LONDON The Patents Act 2004, which came into effect January 1, will help patentees to negotiate and settle disputes over patent infringement, for example by reducing the risk of patentees being sued for ‘making threats’. Some small firms involved in an infringement dispute may now have their relatively weak financial position taken into account when the courts award costs.
For employees who create inventions as part of their work, the new Act has also simplified and improved the conditions under which they can enjoy an additional reward from their employers if the invention or patent is of ‘outstanding benefit’.
Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science & Innovation said: “It is important that patentees have the means to enforce their rights, and the new Act levels the playing field between large and small patentees in several key areas.”
Ron Marchant, chief executive of the Patent Office, believes that the Act “will be a boost for innovation and competition in the UK.”
The Patents Bill included changes mandated by the need to re-align UK patents legislation with the updated European Patent Convention (2000), as well as introducing the changes intended to help patentees enforce their rights and to modernise the patent system.