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Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill [HL]

Volume 777: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2016

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, before moving the Motion, I should like to take a moment to reflect on the Bill and to say thank you. This is a small Bill of limited scope, but we have taken steps to ensure that it will work effectively for businesses whether in physical or online environments. I want to record my thanks to the Law Commission for bringing its great expertise to this most technical of subjects. Along with the Scottish Law Commission, it played a key role in the development of the legislation.

This has been a delightful new experience for me. It gave an opportunity to see the benefit of the Law Commission special procedure, which ensured that there was both a wide-ranging debate on the key issues and a robust examination of the Bill. The evidence sessions in particular provided access to a rich seam of expertise, and the procedure, having worked as intended, has produced a Bill that is much the better for it. This is a valuable route for much-needed and uncontroversial reform, and the Law Commission has asked me to express its gratitude to the House for the time and care it has given to undertaking its work. That is perhaps code for our careful scrutiny and the amendments we made.

I should also like to take the opportunity to put on the record our thanks to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville of Newdigate, for his chairmanship of the Special Public Bill Committee, as well as our thanks to our excellent clerk. I am grateful to all noble Lords for their polite, considered and probing questions. In particular, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, for his constructive approach, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles of Berkhamsted, for bringing her expertise to our deliberations. I also thank my noble friend Lady Wilcox, a former IP Minister, for her doughty championship of small businesses, along with our Whip, my noble friend Lady Mobarik.

Because of the structure of the Bill, we enjoyed not only the usual groups of amendments but vast families of amendments—a phrase coined by the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles—across the various IP rights. Some of these families were quite large and, like any family, not always easy for outsiders to understand. Some of the families also appeared to be happier than others, but I would observe that we successfully manoeuvred our way through all the complexities.

I finish by putting on the record my thanks to the Bill team, the Intellectual Property Office and my private office officials for their support throughout the process. I believe that the Bill is being sent to the other place in great shape. I beg to move.

My Lords, I should like briefly to echo the words of the Minister. This Bill has been a good experience and a novel and, for me, different way of doing Bills—something we might learn from, in fact, as we go forward. The Minister said that there were families of amendments, which was certainly true; and we became a little family as we tried to deal with the rather odd way in which the Bill is organised. That was because, every time we looked at one area, we discovered that we would have to amend the Bill in every other clause as well. We were in some danger of extending the small coterie of your Lordships who actually like IP matters, but that is a danger which I think not many would survive.

Like the Minister, I thank all those who gave evidence both in writing and in person. It was a rich and interesting experience. The Special Public Bill Committee worked very hard, and I would particularly like to thank, in addition to our chairman, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville of Newdigate, the representatives from the Labour side, my noble friends Lord Plant of Highfield and Lord Hanworth, who served a noble part on the Committee. I also echo the Minister’s thanks to the Intellectual Property Office and the Law Commission. Lastly, I thank the Minister. She has been rather modest in saying that we had improved the Bill; actually, it was she who took on the burden of heavy lifting not only by daring to go back to her own department and other departments to get clearance for various things, but also by taking on, in full measure, the Law Commission itself—and winning.

My Lords, I wish to intervene only briefly in the absence of my noble friend Lady Bowles of Berkhamsted. From the updates she has given me regularly and from reading Hansard, she certainly proved more than a match for the Law Commission in many respects, and indeed she helped to inform the Government as the Bill went through. I know she feels that the Bill is now in a much more satisfactory form than it was when it arrived, and I thank the Minister for the amendments that were made in the course of its passage.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.