Appleyard Lees

Disputes

The very nature of IP being a monopoly right means disputes are inevitable. Whether you are on the attack or defence, getting the right tools in place to be used at the right time is the key to winning and this means getting advice as early as possible.

For IP owners, Intellectual Property is a valuable business asset. Whilst the value can be realised through the company’s balance sheet, businesses can only extract the maximum value from their IP by putting it to good use. Gaining a competitive advantage by stopping your competitors from coming too close to your activities is the goal. As a first step, marking your IP and making sure everybody knows about it is essential and can help generate the marketing buzz that surrounds innovative companies. This passive use can act to deter disputes from ever arising. However, when disputes do arise, it is essential that the IP is used effectively and with the right tools to achieve the business objectives. The tools include sending pre-action letters in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement, requesting UK IPO infringement opinions to use as bargaining leverage, and infringement litigation through the UK courts for damages and injunctions.

Even the most prudent business can be caught on the other side. Receiving a complaint from a competitor can tie-up valuable resources within your business. Avoiding the dispute is always going to preferable. This can be through selecting the right searching strategy, or competitor analysis and freedom to operate opinions. When third party applications are identified, the EPO patent opposition procedures can be used to attack applications, or invalidity proceedings can be brought through the UKIPO Trade Mark and Patent registries. Non-infringement opinions can also be a strong weapon in the arsenal and can be litigated at the UK IPO registry, UK courts or through the UK IPO Opinions services.

Our litigation support team are experienced in advising and representing clients through each course of action.

Paul MisselbrookPartner

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