Clause 13 - Offence of unauthorised copying etc. of design in course of business

Part of Intellectual Property Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 30th January 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science) 12:00 pm, 30th January 2014

Our view is that, if a company uses a product that is an intentional copy of a registered design, knows it is doing so and makes a profit into the bargain, it is right that it should be caught by the new offence. That is what we are dealing with.

I will now take the opportunity to respond to the hon. Gentleman’s arguments on his amendment 26, and try to offer the Committee a practical example. His amendment would require that someone “sells” the product, rather than simply uses it. Let me give a practical example of why the amendment, like so many of his amendments, is too restrictive. Imagine someone is running a successful and profitable coffee shop using  a coffee machine that they know is a copy of a genuine producer’s machine. They bought a cheapo copy of a serious coffee machine at a market and are using it as part of their business. They are selling not the coffee machine but coffee, and are knowingly using as part of the process of making that coffee a piece of equipment that is an illegitimate copy.

We think the act of using a product like that should be caught within the framework. But under the amendment, if people knowingly purchased copies of products or goods to use as part of a production process, unless they were directly selling the products themselves, they would not be caught. Again, it is a matter of striking a balance, but we think that in those circumstances people who are knowingly using designs that have not been properly paid for should be culpable.