Last week, the Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force, making minor amendments to the Patents Act 1977.
While changes to the law means that copyrighted materials can now be used for the purposes of parody without seeking permission from the rights holder, it also has simplified certain aspects of the law including those related to design and patents.
Design law changes
One change that has come into effect is making the design rights system more user-friendly. Because design infringement hearings can be expensive, businesses with a registered design can now ask the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for its view before going to court.
Infringement of design is also now a criminal offence – any business that has a registered design will be able to report those who are producing or selling “knock-off” designs to the police, as well as commencing any civil legal actions themselves.
Another major change that may cause some issues for your business is that if you commission a design from a third party, the designers owns the design right, not your business. Unless it is specifically agreed, your business doesn’t have any rights to the design. Any commissioned work that your business carries out needs clear written agreements before going ahead.
Patent law changes
If you own a patent, then instead of marking the products with a patent number, you will now be able to use a website address to direct people to details of your patents or pending applications.
The IPO also has the power to revoke patents that are clearly invalid.
If you have any more questions about the Intellectual Property Act 2014 and how it could affect your business, please give us a call on 01522 837232 or fill in our contact us form.