The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017

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Business guidance has been issued by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) relating to the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017. The Act was passed in April this year and is aimed at making life easier for businesses and individuals by clarifying the framework around what is and isn’t acceptable when threatening IP infringement against a third party.

The new law clarifies the protection available to businesses and entrepreneurs, so that they are not unfairly threatened with legal action for infringing a third party’s IP rights (this could be trade marks, patents, designs, etc) when those threats are actually groundless or unjustified.

In other words, the Unjustified Threats Act protects against third parties gaining an unfair commercial advantage where there has been no infringement. It also makes it easier for those involved in a dispute over IP infringement to negotiate a settlement and avoid litigation (which can be prohibitively expensive when dealing with IP rights).

The IPO guidance is welcomed as it provides clear language around the basis for the Act, sets out the statutory test for such actionable threats (and exceptions), explains what constitutes permitted communications, and outlines the remedies and defences available.

The IPO guidance can be found here.

If you’d like to learn more about Intellectual Property or the new Act, please contact our Company Commercial team.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.