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Government Responds to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Consultation

Firstly, huge thanks to all our ACID members who helped us provide case studies to the original Enforcement Consultation. A link to our ACID response and case study evidence is here. Through the Alliance for IP of which ACID is a long-standing member, their response to the consultation is found here. We submitted 9 compelling case studies and also sent various comments from interviews with over 30 ACID members (see links at the end of article).

The full Review can be found here. In summary, the Intellectual Property Office plans the following:

  • To work with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to consider the feedback received and identify where service improvements to the IP courts can be made. Where appropriate this may also include discussions regarding the publication of judgments.
  • Develop a project to streamline the available guidance for IP court users which is currently on several different government websites. Improvements in this area should make it easier for users to find information on available services and what to do if they believe their IP is being infringed. This should include work with HMCTS and The IP Court Users Committee to update the guidance for users of the SCT and could include provision of a selection of anonymised case studies of SCT cases.
  • To work with the Citizens Advice Bureau to make sure suitable IP guidance is available at all sites when enquiries are made.
  • Develop a project to raise awareness of the full range of options available to rights holders when they have an infringement issue including alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. It should also provide clear guidance on the mediation process, including which parts can be made public.
  • Research on statutory damages, which may include a comparative study of current regimes in similar common law countries. It should consider the impact the regime has had on the enforcement of IP rights and what statutory damages might look like for the UK.
  • Carry out further work to assess whether registered designs should be included in the small claims track of IPEC.

Dids Macdonald, OBE., CEO of ACID said, “Whilst we welcome these improvements, we hope that as a minimum they will be included in the Enforcement Strategy due to be published in September. We feel, however, that the above recommendations should have been the “given” of an operationally efficient IP system that is cost and time effective for those who need to take action efficiently, especially for registered designs to be heard in the small claims track some 8 years after it was created.”

Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s Chief Counsel and IP Director said, “It is lamentable that in the main, our members case studies have not been considered, the majority all rightly calling for criminal sanctions for the intentional infringement of an unregistered design following the loss of EU27 protection when we left the EU. Our resolve remains unchanged that until Government changes its attitude to the disparity between the protection offered to copyright creators and those of designers, UK designers remain unsupported in this Enforcement Strategy as it stands.”

We are consistently told by Government that design matters! Well, we would prefer to see action rather than words and we will be continuing our various campaigns to ensure that designers are no longer treated as the poor cousins of the IP Family.

Case Studies:

Angela Hewitt Designs

Black & Blum

Innermost

Mel Holliday Chislewood

Microslat

Morgan Contract Furniture

Robe de Voyage

Robert Welch

Thisisnessie

Image source is subject to Creative Commons licensing. Author unknown.