Reforms to Create More Open Intellectual Property System

Intellectual Property Reforms to Create More Open Intellectual Property SystemPlans to reform intellectual property (IP) laws will offer small firms more protection and allow them to more easily capitalise on their IP assets, the Government has said.

Following a six-month independent review into copyright and IP legislation, the Government announced it is accepting all ten recommendations for change, which could benefit the economy by up to £7.9 billion according to the report. 

“The Government is focused on boosting growth and the Hargreaves review highlighted the potential to grow the UK economy,”

said Business Secretary Vince Cable.

“By creating a more open IP system, it will allow innovative businesses to develop new products and services, which will be able to compete fairly in the UK’s thriving markets for consumer equipment.”

Among the proposed changes is the creation of a digital copyright exchange where copyright licences could be bought and sold, with the aim of opening up access to protected material such as music, images and film. 

The report also recommended streamlining the patent process in order to make it easier for both UK and international businesses to apply for patents and trademarks. Patent backlogs currently cost the global economy up to £7.4 billion a year.  

“The idea is to help businesses secure IP protection much more easily and more quickly by speeding up the patent process — the current process can take months, even years,”

said a spokesman for the Intellectual Property Office.

“The copyright exchange will help businesses because it will make things much more transparent. It will basically act as a centralised database, so firms which want to use material protected by copyright will be able to track down rights holders more easily. It will also help businesses which own rights to avoid financial losses through unlawful use of material.”

Clive Davenport, trade and industry chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses said the lobby group welcomed the Government’s response to the Hargreaves review, particularly the decision to drop fines for small firms in cases where customers had illegally downloaded material on their premises.

“This would have had a significant impact on cafes, hotels and bars,” he said.

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