Prime Minister David Cameron used a keynote speech to the business community in Shoreditch to announce a review of the UK’s intellectual property framework. “We are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.” The review, which will report next April, will recommend changes to UK law, as well as long-term goals to be pursued by the British government on the international stage. Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “The IP review is a welcome initiative which I hope will focus on a relevant and robust framework to encourage IP creators and ensure that protection and enforcement are key priorities. For the majority of the UK’s SME’s the costs and difficulties associated with enforcing IP infringement are prohibitive. Bringing IP to the top table as a significant contributor to the UK’s growth and recovery will be a welcome boost for UK businesses.”
IP Minister Baroness Wilcox, said, “The future of the economy lies in the highly skilled, technology sectors. For many of those companies their intellectual property is their most valuable asset. We must ensure the intellectual property system helps not hinders those companies. This review will look at what changes can be made to our intellectual property system to ensure it helps firms grow. The internet has fundamentally changed the business landscape. Some sectors, such as the creative industries, have been transformed by the internet. The intellectual property framework must keep pace. An IP system created in the era of paper and pen may not fit the age of broadband and satellites. We must ensure it meets the needs of the digital age.”
The review will look at:
• Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
• The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
• The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
• The cost and complexity to SME’s of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.
The review will also look at what the UK can learn from the US’s “fair use” rules covering the circumstances in which copyright material may be used without the rights-holder’s express permission.
The review will make recommendations on the changes the UK can make as well as the long-term goals to be pursued through the international IP framework. It is expected to report in April next year.