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Last week in the context of Clause 13 of the Intellectual Property Bill we posted some comments on the suitability of a criminal court to hear registered design issues. I mentioned in that earlier post that there were other reasons why we thought the clause should be deleted and some more of these are discussed below.
Remember, if you feel that Clause 13 of the IP Bill should be deleted or amended to restrict its scope then you should lobby your MP. Find your MP here.
Today’s mini rant topic of discussion looks at whether the intent of the legislation has been captured in the Clause as drafted and also looks at the acts of copying and infringement. Finally there are some musings on the how the criminal provisions could be used in practice.
In our previous series of articles on the IP Bill we looked at Clause 13 which seeks to introduce criminal provisions in respect of registered design infringement. This section of the Bill attracted a fair amount of discussion since it was felt in some (many?) quarters that the threat of criminal proceedings could be asserted via Clause 13 against designers which would have a “chilling effect” on the UK design industry.
As noted here, the IP Bill has now left the Lords on its way to the Commons and Clause 13 has been the subject of a massive amount of debate in the Lords and has been amended slightly during its passage through that House. So, what’s changed and why?
In an earlier post we looked at the patent related provisions in the Intellectual Property Bill. Today, it is the turn of the registered design related provisions, or more accurately, one specific part of the registered design related provisions: Clause 13 – “Offence of unauthorised copying etc. of design in course of business”.
Clause 13 introduces a criminal offence with respect to registered design infringement which is punishable by imprisonment of a term “not exceeding ten years” and an unlimited fine. As we see below this provision has generated some opposing views.