Intellectual property at a glance
- Patents, trademarks, copyright, designs & trade secrets in their national, EU and international contexts.
- Trademarks principally indicate the origin of goods or services. They can be protected in the UK through either passing off or registration. The choices for registration are a UK or a Community trade mark or international registration.
- A registered trademark may afford protection against use of the same or a similar sign for the same, similar or dissimilar goods or services.
- Patents confer monopoly rights in inventions. The invention must be new, inventive, capable of industrial application and not excluded.
- Patents must be licensed in accordance with the Block Exemption on Technology Transfer Agreements. They may be subject to compulsory licences and Crown use.
- Copyright subsists in works not ideas. Related rights include moral rights and rights in performances.
- Copyright is infringed by taking a substantial part of the claimant’s work. Additional damages are available for flagrant infringements.
- Database right subsists in electronic and paper databases if a substantial investment is made in obtaining the contents.
- Designs are protected in UK law by registered and unregistered design rights. Community designs co-exist with UK designs laws.
- Trade secrets may be protected by a civil law action for breach of confidence. The information must be confidential, imparted in circumstances importing a duty of confidence and the defendant must make unauthorised use of the information.
- Intellectual property rights are generally litigated in the High Court & the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. A general pre-action protocol sets out the steps that parties should follow when considering litigation.
- Expert evidence can be the key to success in intellectual property cases.
Chambers Guide 2017/18 recommended:
What the team is known for: Depth of knowledge and experience in prosecution, licensing and litigation concerning brands, designs and copyrighted material. Advises fashion, electronics, drinks and financial services businesses large and small. Recommended for registry procedures and disputes involving overseas jurisdictions.
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Managing intellectual property
SEE NO-DEAL BREXIT: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IMPLICATIONS
Intellectual property (IP) means any patent, trademark, copyright, design right, registered design, technical or commercial information or other intellectual property (Supreme Court Act 1981, s. 72(5)).
IPRs are the legal rights that exist in products of human creativity: inventions, designs, literary and artistic works, databases and brands.
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) arise either automatically or on registration.
Examples of automatic rights are copyright, design right and database right.
Rights that need to be registered include patents, registered trademarks and registered designs.
IPRs are negative although often expressed as exclusive rights. They entitle the owner to prevent others using or misusing the subject of the right.
Solicitors here represent all kinds of UK & international companies, businesspeople and professional correspondents who need expertise in trademarks, patents, designs, copyright, know-how, competition and trade secrets.
Registration, maintenance, transfer, licensing, litigation: these are all aspects of managing intellectual property in which solicitors here can supply the experience, knowledge and clarity which clients require.
Intellectual property rights
What can you do with IPR?
- Apply for them (if they are registrable).
- License them out, to exploit their income stream.
- Buy & sell them.
- Litigate about them.
Comprehensive legal support in all aspects of IP & technology law
Trademarks: Brand strength can be crucial to success in the marketplace: registrations, oppositions and renewals; devising and policing protection programmes; transfers of title; infringement and passing-off procedures; revocation actions and challenges to validity; as well as negotiating and documenting licence and franchise arrangements.
Inventions and know-how: Inventions are typically an apparatus, a product or a manufacturing process. Often they can be monopolised by means of patents, but by no means always.
Copyrights & designs: These rights relate to form and appearance rather than to technical principles of construction. We can apply for those that are registrable and advise on unregistrable rights which arise automatically.
Confidence & trade secrets: Duties of non-disclosure compete with the public interest in commercial freedom.
Solicitors managing UK & international clients’ intellectual property rights in relation to:
- joint ventures
- know-how & show-how
- licensing & franchising
- litigation, arbitration, mediation
- media & publishing
- patents (licensing, transfer & litigation)
- passing off
- technology transfer
- trade marks
- unfair competition
- business & company acquisitions & sales
- computer software
- confidential information
- database rights
- defamation & malicious falsehood
- designs (registered & unregistered)
- employee obligations
- EU treaty regulations
- free trade
- information technology
- music business
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