In October this year the law relating to various IP rights changed. One of the most significant changes concerns registered designs, and the penalties that exist if one is found to have copied a design. For the first time, copying a registered design has become a criminal act. Not only the copying, but also dealing in copied designs, such as by selling a copied design can now land one with a large fine or a prison sentence.
The copy does not have to be an exact copy. It only needs to be “substantially similar” to the copied design. This wording therefore provides a good deal of uncertainty as to where a designer stands if that designer has “taken inspiration” from a previous design. How much change does a designer have to make to an existing design to ensure they do not fall foul of the criminal law? These questions are somewhat up in the air at the moment as there haven’t been any prosecutions under this new law as yet, as far as I’m aware.
So, what should you do about it? One sensible step is to take advice from a patent attorney on your design. Having a favourable opinion from an attorney will be a significant step to steering clear of any criminal sanctions.
The good news is that if you are a designer then the new law may strengthen the value of your IP, as long as you get your designs registered.
Contact us for further information.
You will all have heard the amazing news of the Philae lander touching down on the surface of comet 67P on the 12th of November. You may not have seen this rather impressive interactive graphic on the ESA website that shows how the Rosetta spacecraft made its way to the comet, over the space of 10 years. It really brings home the technological and scientific achievement that has been made, and the colossal distances travelled by the craft, before reaching its destination with such precision. Definitely worth 10 minutes to have a look.
"So where's the IP angle?" I hear you ask. Well,it's a little tenuous, but there is an awful lot of IP created in the research and development of missions like this, which is as good a reason as any to post the above link.
A new technology park is planned for the north of Worcester. Covering a 70 acre site near Junction 6 of the M5, the part is expected to create up to 500 jobs, according to the developer, Stoford Developments. The site is currently in the planning application stage. Hopefully this park will provide a home for many innovative companies, and and increase the reputation of Worcestershire as a technology hub in the Midlands.
More details can be found here.
The UKIPO website now joins many other government departments in their new collective home under the gov.uk umbrella. Although it's in the fairly early stages of its move, first impressions are that it has lost a lot of its previous ease of navigation and features for both IP professional, and for businesses and individuals who need to learn about IP from their own perspective.
Many pages state that they are in beta form, and so should be upgraded in due course. One hopes that this will be sooner rather than later. The new address is here.