Trade Marks Bill will save pounds 30m: Stronger protection for firms

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The Independent Online
BRITISH industry will be saved pounds 30m a year through the enactment of the Trade Marks Bill, which was published yesterday, writes Mary Fagan.

The Department of Trade and Industry said that much of the saving would come from simplified procedures in registering trade marks and fewer dealings between companies and the patent office.

The Bill will also make it easier and cheaper for businesses to protect their trade marks overseas, as it allows the UK to ratify the Madrid Protocol on the international registration of marks.

Under the new legislation, companies will be able to register shapes and place names, as long as they are distinctive. This means that the Coca- Cola bottle could be registered but an ordinary wine bottle could not.

The Bill will also give companies wider rights against infringements and counterfeiting.

The Bill replaces legislation from 1938, which has been updated in a piecemeal fashion, and is widely criticised for being complex and unwieldy.

Patrick McLaughlin, the trade and industry minister, said: 'Business has made it clear to us that it wants this Bill and has lobbied hard to get it. Trade marks are among a company's most valuable assets. Some have been valued in balance sheets at hundreds of millions of pounds.'