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Intellectual Property Disputes
If you believe that your or your business's intellectual property is being infringed, it is imperative you seek expert legal help as soon as possible. You may be entitled to a range of remedies for intellectual property infringement, including damages. The solicitors at JMW are highly experienced in intellectual property litigation and can provide the expert guidance you need to secure a favourable outcome.
Contact our team today to speak about your situation in more depth. We can discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
The confidential information of a business is a vital asset and this has become increasingly true in a world where information can be distributed in an instant via digital communication and media. Most businesses will invest time, money and resources to develop the confidential information that is often a key part of its operations. This information should be protected fiercely from misuse, just as any business would take measures to protect its physical assets.
Copyright is the right to prevent anyone from copying or acting on your work. This usually includes literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, as well as recorded sounds, films or broadcasts. When certain criteria is met, work is usually automatically copyrighted; however, it is always advisable to check whether you are protected.
Data is held and used as part of almost all businesses, and it can be the key element that helps your business to grow and succeed. In most cases, it is important for vital business information, such as private details about customers or accounts, to be kept safe and confidential. If you are involved in a dispute over data, whether you suspect a competitor has accessed private information or an employee has used information for their personal gain, we can help.
Over time, and as your business grows, you can accumulate a lot of knowledge about your customers and their likely needs. Any such information that can be reviewed and searched is likely to be extremely valuable to your business and could be one of your biggest commercial assets. With this in mind, the damage it could cause to you if it were to get into the hands of a competitor is clear.
Database rights protect a collection of independent works, data or other materials that:
- Are arranged in a systematic or methodical way
- Are individually accessible by electronic or other means
It should also be demonstrated that there has been a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the database. Database rights can protect contact cards, customer lists, mailing lists, directories, timetables and order histories, regardless of whether they exist in paper or electronic form.
Your database rights are infringed if someone who is not the owner of it extracts or reuses all or a substantial part of its contents without your permission. This could include making a paper copy, emailing its contents to any other person or publicising any part of the database. A substantial part could be a significantly large part or could be a small, but valuable, part.
Do I have a database that can be protected?
Independent works: The data itself must have been taken from an independent source, i.e. it must be data that already exists
Arranged systematically/methodically and individually accessible: It could be arranged in alphabetical order, customer number order or by geographical area, for example. If it is of use to your business, it is likely to be arranged in a way that fits this description and, if it is arranged in this way, you will be able to access its individual entries
Substantial investment in the contents: The creation of a customer list or other database of any value to your business is likely to have taken the investment of time and money. The requirement for that investment to be substantial can be in terms of quality or quantity and can relate to labour time, cost or the use of technology, which in essence means most databases of any value will be included
Who owns the right?
The right arises automatically and is owned by the person who in effect takes 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 have passed from the first owner.
How long does the right last?
The database right lasts for 15 years from the date of its creation, but can last much longer if the data is being continually reviewed and updated.
Design rights refer to the legal protection available to the owner of an item, regarding that item's physical appearance or design (either made for industrial use or by handcraft). Laws exist to protect the owner of an item from design right infringement or other misuse of their product. If you are involved in a dispute over design rights, JMW's expert solicitors can help you to bring the situation to a resolution.
Trademark infringement occurs if another party, in the course of trade, uses a sign that is substantially identical and confusable with, or deceptively similar to, a trademark already in use. Well-known brands are frequently targets for this type of activity with disingenuous competitors offering poor quality or inferior substitute goods and services.
A website or domain name is a piece of intellectual property that is vital to your online identity and marketing. 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.
JMW's solicitors will provide as much guidance and advice as you need on any intellectual property matters, ensuring 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.
We have a team of people here who are vastly experienced in the protection of business assets and will fight to protect your interests. 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, and can handle the most complex of intellectual property disputes.