Business Law: Copyright reform offers benefits for businesses, says Paul Whittingham

Paul Whittingham, Ashton KCJ

Paul Whittingham, Ashton KCJ - Credit: Archant

THE Business Secretary, Vince Cable, recently announced that he has launched new measures to “develop the UK’s intellectual property landscape” which should bring tangible benefits for businesses.

The measures are in response to the Hargreaves Report, published last May, which recommended a reform of copyright laws. It is thought that these reforms could add as much as £7.5billion to the economy. The programme will be managed by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – the Government body responsible for granting intellectual property rights in the UK, including patents, trade marks, and copyright – and will work to raise awareness amongst consumers, support business innovation, and clamp down on copyright infringement.

The measures include a new, superfast patent processing service that will take just 90 days – as opposed to the usual three to five years – and a faster trademarks examination service which will deliver a full report in five days instead of 10. The IPO’s role will also expand from simply granting rights to supporting businesses in understanding growth opportunities.

On announcing the programme, Vince Cable said that there will be further strengthening of the IPO’s intellectual property attaché network, which places a business attaché in challenging overseas markets to help British businesses and to encourage improvements to Britain’s intellectual property environment.

The IPO will also work to educate small businesses in getting the most value from their innovations, and will pilot an intellectual property advisory service for small and medium firms with high-growth potential.

A campaign to be launched this spring will also work to raise awareness among consumers of the importance of intellectual property. Vince Cable said this activity would in particular focus on young people to educate them about their responsibilities in downloading materials and also protecting their own ideas.

In a further attempt to tackle counterfeiting, the City of London police will set up a dedicated intellectual property crime unit that will target illegal downloaders.

Most Read

: : Paul Whittingham is a partner and head of business services at regional law firm Ashton KCJ.

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We would advise you to seek professional advice before acting on this information.

Ashton KCJ is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Recognised Body number 45826).

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter