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In what has been a politically and legislatively busy period, IPcopy notes that the new Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 was granted Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The purpose of this act is, in essence, to prevent groundless threats being issued against a party relating to purported IP rights while harmonising the position across patent, trade mark and design rights. Currently available provisions can expose an IP rights holder with a potentially genuine claim to the risk of becoming a defendant themselves, resulting in the rights holder bearing the burden of proof of infringement. For a claimant who may be financially unable to expose themselves to such a risk, this potentially provided a steep barrier to entry and could lead to genuine grievances being abandoned. It is also acknowledged that, whilst it is necessary to offer a defendant a method of defence against a baseless and aggressive threat, it has the potential to create an overly litigious atmosphere, and disputes which could be solved with discussion are instead hauled in front of the courts.
The reforms presented in the Act aim to remove such deficiencies by more clearly defining what does and does not constitute a ‘threat.’ In addition, provisions are now included which bring trade mark and design legislation into accordance with the position for patents. A summary of the key changes brought into effect with this Act are outlined below. (more…)
At the last meeting of the Preparatory Committee, the 18th draft of the Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court was adopted.
This 18th draft will, subject to some modifications when the court fees have been decided, form the final version of the Rules of Procedure.