To deliver the commitments set out in the Conservative Manifesto 2015, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published a new strategy on intellectual property protection in the UK, namely IP Enforcement 2020.

The key aims of the strategy are to:

  • give UK businesses more confidence to operate internationally by providing better worldwide protection of IP rights;
  • give rights owners and users access to proportionate and effective dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve IP infringement disputes; and
  • educate consumers on the benefits of respecting IP rights.

To reach these aims, UKIPO will be taking a ‘multi-pronged’ approach, focusing on six key areas:

  1. Reducing the level of illegal content online – by working with search engines and social media platforms to make it easier for consumers to recognise and avoid infringing websites; seeking clarification on the current EU rules around platform liability; and supporting legitimate websites.
  2. Tackling the trade in counterfeit goods – by facilitating cooperation and coordination between a wide range of enforcement partners. UKIPO will play a key role in acting as the focal point for collecting data on infringement trends and working to find appropriate ways to address identified issues. The strategy also recommends investment in resources in countries where counterfeit goods are sourced
  3. Strengthening the legal framework to facilitate easier access to justice – by comprehensively reviewing existing methods of legal recourse for IP infringement, to ensure consistency and proportionality across all IP rights.
  4. Increasing education, awareness and building respect for IP – by working with industry partners to encourage consumers to choose legitimate options over illegal sources.
  5. Making it safe for UK rights holders and businesses to trade internationally – by encouraging senior government interaction to reinforce key messages with international partners, and offering practical training and engagement for IP enforcement practitioners.
  6. Improving the evidence base – by developing a comprehensive scoreboard with available data on the prevalence of civil and criminal IP infringement, and encouraging greater use of IP legislation by CPS prosecutors when undertaking charging decisions.

UKIPO has committed to this broad strategy for the next four years, through both UK initiatives and engagement with international partners.