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From the Newsdesk

Last week in Parliament

For those of us who are regular visitors to Parliament, this week’s events struck close to home but showed why the values of democracy and freedom that we cherish in the UK must be upheld. Our thoughts are with all who lost their lives and were injured and their families and friends.

Anti Copying in Design (ACID) is a member of The Alliance for Intellectual Property and each week The Alliance creates a parliamentary update which ACID shares with its members.

Also this week we learnt that Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday 29th March (which also happens to be Tony Blair’s wedding anniversary and John Major’s birthday), Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness passed away aged 66, Theresa May is the first British Prime Minister to be featured in US Vogue, and Parliament – with the rest of the UK – united in the face of the terror attack in Westminster where 3 innocent people very sadly lost their lives including Parliamentary Policeman PC Keith Palmer.

Digital Economy Bill: Report Stage House of Lords

On Monday, the Digital Economy Bill returned to the House of Lords and debated internet pornography and how to prevent persons under 18 from accessing content. The Government presented an Amendment to make it clear that content behind age verification controls can still be subject to criminal sanctions provided by existing legislation, and confirmed that DCMS is leading cross-government work on an internet safety strategy that aims to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online.  Some more Government Amendments in relation to age verification and extreme pornographic material were passed and can be found here. An Amendment presented by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch “Code of practice for commercial social media platform providers on online abuse” was also passed following a vote.

Later on Monday, Peers debated data protection issues and the BBC. Proceedings can be read here.

It appears that Part 4 (Intellectual Property) remains untouched with any Amendments, however this week Amendments have been published regarding ticket sales which would be of interest to some Alliance members. As you know, there has been a firm commitment from DCMS to address the problem with ticket touts, and the Government has published Amendments within the DEB. This week, there was uproar in the CMS Select Committee when ticket retailer Viagogo refused to appear as a witness.

Westminster Hall debate: Importance of Intellectual Property to the British Economy

The Minister for IP, Jo Johnson, has written to those who spoke during the recent IP debate in Westminster Hall. In particular, he has focussed on DSM and Brexit, status of IP in trade negotiations, online liability and exemptions, fair remuneration for creators, Government support for Creative Commons licences, “Lookalike” packaging, and IPTV.

House of Lords European Union Committee: Brexit: trade in non-financial services report

This week, the House of Lords EU Committee published its report on the implications of Brexit for the UK’s trade in non-financial services with the EU, which includes intellectual property.

Speaking on Wednesday on the Today Programme, Lord Whitty of the Committee discussed the non-tariff barriers (IP, access to licences, mutual recognition of qualifications) and the concern that they would be eroded as we withdraw EU membership. He explained that with any FTA with the EU that the UK Government should seek to get as close as we can to maintain current positions on the non-tariff barriers within the report, and accepts that there will be trade offs and compromises even within an FTA. You can listen to the interview here, and was on 07:13-07:17.

Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill: Third Reading

On Tuesday, the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill passed its Third Reading and after a debate lasting 40 minutes, Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing expressed: “I must say that’s the most efficient bill I have ever seen in this House. I think that somebody somewhere ought to be commended for it”.

It was also another opportunity to see the Minister for IP at the Despatch Box wearing his ‘IP hat’, and responding on issues surrounding ongoing relations with the EU, the Minister responded:

“The options for the UK’s intellectual property regime after our exit, including our relationship with the unified patent court, will be the subject of negotiation, and it would be wrong to set out unilateral positions in advance. The hon. Gentleman asked about EU-wide IP rights on Brexit. Of course we are already talking to businesses and to other stakeholders about this important issue. There will be time to address it fully and properly during exit negotiations. Naturally, we will want to see the best outcome and one that supports our innovative businesses. He asked also about EU trade marks and designs. We recognise that users will want clarity over the long-term coverage of those rights. We acknowledge the importance of involving users in the consideration of these issues, and we are working with stakeholders at the moment to gather views on how to address their concerns. The hon. Gentleman asked on a number of occasions about the EU trademark reform package and the directive. On balance, we think that the reform package is a good one, with modernisations that will make the overall system easier and cheaper for businesses to use.” Responding for the Opposition, Bill Esterson explained: “I am glad that the Minister said that he was already having discussions with businesses; that is incredibly important. I urge him to make it clear very publicly, sooner rather than later, exactly what the nature of those discussions are. Businesses are already exceedingly worried about the consequences for intellectual property. I thank him for picking up the points that I made about the relationship between EU patent law and UK patent law. I think that he understands that a great deal of reassurance is needed.”

The above does not represent policy but is a weekly report of parliamentary activity prepared by the Alliance on IP matters and other broad areas of interest to the creative industries which the Alliance has shared with its members.

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