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 11:30 am on 30th January 2014.

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Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science) 11:30 am, 30th January 2014

Yes, and the purpose of the legislation and this clause in particular is to create a new criminal offence of copying a design. That is a clear strengthening of a weak legal framework. As I said on Second Reading, we believe in supporting our design industry—both small and large businesses.

With these amendments we are tackling specific concerns raised in intensive discussions with IP experts and industry representatives, such as BAE Systems, Nokia, Dyson and others—the creators of design IP in this country. The Government amendments ensure that the law is as clear as possible and that it fully achieves the Government’s aim of tackling only the blatant copying of design. Our amendments address two points. Government amendments 6, 8, 10, 13 and 14 make it clear that the copying must have been intentional. The insertion of the word “intentionally” is not intended to make the sanction more difficult to prove—the clause was always aimed at situations where there was an intention—but to allay the concerns of stakeholders that unconscious copying could be caught by the offence, which is not the purpose of the clause. We were happy to table the amendment to make the legislation clearly reflect the Government’s stated policy of ensuring that only considered acts of copying are captured. That is what the addition of “intentionally” does.

Amendment 27, in the name of the hon. Member for Hartlepool, would insert “deliberately” into the clause. I am not sure whether that is his intention—whether he is doing it “deliberately”. [Interruption.]