Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information in advance of the second reading committee stage of the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill [HL] in the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 June 2016. This is a Law Commission bill and will follow a special procedure in the House.

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The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill is a Law Commission bill that was introduced on 19 May 2016. As a Law Commission bill, it will follow a special procedure in the House. The Bill seeks to amend existing law relating to unjustified threats to sue for infringement of intellectual property (IP) rights. In 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Intellectual Property Office asked the Law Commission to review the law in this area. The Law Commission published reports in 2014 and 2015, each with a number of recommendations—which were accepted by the Government—and a draft bill in 2015. 

The Bill seeks to change the law to encourage the resolution of disputes without litigation and to protect individuals or entities, such as retailers or customers, against unjustified threats for IP rights infringements. It also seeks to remove liability for unjustified threats from professional advisers acting on behalf of clients and change the law so that the unjustified threats protection will apply to European Patents in view of the introduction of the EU’s Unified Patent Court.

Law Commission bills follow a different procedure to normal bills. They are introduced in the usual way. Following the first reading they are committed to a second reading committee. This committee operates like a Grand Committee where a bill will be debated, but no division taken. A second reading motion will then be taken in the House and a bill will proceed to a special public bill committee. This committee can take written and oral evidence on a bill before considering it line by line. After this stage, the report stage, third reading and any subsequent consideration of Commons amendments will be taken in usual way.

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