Scope of Review

The Review will examine all elements of the IP system, to ensure that it delivers incentives while minimising inefficiency. Specifically:

  • The way in which Government administers the awarding of IP and provides support to consumers and business. The award and observance of IP should be predictable and transparent, with minimal information costs and transaction costs for firms and citizens.
  • The way in which businesses and other organisations use IP. The structure of the IP framework should reflect the impact of economic and technological change on the nature of intellectual assets and their importance to businesses across different sectors.
  • How well businesses, other organisations and individuals are able to exchange and trade IP – in particular negotiating the complexity and expense of the copyright and patent systems, including copyright and patent licensing arrangements. Exchange of IP should be facilitated by accurate valuation, with no barriers in access to finance, and liquid markets.
  • How well businesses and others are able to challenge and enforce IP. Litigation and enforcement should be swift, efficient and judicious with the optimal mix of technical and legal measures. Businesses should be aware of the range of alternative methods to challenge and enforce IP such as mediation and alternative dispute resolution. These methods should be relatively inexpensive, swift, efficient and transparent.

Limitations on Scope of Review

The Government conducted a Review of Government Information in 2000, as part of the Cross-cutting Review of the Knowledge Economy, and has since implemented the EU Directive 2003/98/EC on the Re-use of Public Sector Information, 17 November 2003 through the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005.

We wish to make clear that Crown Copyright, Parliamentary Copyright, and the regulations governing Public Sector Information are therefore specifically outside the scope of the Gowers Review. However, it is likely that the Review will have relevance to public sector organisations, for example through its examination of copyright more generally, and of how IP is licensed and exchanged.

The Patent Office has conducted consultations on two specific intellectual property issues: the inventive step requirement in UK patent law and practice; and the way UK trade mark applications are examined on the basis of their potential conflict with earlier trade marks. Whilst these consultations have now closed, we wish to make clear that issues related to the inventive step and the registration of Trade Marks are not outside the scope of the Review.

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