FAST says Brussels Review of IP laws needs to be handled with care

03 Jun, 2011

The European Union’s announcement that it intends to review and update the intellectual property rights regime could not have come at a more delicate time, according to the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST, said: “We strongly feel that the Commission is right in looking at the current intellectual property system across Europe given the speed at which technology has moved on in recent years, but this must only be with consideration for improvement rather than disruption.

This is in the context of the UK as well as European IP agenda. The Government has only just received the Hargreaves Review into IP and has yet to respond to that. Furthermore careful consideration has to be given to the anti piracy provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010. The irony here is that Hargreaves has made a number of recommendations that appeared in the Gowers Review which dates from 2006,” he continued.

“One other point needs to be borne in mind. We are still waiting for the UK Government to implement Article 4 of the Enforcement Directive, which would have promoted self-help enforcement by industry in dealing with piracy. My point here is that no matter what overarching direction we receive from Europe on IP, there is no guarantee it will be enacted here in the UK!” he continued.

“There is little argument that currently the IP framework strategy needs to remain focused on patents, trademarks and copyright. However, there is definitely a natural concern over what the result may be. Be careful what you wish for. We have the gold standard to a large degree in the UK and there must not be an adverse impact on the UK software industry,” he concluded.

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