Patents Updated for New Century

Article excerpt

Many of the key features of the Patents Act 2004, which modernises and improves patent law, came into force at the beginning of this year.

The changes 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 financial position taken into account when the courts award costs.

And for employees who create inventions as part of their work, the new Act has 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 and Innovation, said: "The Patents Act 2004 is a vital part of the Government's commitment to provide UK businesses and innovators with an intellectual property system which serves their needs.

"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. …