The first parts of the new UK Intellectual Property Act 2014 come into force today. The act will introduce a range of new measures, one of which is that it expands the options available to patent proprietors for marking patented products. The benefit of marking a patented product is that it prevents an infringer from relying on a defence of innocent infringement and avoiding paying damages. From today, this benefit can be obtained by marking products with the address of a web page that is accessible free of charge and clearly associates the product with the relevant patent number(s).

Marking a product with the address of a web page alleviates the practical problem of marking products that are covered by several patents with all of the associated patent numbers, which can be difficult to achieve and unsightly. It should also make it easier and cheaper to keep the marking updated as relevant patents expire or are allowed to lapse. This is particularly important as marking a product falsely is a criminal offence in the UK.

US law changed some time ago to introduce the option of marking patented products by reference to a web page. A carefully crafted web page might be able to cover marking of a product patented in both the UK and the USA, something on which we are well placed to advise with our transatlantic patent practice.

Authored by Peter Rands

In the wake of the Patent Box, the UK government continues to place IP at the centre of its plan to boost private-sector growth.

Earlier this month we got a sneak-peak at the findings of an independent report entitled ‘Banking on IP’, commissioned by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), on ways to increase access to finance for IP-rich small to medium enterprises (SMEs).  The Executive Summary was published in advance of the full report, and now a more detailed summary has been made available.

Broadly speaking, these summaries conclude that IP finance would benefit from a) an increased understanding of the value of IP, and b) more resources to mitigate risk associated with investing in IP.  To achieve these objectives a number of recommendations are proposed, including:

  • creating a toolkit to help SMEs, lenders and other financiers identify, understand and make more effective use of their IP
  • developing templates and providing advice to help banks and others understand the cash flow and business value of IP
  • supporting the development of more accessible and effective IP marketplaces
  • increasing availability of insurance policies to guard against unforeseen events

This report highlights a very important relationship that needs attention if growth of IP-rich companies is to be expected and makes a number of pragmatic and well-reasoned points.  Both the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, and the IP Minister, Lord Younger, have endorsed the Report’s recommendations, with Vince Cable being quoted as saying:

“Intellectual property is too important an asset to be undervalued by banks, who are the main source of finance.”

It will be interesting to read the full report once it is made available.  In the meantime, the Executive Summary and a more detailed summary are already available.