The Law Commission is the statutory independent body created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law under review and to recommend reform where it is needed. The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the law is:
The law provides effective ways to enforce intellectual property rights but these can be misused to drive competitors from the market. In Patents, Trade Marks and Design Rights: Groundless Threats, we recommend reforms that will allow individuals and businesses to protect their IP rights but not at the expense of new ideas and inventions.
Law Commissioner David Hertzell said “Patents, trade marks and design rights are vital to the UK economy and should be protected, but the right to do this must not be used to stifle competition.
“If implemented, our reforms will prevent threats being used as a means of unfair competition by targeting customers, suppliers and retailers. They will provide a “safe harbour” for communication, and provide guidance on what rights holders and their competitors may say to each other. This would address the major concern that it is all but impossible to comply with the obligations imposed by the Civil Procedure Rules to avoid litigation through negotiation.
“This is a complex and difficult area of law where proper advice can nip disputes in the bud. The risk of liability should not prevent rights holders from getting the right help and we are recommending that professional advisers acting for their clients should no longer face liability for making threats.”