The 27 April 2017 saw both the Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 and the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill receive Royal Assent in the “wash-up” period prior to the formal dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017.
The Digital Economy Bill, as introduced, included a number of provisions which are relevant to the IP&IT and Media and Telecoms sectors:
The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill extends to trade marks and designs the existing exception in patent cases (introduced in 2004) for threats made to a primary actor. It provides a “safe harbour” to allow a rights-holder to communicate with a secondary actor in certain circumstances by introducing the concept of “permitted communications”, meaning communications made for a permitted purpose and containing information necessary for the purpose. It also introduces a new provision preventing threats actions from being brought against professional advisers who act on instructions and who identify their client in the communication.
These are welcome changes indeed and will operate to ensure that trade mark owners (and their legal advisers) can in certain circumstances protect their trade mark rights without the fear of unjustified threats of litigation.
If you would like more information on either of the Digital Economy Bill or the Intellectual Property (unjustified Threats) Bill, please contact me, Partner of the Intellectual Property team.