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Intellectual Property plays an important part in the activities of many of our commercial clients. It can be a valuable right for a business, and action may need to be taken to protect such rights.
On the other hand, a business can find itself on the receiving end of threats relating to alleged intellectual property infringement of another party’s rights. This is becoming more commonplace as businesses are protecting more rights and taking action to enforce them.
What type of intellectual rights are there?
Patent – This is a registered right which protects the way in which something works, what it does and how it does it. Inventions are often protected by patent. A registered patent allows the patent holder to stop others infringing the design in the relevant territory.
Trade Mark – This is a registered right which can be an image or word. Registration provides a right in the image or word, so that if there is use by another party there may be a claim for infringement.
Design Right – This is a right which protects the overall way something looks. A design right can be registered or unregistered.
Copyright – This is a right where a person creates something original whether it be a work of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, typographical, recording or broadcast.
Passing off – This is not an intellectual property right as such but a claim that can be brought where a party is using an unregistered name, mark, logo or get up. To bring a claim of passing off it is necessary to establish that: there is goodwill or reputation attached to the goods or services; that there has been misrepresentation by the defendant to the public and damage must have occurred.
What action can be taken in cases of infringement of intellectual property rights?
Enforcement is usually a civil matter and proceedings can be pursued either through the Patents County Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court or the High Court. These cases sometimes involve the need to bring or defend an injunction application to restrain a party from continuing the alleged breach until the trial of the case.
It is important to take advice where you suspect that a party is infringing your intellectual property.
We regularly act in matters where we are asserting our clients rights, and in matters where we are defending our clients in claims for infringement.
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If you would like a no obligation chat, please feel free to contact a qualified conveyancing solicitor.