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Intellectual Property Disputes
If you believe that your business's intellectual property is being infringed, it is imperative you seek expert legal help as soon as possible to ensure your rights are being protected. The intellectual property solicitors at JMW will provide the expert legal guidance you require to minimise any damage to your commercial interests.
A range of remedies are available for targets of intellectual property infringement, including damages. JMW’s commercial lawyers are highly experienced in intellectual property litigation and can provide tailored advice to ensure you secure the best and most favourable outcome.
To discuss your options and answer any questions you may have, call our intellectual property dispute lawyers on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.
How JMW Can Help
JMW's solicitors will provide as much guidance and advice as you need on any intellectual property matters. As this is an area of law that is often highly complex, we will work to ensure you fully understand your rights and the options available to you.
Our team is highly regarded throughout the UK, and we offer a personalised service to make sure all of your needs are met. Our team of intellectual property solicitors are vastly experienced in the protection of business assets and will fight to protect your interests.
Our services encompass a wide variety of intellectual property disputes, including:
- Trade mark infringements
- Brand infringements
- Trade mark registry disputes
- Website/domain name disputes
- Copyright infringements and disputes
- Database rights infringements
- Registered and unregistered design rights
- Breaches of confidential information
We can advise on what rights apply in any given circumstances, how to ensure they are protected, and what to do in the unfortunate event that things go wrong. Our team is dynamic and places emphasis on understanding our clients' specific needs, meaning we are able to handle the most complex of intellectual property disputes.
What is trademark infringement?
Trademark infringement occurs if another party, in the course of trade, uses a sign that is identical or similar to your brand in relation to similar (and even dissimilar) goods or services.
Well-known brands are frequently targets for this type of activity, with disingenuous competitors offering poor-quality or inferior substitute goods and services. When this happens, businesses can pursue legal action to protect their trademark and brand reputation.
What is copyright infringement?
Copyright is the right that prevents anyone from copying, or even being inspired by, your work. This protection comes into effect automatically whenever a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is created, as well as recorded sounds, films or broadcasts.
Through copyright laws, third parties are prohibited from:
- copying your work
- distributing copies of your intellectual property, whether for free or for profit
- renting or lending copies of your work
- adapting, performing, showing or playing your work in public
- putting your work on the internet
If any of these are done without your permission, you may be able to make a copyright infringement claim.
What are registered/unregistered design rights?
Design rights refer to the legal protection available to the owner of an item regarding its physical appearance or design, whether it has been made for industrial use or by handcraft. Laws exist to protect the owner of an item from design right infringements or other misuse of their product.
Unregistered design rights are provided automatically for patterns and three-dimensional designs, in a similar manner to copyright protection. However, businesses can also register their design rights with the Intellectual Property Office for a higher level and longer lasting legal protection.
What are website/domain name disputes?
A website or domain name is a piece of intellectual property that is vital to your online identity and marketing. A legal case can be launched when another user has created an online asset that violates trademark or copyright laws, or when they have registered a domain name for cybersquatting or other abusive purposes.
Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible to ensure you are fully protected and your business’s success is not put in jeopardy.
What is a database rights infringement?
Almost all businesses retain a database of key information, such as private details about customers or accounts, that must be kept safe and confidential. If you suspect a competitor has accessed private information or an employee has used information for their personal gain, it may be possible to launch an intellectual property dispute.
Your database rights are infringed if someone who is not the owner of it extracts or reuses a substantial part of its contents without permission. This could include making a paper copy, emailing its contents to any other person or publicising any part of the database.
Do I have a database that can be protected?
Database rights can be used to protect contact cards, customer lists, mailing lists, directories, timetables and order histories, regardless of whether they exist in paper or electronic form.
In order to qualify, the database must meet the following criteria:
- A collection of independent works, data or other materials - the data itself must have been taken from an independent source, ie it must be data that already exists
- Arranged systematically/methodically and individually accessible - protected databases can be arranged by alphabetical order, customer number order or by geographical area, for example, and entries should be accessible individually when necessary
- Substantial investment in the contents - this can relate to the quality or quantity of the data, labour time, cost or the use of technology to assemble the database. As such, most databases of any value will be protected under this definition
Who owns the rights to a database, and how long do they last?
Database rights arise automatically and are owned by the person who takes effective responsibility for putting together the database. Anything created during the course of employment is likely to be owned by the employer.
Licences may be given to others to use the database, but this does not usually mean the ownership will pass from the original owner.
Database rights last for 15 years from the date of creation, but can be valid for much longer if the data is being continually reviewed and updated.
What is a breach of confidential information?
A business’s confidential information is a vital asset, and the leaking of this data can damage the organisation’s competitive position and profitability. When this occurs, an intellectual property dispute may be launched.
In a world where information can be distributed in an instant via digital communication and media, the risk of confidential data falling into the wrong hands has risen. Most businesses will invest time, money and resources to develop business-critical data, which should be protected fiercely from misuse, just as any business would take measures to protect its physical assets.
Talk to Us
Speak to the expert solicitors at JMW about any intellectual property litigation matter today. Call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Partner and Head of Department
Commercial Litigation/Corporate Recovery and Insolvency