Unjustified Threats Bill- what you need to know
With IP and the protection of it growing in popularity in recent times, many businesses are aware of how powerful and valuable their intellectual property can be.
However, the level of knowledge in relation to the use of IP and the protection of it in some places is limited therefore leading a number of cases where a threat of IP infringement action has been made when actually that is far from the reality of the situation moving forward.
In relation to unjustified threats, IP owners have had some protection in previous law but this has been deemed out of date and no longer consistent and clear.
Therefore, new powers and protections in relation to unjustified threats have been introduced in the form of a new Bill.
The new Unjustified Threats Bill aims to:
- Protect businesses and individuals against the misuse of threats to intimidate or gain an unfair commercial advantage where there has been no infringement.
- Make it easier for those involved in a dispute over IP infringement to negotiate a settlement and avoid litigation.
- Bring consistency across the law as it applies to patents, trade marks and designs.
The main provisions of the Unjustified Threats Bill will:
- Extend the changes made for patents in 2004 to trade marks and designs. These allow a rights holder to challenge someone capable of causing the most damage, usually the trade source of the infringement (primary actors), without fear of facing a retaliatory unjustified threats action.
- Protect retailers, suppliers and customers (secondary actors) against unjustified threats.
- Provide a clear framework within which disputing parties can exchange information to resolve the issues between them and avoid litigation.
- Protect professional advisers from personal liability for making threats when they act for their clients; and
- Make necessary changes to threats law so that the protection against unjustified threats can apply to European patents that come within the jurisdiction of the forthcoming Unified Patent Court.
This is welcome news for all trade mark owners who have found themselves on the receiving end of an unjustified threat. The Bill is in the process of being considered therefore it is not definite that these rules will remain the same, however this is a good start to renewing the old law which has become defunked.
For more information, contact The Trademarkroom
By Ellis Sweetenham