David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, has announced another review of IP law saying “The founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain. The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the USA” adding “Over there, they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services. So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age.” A Press Release said that the Review will develop proposals on how the UK’s intellectual property framework can further promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth and social and commercial innovation. It will examine the available evidence as to how far the IP framework currently promotes these objectives, drawing on US and European as well as UK experience, and focusing in particular on:
. Identification of barriers to growth in the IP system, and how to overcome them;
. How the IP framework could better enable new business models appropriate to the digital age.
Among the subjects to which the Review is expected to bring this perspective are:
. IP and barriers to new internet-based business models, including information access, costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders, and investigating what are the benefits of “fair use” exceptions to copyright and how these might be achieved in the UK;
. The cost and complexity of enforcing IP rights within the UK and internationally;
. The interaction of the IP and Competition frameworks;
. The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing IP services to help them to protect and exploit IP.
The Review will make recommendations:
. on how the IP system nationally and internationally can best work to promote innovation and growth in the 21st century with a view to setting the agenda for the long term;
. on what short and medium term measures can be taken now within the international framework to give the UK a competitive advantage.
The Review will report to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by April 2011.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has also announced that Professor Ian Hargreaves (Cardiff Business School) is to lead an independent review into “how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation”. It will look at
• barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
• the cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
• the interaction between IP and competition frameworks;
• The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.