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Policy Formation

The second half of the twentieth century was inaugurated by the coming into force of the Patents Act (1949) and the Registered Designs Act 1949. The following decades were however characterised by consecutive attempts at law reform in all the branches of intellectual property law: copyright (Gregory Report, Copyright Act 1956, Whitford Report, Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), patents (Banks Report, Patents Act 1977), trade marks (Mathys Report) and designs (Johnston Committee, Whitford Committee). Many of the changes and reforms were triggered by the integration of the United Kingdom in the Common Market (later European Community and European Union) over the last four decades. While legal reform was often predicated upon bureaucratic processes that involved the setting up of committees, discussion documents and evidence-gathering instruments, it also and eventually took place as a response to particular fights, demonstrations and collective campaigns. Perhaps the most interesting among these was the ‘Public Lending Right’ campaign in the 1970s.