Our intellectual property solicitors advise businesses and individuals on how to manage, protect and exploit the intellectual property they have developed within brands, inventions, designs, know-how and literary, artistic and musical works.
In many instances, the first step for our clients is working with us to identify the IP used and owned by their business as it can be complex and include many aspects of your business, your brand name, logo and even your reputation in the marketplace.
Some IP rights arise automatically but others (and in particular stronger, more easily enforceable forms of protection) need to be registered at the appropriate Intellectual Property Office. You can see more detail on the different types of intellectual property here.
Dealing with intellectual property infringements
“Infringement is a legal term for an act that means breaking a law”: Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual property rights will be infringed when a creation or work which is protected by law is used, copied or exploited without the consent of the creator, designer, inventor or owner. It is vital to take early advice from a specialist solicitor as soon as you become aware of a potential infringement or that you may be infringing someone else’s intellectual property rights.
If infringement occurs there are several remedies may be available from the Courts, or within settlement terms, including:
- an injunction to prevent future infringement;
- compensation for the infringing activity based either on the loss suffered by the owner or the profits made by the infringer;
- destruction or delivery up of the infringing materials or articles; and
- publication of the judgment in relevant trade press.
Subject to some exceptions, trademark infringement occurs when a third party, without the permission or consent of the registered trademark owner uses the mark in the course of trade or business.
Brands are the guardians of a company’s reputation and thus very valuable rights. Registering elements of the branding as trademarks gives the brand legal protection and will prevent others from compromising it by using any of the elements that have been registered.
Copyright infringement takes place when a third party uses any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner without their consent. Copyright is a valuable commercial asset.
We can work with you to protect your work in the digital space and offline. We have helped businesses enforce copyright and sell and license copyright.
Patent infringement occurs where a person that does any of the acts listed in the Patents Act 1977 including making, using or selling the invention without permission or consent of the patent owner.
We have been helping clients across a number of different sectors, from advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses to music and software publishers, to protect their patented inventions.
Design right infringements
Design rights and registered design infringements
Design right and registered design infringement occurs where a person, without consent, does any of the acts that are the exclusive right of the design owner.
The legal protection for product designs is all about the physical appearance of the whole or part of a product. How an inventive product works and the branding applied to a product may be protected by different intellectual property rights, namely patents and trade marks respectively.
Criminal IP infringements
Criminal intellectual property infringements
The deliberate infringement of trade marks, copyright and designs can be a criminal offence as well as a civil law matter, enforceable in the UK by Trading Standards. These are more commonly known as “IP crime” or “counterfeiting” and “piracy”.
Intellectual property portfolios
Dealing with intellectual property portfolios
Just like other forms of property, IP rights can be bought and sold, or licensed to third parties. Our solicitors can help with the drafting of assignment, licence or mortgage documentation as well as the management of your IP portfolios and registration of UK and EU trade marks.
In corporate mergers and acquisitions it is vital to ensure that the purchaser understands and is acquiring all of the IP rights which go with the target business.
Our team of intellectual property specialists have particular recent experience in these sectors:
Media, entertainment & creative
- We have advised music producers and DVD distributors on various matters including trade mark and copyright infringements, clearance of photographic works, PRS & PPL licensing and related issues.
- We acted in numerous disputes relating to photographic copyright including claims brought by professional photographers and internationally renowned businesses in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (formerly the Patents County Court).
- We have also advised on copyright issues in an Edwardian polar explorer’s memoirs and other books as well as celebrity image rights
- We have acted for applicants and opponents in trade mark oppositions in the Intellectual Property Office and the High Court
- We have acted in proceedings in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court relating to an alleged trademark infringement involving Google AdWords.
- We have advised on various domain name disputes, including the published WIPO panelist decision in redspottedhankie.com.
- We have acted for a software games business in a dispute in the High Court over the ownership of intellectual property rights in a gaming application.
- We have advised various mobile application developers on issues including copyright, trademarks and branding, patentability and software licence terms.
- We have acted in High Court proceedings for an international software house in a claim involving confidential information, database right, copyright and trade mark infringement against a former employee and his new employer.
- Fibrefab Limited v. Charis Charalambous, Code Eleven D2016-2362 (WIPO Administrative Panel decision, January 2017)
- Fibrefab Limited v. Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. / Constantinos Shiakallis D2016-2259 (WIPO Administrative Panel decision, January 2017)
- Warwickshire Oil Storage Limited v. WWOSLTD D2016-1482 (WIPO Administrative Panel decision, September 2016)
- Infringer who originally offered £150 forced to pay £20,000 in settlement
- Atos IT Services UK Limited v Above.com Domain Privacy / Nish Patel D2013-0655 (WIPO Administrative Panel decision, July 2013)
- Sheldon v Daybrook House Promotions Limited  EWPCC 26
- Temple Island Collections Limited v New English Teas Limited  EWPCC 1
- Meridian International Services Limited v Richardson  EWCA Civ 609
- Woodhouse UK Plc v Architectural Lighting Systems  R.P.C. 1
If you'd like a no obligation discussion with our intellectual property solicitors please give us a call on 01926 886688