Advice For Business

Intellectual Property (IP) Disputes

A major asset of your business is your Intellectual property (IP). IP rights can be automatic (copyright, design rights or database rights) or require registration (registered trademarks, patents and registered designs).

Protecting your IP rights is important to your business:

If you suspect that  your IP rights have been infringed you should take immediate legal advice as to whether an infringement has taken place and the recourse available. If  your rights have been infringed there is a  procedure which must be followed.

Firstly engage with the other side who you believe have infringed your rights. If an infringement is established, you must attempt to reach a mutually satisfying compromise – whether this is altering a logo or name, changing colour schemes or amending a design.

If an agreement cannot be achieved,  our Litigation team will write to the offending party instructing them to desist immediately, otherwise proceedings will be commenced.

If proceedings become necessary, remedies available include injunctions, delivery or destruction of all offending items or damages.

A new small claims track has been introduced to the Patents County Court, which will make it cheaper, quicker and easier, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, to protect IP rights. This will let copyright, trademark and unregistered design holders pursue basic IP disputes at an informal hearing, without legal representation. Claims will be subject to maximum damages of £5,000.

At Pearson Legal we are able to advise you as to what rights you have and if you suspect those rights have been infringed, we are able to advise you fully on the best course of action including Injunctive relief where necessary to protect those rights.

Passing off is an action in tort to enforce rights in an unregistered trademark. Where another business / person is misrepresenting their goods or services as being those of your own then you may have a cause of action for passing off to prevent them from doing so.

An action for passing off protects the goodwill of a business from a misrepresentation that causes damage to that goodwill.

Some of our recent cases:

Representing Defendant company in the Patents County Court in defending injunction proceedings for alleged passing off relating to website material. Settlement achieved prior to first hearing limiting clients exposure to costs and damages.

Representing international company in respect of breach of registered trademark.

Acting for former employee of company in respect of allegation of breach of design right.  Successfully defending injunction proceedings and substantial claim for damages until settlement reached in terms that enabled client to remain in business.

Representing a large national company in relation to claims in relation to passing off.