The UK legal system provides a high level of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement mechanisms that are comparable to those available in the United States. The country is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the major intellectual property protection agreements: the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Geneva Phonograms Convention, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. It has signed and enshrined into UK law the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), known as the internet treaties.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patents, designs, trademarks, and copyright. Its website contains comprehensive information on UK law and practice.
IP lawyers are abundant in the United Kingdom; virtually every major U.S. law firm operates in the London market. For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles.
The British government tracks and reports seizures of counterfeit goods and regards their production and subsequent sale as a criminal act. The IPO’s annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report highlights the incidence of IP crime and the harm caused to the UK economy.
The Special 301 Report is an annual, congressionally mandated review of the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. It is conducted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to identify countries with commercial environments possibly harmful to intellectual property. The UK is not on the list.
In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. For background, please link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov for more resources. For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director Stevan Mitchell at Stevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.
IP Attaché Contact European Union
Rachel Bae, U.S. Mission to the European Union
Boulevard du Régent 27
Telephone: +32 2-811-5308
To access the United Kingdom Investment Climate Statement, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.