Intellectual Property Infringement

This brief article will show you how to give your intellectual property protective custody and prevent common infringements. In plain English without legal jargon and with practical examples.

We’ll point the finger at the top infringers inside and outside your organisation, and show you how to reduce and remove the Magpies who pick up and fly off with your IP.

Intellectual Property Custody & Infringement

Hello my name’s Clive Bonny. I’m an independent Strategic IP Advisor. I work closely with Clean Growth UK and offer funded support for early-stage enterprises and high growth businesses.

This brief article will show you how to give your intellectual property protective custody and prevent common infringements. In plain English without legal jargon and with practical examples.

We’ll point the finger at the top infringers inside and outside your organisation, and show you how to reduce and remove the Magpies who pick up and fly off with your IP.

Let’s start by saying that IP is the biggest hidden asset of most firms. It’s hidden because like an iceberg most of it is below the surface of people’s consciousness. Cloud software and IT hardware stores your data on clients, suppliers, staff, accounts and security codes. Market attitudes on your brand reputation aren’t easy to see. Competitors are often below the radar. Protecting your IP will help you to build and grow your business assets.

Infringers are best tackled if you’ve already registered your IP ownership with the Intellectual Property Office known as IPO. Your car or home is registered with an online agency to ensure only you can buy and sell these assets. The same applies to innovative brand names, logos, visual designs, sounds, colours and written narratives.

A UK trademark application fee starts at £170 for ten years protection. An application to register 10 UK designs costs £60 for 5 years protection.

 

Before applying to register please always include an IP database search to ensure others aren’t trading with confusingly similar brands in your sector. If your planned brand is already registered or used by a competing supplier that search can prevent you infringing them.

An infringement claim can add up to four-figure sum in court costs plus an even bigger claim on your historical profits. A brief search upfront prevents expensive infringement costs and very damaging PR.

If you trade B2C online using eBay, Etsy Marketplace or Amazon you can email your trademark certificates to them to prevent copycats using your name or logos.

A registered trademark also gives you ownership of associated website domain names. You can prevent competitors from using those and stop them buying google Adwords to obtain online enquiries meant for you.

Your registered IP also allows you to enlist the support of public-funded consumer protection bodies and police to chase down fraudsters on your behalf.

Design registrations are very affordable especially as you can renew up to 25 years and a single application can protect multiple variations of a design. This reduces infringement risks by copycats with similar derivatives.

Patent infringements are more complex requiring subject matter experts. The good news is that the IPO offer an objective patent infringement opinion service for just £200. This can mitigate higher costs involving opposing party attorneys. 

An alternative dispute resolution process to avoid adversarial and costly legal action is mediation. This involves a certified mediator to help parties reach mutual agreement without court costs or public embarrassment. Some qualified IP advisors are also qualified mediators. This confidential collegiate approach often reduces time and costs by over 50%. I’ve mediated trademark infringements successfully within one day.   

Infringers are not always external parties so let me mention measures to plug IP leaks inside your business.

Non-disclosure agreements for everyone from Director shareholders to subcontracted part-time staff; Data security procedures for home-workers and mobile staff; social media policies to avoid IT hackers; training for new joiners and exit cautions for leavers. Be firm and fair about your IP risks.   

Finally, let’s look at an example of a real start-up business with a range of measures to stop infringement.

Passiv Pod designs zero carbon accommodation. All contracts include confidentiality clauses. The website shows copyrights, trademark certificates, and design registrations with multiple design variations registered to stop copycats and a clear message about infringement. The-Passiv-Pod brand name is registered as words and logos in different colours. Their slogan “ahead of a curve” is also trademarked. They have filed protection in UK and EU where they plan to trade and have the written endorsement of qualified IP attorneys on their website www.passivpod.co.uk .

In summary, my 6 top tips are

1 You can protect your most valuable asset from infringers inside and outside your business with a belt and braces approach.

2 Search IP databases before you apply for protection to avoid infringing others

3 Trademark and design Registration are affordable and give you first-class protection

4 Show your registrations to others to prevent and deter infringers

5 Explore alternative dispute resolution before adversarial court proceedings

6 Learn from others who are endorsed by the experts

Thanks for your interest!

We can offer free IP reviews and welcome enquiries

Clive Bonny tele 01273 308865

https://consult-smp.com/check-invest/ip-asset-review 

https://consult-smp.com/archive/2017/01/protecting-intellectual-property-ip-mediation.html