Although the UK's intellectual property (IP) framework is designed to promote innovation and growth in the UK, the latest quick technological developments have rendered IP regime somehow inadequate to provide full protection. It is the aim, therefore, that the necessary changes are made to ensure that IP protects owners and users and represents interests adequately in the 21st century.
So, the 21st century should witness:
1) The establishment of a Digital Copyright Exchange to allow potential licensees quickly to identify and contact the relevant owners of IP rights, together with a licensing system for orphan works to extend collective licensing for mass licensing of orphan works and a clearance procedure for use of individual works should also be established. It is predicted that an improved licence system may add up to £2.2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020.
2) The introduction of new copyright exceptions to cover format-shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library archiving. For a limited private-copying exception, to bring copyright law into line with the real world, and with consumers' reasonable expectations, since thousands of people copy legitimately-purchased content, such as a CD, to a computer or portable device such as an MP3 player, assuming it is legal. To widen the exception for non-commercial research, to cover "text- and data-mining" to the extent permissible under EU law. To widen the exception for library archiving. To introduce an exception for parody. It would enable UK production companies to create programmes that could play to their creative strengths and create a range of content for broadcasters.
3) An improvement of collaboration between patent offices to reduce patent backlogs and a study on the relationship between designs and innovation.
4) The establishment of a new small-claims procedure for low-value (with £5,000 or less at issue) IP claims to take place in the Patent Claims Court to be renamed Intellectual Property Claims Court.
5) An improved accessibility to IP advice and registration for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly to cost-efficient providers of integrated legal and commercial advice on IP.
6) Increased powers of the IP office regarding intellectual property policy development.
In order to achieve the above, an appropriate enforcement structure of the intellectual property regime must operate. Such Intellectual Property enforcement regime is aimed at deterring online intellectual property infringement will continue in line with UK's Intellectual Property Crime Strategy which will include steps to tackle online infringement of copyrights and trademarks and the administration of the Digital Economy Act. In this regard, the government is removing the obligation on internet service providers (ISPs) to contribute towards the costs of Ofcom and the independent appeals body in setting up and administering the regime. No change is forecasted regarding the sharing of other costs between ISPs and copyright owners.
Furthermore, the UK will continue pursuing its international interests in IP. The UK's key priorities are China, India and Brazil, because of their size, rapid growth and influence. The UK also has a developing intellectual property relationship with Korea and Vietnam. How this can be done? For example, by establishing a network of intellectual property Attachés to promote UK business interests, policy interests and provide a focal point for supporting UK businesses with Intellectual Property related issues and work with UK Trade & Investment, supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and through a range of delivery channels to provide practical support to help UK businesses develop and exploit their IP in key overseas markets. This will include:
o targeted support to SME users of intellectual property.
o development of specific packages for key markets, including China.
o raising the IP concerns of UK business with third-country governments.
o establishing helpdesk and enforcement guides.
UK's Intellectual Property crime strategy 2011
The strategy aims at reinforcing the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business; making the UK unattractive to criminals engaged in IP crime; and protecting consumers and society.
How this can be achieved.
• By using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in order to recover the criminal gains from IP crime.
• By adopting a well collaborated approach, including intelligence sharing and increasing the knowledge base, between enforcement bodies, government agencies and industry in order to maximise their operational activities.
• By showing resilience in the light of the current economic climate surrounding the dedication of resources.
New or enhanced action is planned on:
• Steps will be taken to improve dialogue between those who hold IP related intelligence to improve co-ordination.
• Enforcement agencies will be encouraged to work together to understand existing barriers to collaboration and to overcome them.
The Intellectual Property Office would work with the EU Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, to ensure that any UK based action informs and aligns with the EU approach.
Dr Maria Anassutzi Intellectual Property Expert has founded Anassutzi & Co limited Anassutzi & Co limited which offers high quality specialist intellectual property, information technology and commercial contracts advice.