Intellectual Property Bill announced in Queen’s Speech

Last week, the Queen’s Speech set out a number of reforms to Intellectual Property (“IP”) laws in the UK, as part of a new Unjustified Threats Bill (“Bill”).

The new Bill contains proposed reforms to ‘unjustified threats’, one intended change being that solicitors would no longer face being personally sued for making threats when acting for their client in a professional capacity. Such tactics can be used to warn businesses or individuals of potential infringement proceedings for IP breaches, often before such a breach has even occurred.

The Government has acted on recent recommendations from a Law Commission Report published in April 2014, which suggested a number of reforms to combat the prevalence of unjustified legal action within IP disputes.

The Queen announced at the State Opening of Parliament on 18 May, that the new Bill will “exempt professional legal advisers from liability for making threats, if they are acting on instructions from a client and in their professional capacity, so that they can help settle disputes”.

The Unjustified Threats Bill is intended to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in dealing with IP disputes by preventing the misuse of threats where no infringement of IP has occurred and clarifying the type of communication permitted between the parties.

The Bill is currently being reviewed by the House of Lords, and will likely be implemented over the course of next year.

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Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex.