The headline news for 1st October was the abolition of that national institution, the tax disc. But the beginning of October also marked a raft of changes in UK law including an increase in the minimum wage, changes to inheritance tax rules and the phone number changes we wrote about in our article “dialling the code.”
With so many changes going on, it is easy for some to slip under the radar. One such is the change to intellectual property (IP) laws. Designed to bring IP legislation into the digital age the new regulations include a change in ownership of designs, changes to copyright regulations and new rules for patents.
The change to patent law is interesting in that it acknowledges the impact and universality of web sites. Up until 1st October, patent information had to be clearly marked on the product. Now a web address is all that is required, as long as the link takes the viewer to a web page which clearly displays the relevant information. Interestingly the Patent Office has said that use of QR codes is not sufficient as some members of the public don’t have access to the relevant technology.
In itself the change to patent law may be a small one but it marks a creeping change in the way in which internet technology is taking over everyday actions. In our own field the use of VoIP, otherwise known as internet telephony or internet phoning, has moved from being the exception to being a widely accepted business practice. It’s not surprising really when you think about it. VoIP calls are generally cheaper than landline calls and some VoIP to VoIP calls are free. So, for example, a business which sets up its outlying offices on VoIP can make as many inter-company calls as it wishes for no charge. Persuade suppliers to join the same IP network and calls to them become free as well.
Even if suppliers, customers and others don’t have VoIP capability, calls from VoIP to landline can still prove more cost effective than calls between landlines. Subject to bandwidth, businesses can add as many VoIP connections as they wish, whilst organisations which like to fix costs may well decide to opt for VoipInclusive which offers a package of calls, equipment and switchboard for a set price.
The pace of technological change results in a marketplace which is evolving rapidly. It may take time for regulation to keep up with the potential for change but those businesses which take advantage of new technologies can help themselves and their customers to stay at the front of the game.