Dispute resolution

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property dispute resolutions for start-ups, scale-ups and the entrepreneurially spirited

We recognise that your intellectual property is at the heart of innovation and business development. Intellectual property can be a company’s most valuable asset and is vital to successful growth. As such, it is important that you protect, exploit and enforce these rights from the moment you start your business and ensure that they are maintained as you continue to grow your business; we can offer an audit to identify risks and remedies to assist with this.
Where competitors seek to take advantage of your intellectual property, we can advise you on the best strategy to resolve the matter quickly and cost effectively. We can also help you with how best to defend alleged claims that may be made against you.

Experienced intellectual property solicitors

Our intellectual property solicitors are highly experienced in a wide range of matters, including the following:

Legal Considerations

Registered and Unregistered

Intellectual property rights generally fall into two camps: registered rights, such as trade marks, patents and registered designs; and unregistered rights, such as copyright, confidential information, unregistered design rights, unregistered trade marks.

Trademarks

This is a trading symbol distinguishing a certain product from others. Examples can include packaging, a brand name or a logo. Trademarks are protected by registered rights, provided they are capable of being represented graphically, are distinctive, can distinguish the goods or services and provided that the right is not excluded by statute. Trademarks can also be protected by unregistered rights in an action for passing off (misrepresentation of the trademark).

Patents

Patents protect inventions, devices or new, inventive products and processes. They are not granted automatically, but can offer a high level of protection and are integral in industries where new inventions involve extensive research and development so that new advances are protected.

Designs

Design rights protect the appearance of a functional product. They can be both registered and unregistered. Registered designs give a legal monopoly to the design, whereas unregistered designs give the owner a right against copying.

Copyrights

Copyright protects original ‘works’ (literary, dramatic musical or artistic), arising automatically on the creation of the work and belonging most often to the author. Copyright ownership allows the owner to prevent unauthorised copying and use of the work.

Confidential Information

This involves the protection of information which is sensitive to a business. The information must be confidential, must have been imparted in circumstances in which an obligation of confidence arises, and the unauthorised use of it would be detrimental to the person imparting it.

Pre-Action Protocol

There is no specific pre-action protocol which applies to IP; however parties are expected to act reasonably by exchanging sufficient information and documents relevant to the matter and attempt to resolve the claim without going to court if possible.

Remedies Available

There are a wide range of remedies available to successful claimants, including: injunctive relief, delivery up of goods, destruction of infringing copies, damages or account of profits, in addition to costs and interest.

Find out how our intellectual property solicitors can help with IP disputes.

Other factors to Consider

Other factors to Consider

Company buyback of shares and subsequent cancellation.  This can be a useful route provided 75% of the shareholders will consent as the Company meets the acquisition cost; however it must have sufficient surplus cash.

If a founder is looking to step aside then perhaps a reorganisation can assist with the variation of rights but retention of financial reward.

An anti-embarrassment clause can operate effectively in any settlement agreement, with the sale price for shares being uplifted if an event such as a sale of the business occurs or funding is received subsequent to exit.

A key to the resolution of a dispute is often an independent valuation of the relevant shareholding.  To secure this the parties will need to determine the basis of the valuation.

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