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Major reform of intellectual property comes into force

New measures that will modernise the intellectual property (IP) framework come into force today 1 October 2014, modernising copyright law and helping designers and patent holders protect their valuable IP.

The government’s package of reforms to copyright exceptions will contribute £500 million to the UK economy over the next 10 years.

This includes changes which will allow people greater freedom to enjoy content they have bought and from 1 October 2014 allow them to make personal copies strictly for their own private use. Prior to this change, it was illegal to copy music from a CD to an MP3 player.

A new exception to copyright for parody caricature, pastiche and improvements to rules on how you can use quotations are also being implemented. This will allow the limited use of copyright material without the permission of the copyright holder, but only to the extent that the use is fair and proportionate.

The aim of these reforms is to support the reasonable use of creative content, without undermining copyright’s important role in supporting the creative industries.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, said:

These changes are going to bring our IP laws into the 21st century. They will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers.

Not only will these new measures provide a significant boost to the UK’s creative industries, they will also better protect a number of sectors including the protection of the UK’s design industry, worth more than £15 billion to the economy.

Other key intellectual property reforms that will come into force on 1 October 2014 include:

  • the Intellectual Property Act 2014. The act will help simplify and strengthen protection for the UK designs industry, worth more than £15 billion to the UK economy, and help improve the efficiency of the IP rights system
  • the creation of a criminal offence for intentional copying of a registered design
  • providing new protections for pre-publication research to ensure the UK’s universities and the research sector remains a world-leader
  • webmarking to display your patent rights, allowing a company to put a web address rather than more detailed information about the patent status of a product
  • the expansion of the patent opinions service, providing quick and affordable opinions on a wider range of patent disputes
  • the promotion of international ‘patent work sharing’ to cut backlogs.

Separately, the government has also introduced a Legislative Reform Order that will provide support for the life sciences sector by allowing the use of patented products when carrying out product or technology assessments.

Notes for editors

1.The 3 new copyright exceptions introduced on 1 October 2014 are part of a wider reform to the copyright exceptions framework; other changes were introduced on 1 June 2014. A summary of these changes can be found atExceptions to copyright

2.The Intellectual Property Office has produced a full range of guidance to support the range of new measures coming into effect in 1 October 2014.

They can be found at 1 October 2014: Changes to design and patent law andChanges to copyright law.

The IPO will be issuing updated guidance in early October 2014.

3.Professor Ian Hargreaves was commissioned by the Prime Minister in November 2010 to review the IP framework, to promote innovation and growth in the UK economy.

Reporting in May 2011, the review made a number of recommendations including the need for:

  • an efficient digital copyright licensing system, where nothing is unusable because the rights owner cannot be found
  • an approach to exceptions in copyright which encourages successful new digital technology businesses both within and beyond the creative industries
  • a patent system capable of preventing heavy demand for patents causing serious barriers to market entry in critical technologies
  • reliable and affordable advice for smaller companies, to enable them to thrive in the IP intensive parts of the UK economy
  • refreshed institutional governance of the UK’s IP system which enables it to adapt organically to change in technology and markets

These reforms will bring much of Ian Hargreaves’ review to a conclusion.


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