Patents Act 2004: commencement of new provisions

United Kingdom

The Patents Act 2004 (the "Act") makes changes to the Patents Act 1977, the main UK legislation on patents. The Act is only partially in force. Among its provisions are:

  • changes to the regime governing employee compensation designed to make it easier for employees to recover compensation;
  • new provisions on threats, intended to make it easier for patentees who suspect their patent is being infringed to gather information about the infringement without opening themselves to threats proceedings; and
  • new rules regarding costs in infringement proceedings.

The Patents Act 2004 (Commencement No 2 and Consequential, etc. and Transitional Provisions) Order 2004 (the "Order") brings these elements of the Act into force with effect from 1 January 2005. Note that the changes are not retrospective, so proceedings commenced before 1 January 2005 will be governed by the existing threats and costs provisions, and employee inventions for which patent applications are made before that date will be governed by the existing employee compensation regime.

For the full text of the Order please click here.