Intellectual property

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on intellectual property. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

01.07.2013Digital Economy Act 2010: Copyright
The Digital Economy Act 2010 received Royal Assent at the very end of the last Parliament. Sections 3 to 18 of the Act cover online infringement of copyright. Several provisions have proved controversial and have not yet been implemented.
17.05.2013The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property
This note considers, on the basis of published Impact Assessments, which of the Hargreaves recommendations would require primary, and which secondary, legislation. At Committee stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13, the Government added two new clauses to the Bill which appear to be a first move toward implementing Hargreaves. These enabling measures, affecting so-called 'orphan works' and extended collective licensing, are now enshrined in the 2013 Act but will not take effect until the necessary regulations have been developed, opened to public consultation and approved by Parliament.
14.03.2013Music in public: copyright licensing
Performing, showing or playing a musical work in public is a 'restricted act' under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Public performances of recorded music generally require two licences, one from the Performing Right Society and one from PPL.
08.03.2012The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
This note provides a brief overview of the controversy and includes a summary of the final text of the agreement.
30.06.2011Copyright online
The online world and those who inhabit it throw up challenges to the legitimacy of copyright law and the methods and effectiveness of enforcing it.

Research Papers

10.03.2014Intellectual Property Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report
The Intellectual Poperty Bill would simplify and clarify design protection and ownership, with the aim of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. It would introduce new criminal penalties for copying of UK registered designs, facilitate the UK's joining the international Hague Agreement, and provide for a new design opinions service. It would also allow for the creation of a Unified Patent Court and the international sharing of information on patents. In addition, there is provision for a research exemption from freedom of information law and for greater accountability on the part of the Intellectual Property Office.
05.12.2013Intellectual Property Bill [HL]
The Intellectual Property Bill [HL] (Bill 102 of session 2013-14) was introduced into the House of Lords on 9 May 2013, where it received Second Reading on 22 May. It completed its parliamentary stages in the upper house on 30 July and was passed to the Commons, where it received First Reading on 29 August. This Research Paper has been produced to inform the Second Reading debate in the Commons, which is scheduled for 9 December 2013.
03.10.2012Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the Public Bill Committee Stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. It is designed to complement the Research Paper Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (RP 12/33), which covers in more detail the background to the Bill
07.06.2012Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill introduces reforms in a number of areas.
29.03.2010Digital Economy Bill [HL]
The Bill implements aspects of Government policy on digital media set out in the 'Digital Britain' White Paper published in June 2009. It requires Ofcom to report on communications infrastructure and media content and gives it additional powers in relation to electromagnetic spectrum access. It imposes obligations on internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement and allows the Secretary of State to intervene in internet domain name registration. The Bill requires Channel Four to provide public service content on a range of media and allows variation of the public service provision in Channel 3 and 5 licences. It also modifies the licensing regime to facilitate switchover to digital radio, extends the range of video games that are subject to age-related classification and includes non-print formats in the public lending right payment scheme.

Early Day Motions

That this House notes the proposals in the consultation on the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property which relate to orphan works, extended collective licensing models and the ...
That this Housewelcomes the extension of musicians' copyright term from 50 to 70 years agreed by the EU on 12 September 2011; believes that this will bring a fairer reward to many thousands ...
That this House is deeply concerned by the secrecy surrounding international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); notes that any agreement reached could affect ...
That this House notes with concern the Government's proposals on file sharing which would allow rights holders to request internet service providers to disconnect for a period of time, ...
That this House notes that 26 April 2009 was World Intellectual Property Day; welcomes this year's focus on green innovation; celebrates the enormous contribution intellectual property ...

Lords Library Notes

09.11.2012Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (HL Bill 45 of 2012-13)
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill includes measures for changes to competition policy, to employment law, and for reducing regulation, as well as provisions on the Green Investment Bank, directors' remuneration, copyright and planning. This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.
28.10.2011Debate on 3 November: The Creative Industries
This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate on the importance of the creative industries in the United Kingdom.

POST Papers

15.06.2012GM in Agricultural Development
Almost 2 billion people suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The UK funds research into genetic modification (GM) as one option for agricultural development. This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and challenges of using genetically modified crops to improve food security in developing countries.
03.02.2012Biomedical Patents
This POSTnote considers how patent law is applied to biomedical inventions and examines the potential impact on patient access to diagnostic tests and innovation.
01.11.1992Patenting Human DNA
This POSTnote considers the arguments surrounding the patenting of human DNA and the issues raised.
01.12.1991Legal protection of software
This POSTnote examines the EC Directive's potential impact on the software industry and related issues. POSTnote 30. POST. 1991.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses