A draft Intellectual Property Bill announced as part of the Queen’s speech, has now been published. It includes provisions intended to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”).
As we posted previously, a 2012 report from the Justice Select Committee recommended that FOIA be amended to include an additional exemption for pre-publication research.
The Government’s response to the 2012 report indicated its intention to follow the Committee’s recommendations, and it has now produced the draft Intellectual Property Bill as a result.
The draft bill proposes making information "obtained in the course of, or derived from, a programme of research" exempt information if the programme is continuing with a view to a report or the research being published and disclosure before the date of publication "would, or would be likely to, prejudice the programme, the interest of any individual participating in the programme, the interests of the authority which holds the information, or the interests of [another public authority].".
It will take some months for the Bill to work through the legislative process, and the provisions may be subject to amendment as the Bill receives parliamentary scrutiny.