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Improving IP Enforcement in the UK

Jul 22, 2021

Author: Phil Leonard

A report identifying key areas for improvement within the UK’s IP enforcement regime has been published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Intellectual Property.

IP enforcement relates broadly to the options available to rightsholders to defend their IP rights.

The effectiveness of the UK’s IP enforcement regime is key to protecting creativity and encouraging future investment and innovation to stimulate the economy.

The three key areas and recommendations are:

(1) TACKLE AND REDUCE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY ONLINE

By requiring intermediaries that provide commercial services to online businesses (such as website hosting) to implement a ‘Know Your Business Customer’ protocol.

This could be a simple identity check on the basis of validated documents (such as proof of VAT registration) which are simple for legitimate businesses to obtain, but much more difficult for those conducting illicit activities.

This would allow rightsholders to identify who is behind online infringements and bring action accordingly.

(2) IMPROVE THE SMALL CLAIMS TRACK OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENTERPRISE COURT (IPEC)

Increase the potential recoverable damages from £10,000 to £25,000.

Increase the legal costs recoverable from the current (miserly) limit of £260.

Allow registered design cases to be heard.

Consolidate and simplify small claims track guidance.

(3) EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL IP ENFORCEMENT

Ensure reciprocal exchange of information with the EUIPO and EUROPOL relating to IP theft and other criminal activity.

Put in place UK IP representatives (“attachés”) in Brussels and other key jurisdictions such as India and the Middle East.