New Review of IP Announced

Government Instructs Gowers to Review Existing Intellectual Property Framework

At today’s Advancing Enterprise Conference the Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that the Government was initiating an independent review of the existing intellectual property systems in the UK.

The review is to be headed by Andrew Gowers, a former editor of the Financial Times, and will consider the performance of the UK IP system, including:

  • the way in which Government administers the awarding of IP and their support to consumers and business;
  • how well businesses are able to negotiate the complexity and expense of the copyright and patent system, including copyright and patent licensing arrangements, litigation and enforcement;
  • whether the current technical and legal IP infringement framework reflects the digital environment;
  • whether provisions for ‘fair use’ by citizens are reasonable; and
  • whether the current term of copyright protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights is appropriate.

In announcing the review, Gordon Brown made clear suggesting legal reforms was within the remit of the review saying: 

“… because of the importance of a strong and clear regime of intellectual property law to the location and development of companies in the UK, I am asking Andrew Gowers, former editor of the Financial Times, to consult with business and advise us on any updating of the law necessary.”

The statement on HM Treasury website notes that the Labour Party manifesto included a commitment to “modernise copyright and other forms of intellectual property so that they are appropriate for the digital age”.

The Gowers Review will report to the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in Autumn 2006.

Further details of the review team will be announced on the Gowers Review webpage below shortly.