Stealing registered designs and selling counterfeit products for profit will become a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has announced.

Confirmed in the Queen’s speech, the measure will provide designers of cars, smart phones, computers and other manufactured products with the same protection which prohibits the distribution of pirated DVDs and films.

The new bill is intended to ‘make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property’. The sanctions will cover only the deliberate copying, importing or marketing of designs for commercial gain that have been formally registered with either UK or EU authorities.

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