The Intellectual Property Act 2014 enters into force as of 1 October 2014. This updates patent law as well as laws in other areas of intellectual property. A brief summary of the changes relating to patents is given below.
Marking of Patented Products with Web Address
The recovery of damages or profits for patent infringement in the United Kingdom is restricted where an infringer can prove that he was unaware, and had no reasonable grounds to suppose, that the patent existed.
Previously, an infringer was deemed to have been aware that an article was patented if the patented article was marked with the relevant patent number, for example “UK Patent No 1234567”.
The Act now provides an alternative way of notifying the public of patent protection of an article. Patent proprietors can now mark their patented products with the relevant patent number or with a web address of a webpage which is accessible to the public free of charge, and which clearly associates the patented product with the relevant patent number(s).
Other patent law changes under the Intellectual Property Act 2014 include:
- An extension to the scope of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO)’s Opinions Service which provides non-binding opinions on validity and/or infringement of patents. Further grounds of invalidity are now included in addition to lack of novelty and lack of inventive step. Opinions can now be provided in relation to Supplementary Protection Certificates.
- An extension of the UKIPO’s powers to revoke patents, so that a patent which hasbeen found in a UKIPO opinion to be clearly non-novel or clearly non-inventive can be revoked.
- Provisions to allow the UK to implement the European Unified Patent Court Agreement when it comes into effect: this is expected to take place in early 2015.
If you have any queries about the law changes, please let us know and we shall be happy to help.