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Reviewing the UK’s IP enforcement framework

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement, Innovation

Innovation can be a risky business which involves the investment of time, effort and money in varying degrees. It delivers solutions to difficult problems, new goods and services to market and creates new ways of working. For example new products, brands, fashion and music are examples of innovation.

The intellectual property (IP) framework provides protection for innovative creations through the different IP rights. These rights can be used individually or in a combination and their main features are:

  • Patents protect an invention i.e. an inventive concept embodied in a product or a process. These rights are granted in return for disclosure of the invention
  • Trade marks protect a recognisable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others
  • Copyright grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution for a limited time. These exclusive rights are not absolute and are constrained by limitations and exceptions to copyright law. Copyright protects the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves
  • Designs protect the appearance of the whole or part of a product. There are two types of design rights: the registered design right and the unregistered design right. The unregistered design right is similar to copyright in that it attaches automatically when a new design is created. The registered design right provides stronger protection and lasts longer. But, there are fees for registration and renewal

We are currently inviting bids for research into the effectiveness of the UK's enforcement framework for IP rights. This builds on a commitment made in the IPO's Enforcement Strategy. Through this research we are looking to construct a snapshot of how the UK’s enforcement framework for each IP right currently operates.

It is anticipated that the research will be split into two phases. The first phase will focus on developing evaluation criteria. This will assess the processes needed to enforce IP rights and the consequences of infringement. The second phase will focus on identifying recommendations for changing the enforcement framework.

If you would like to find out more about this research opportunity or wish to receive the tender document, please contact The deadline for receiving completed applications is 5pm on 24 April 2017 and bids from consortia are welcome.

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