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

I have had a range of experiences in Committees in this House, but I have not had knocking from the fireplace before, although there is a first time for everything.

I think the hon. Member for Hartlepool probably intends to achieve the same purpose with amendment 27 as we intend to achieve with our Government amendments. I shall explain to him why we consider “intentionally” to do the job better than his proposed word, “deliberately”. We chose “intentionally” because it is more familiar to the courts in terms of framing the mental element of a criminal offence and so less likely to provoke legal debate than “deliberately”. I understand that intention is already recognised by the courts within the framework of IP legislation.

There is a second problem with amendment 27, which is that it appears to be directed to the part of the offence that sets out liability when a person knows or has reason to believe that the design in question has been copied. The legal test of knowing or having reason to believe is established and well understood. Qualifying it in clause 13 with the word “deliberately” does not seem to take matters further forward. We believe that the concerns of industry about unconscious copying are  dealt with effectively by the Government’s amendments, so the hon. Gentleman’s proposal in amendment 27 is unnecessary.