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UK to reform threats provisions

James Nurton, London

The UK government has broadly accepted proposals by the Law Commission to reform the law concerning threats of IP infringement

The Commission made 18 proposals, including permitting legitimate communication with secondary actors using safe harbour provisions; simplifying acts that can be referred to when approaching prospective defendants; and removing liability for professional advisers when acting on clients instructions.

Under existing laws, IP owners can be sued for making “groundless threats” when communicating with potential infringers.

The measures have long been criticised as inconsistent, complicated and out of step with measures to promote settlements.

The Law Society’s IP Law Committee, led by Isabel Davies and Robin Fry, has been working on the issue for nine years. In a statement, the Law Society welcomed the government’s announcement.

Separately, the Law Society is inviting applications to join the IP Law Committee, which has four vacancies for non-Council members. Interviews will be held on April 21 and April 30.

The deadline for applications is 17.00 on March 19.

Committee members are paid travel and subsistence expenses and an annual incidental expenses allowance.


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