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 12:15 pm on 30th January 2014.

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Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science) 12:15 pm, 30th January 2014

Indeed. There has to be genuine intention at every stage. They have to know what they are doing. We are bringing in the amendments about intention precisely so that this crucial issue is covered. We have to be clear that it is intentional. We believe we have got the balance right.

Innovation matters. I should like to touch briefly on the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Hartlepool. He raised the issue of follow-on innovation. We understand that that is indeed part of the innovation process and we need to protect follow-on innovation. That is why we have clarified in clause 13, where the criminal sanction bites in particular, that the copy must be exact or differ only in immaterial details. That is a well understood test. Again, that is the reason why we are bringing in that clarification. It protects follow-on innovation that has extra features that mean it no longer differs only in immaterial detail.

I hope I have explained that we have struck a balance here. We do not want to make the test so rigorous and bring in so many extra requirements as to make the protection for designers unenforceable. Nor do we want to catch people who unintentionally find themselves using a product or a service where they could not reasonably be expected to have known what they were doing. We believe we have got the balance right. We have listened to the IP Federation and to British business. I hope that the Committee will support the amendments.