Intellectual Property Protection

November 2011

Intellectual property represents a highly valuable asset to many businesses and individuals alike. For some, particularly those in the creative or inventive sectors, IP represents not only their greatest asset but also their product. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that great care must be taken to protect.

Statutory provisions offer considerable protection for IP, however these provisions are of little use if IP owners do are not aware of the procedures and remedies which are open to them. This month, Simply-Docs has prepared a package of documents designed to aid in the protection of copyright and trade marks.

Copyright Protection

Copyright protection arises by default courtesy of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and protects a range of works. A number of actions with respect to copyright works are restricted and may only be performed by copyright owners or by those authorised by them. Protection is not absolute, however, and there are a number of exceptions granted by the Act.

New Guidance Notes from Simply-Docs set out essential information on copyright protection, the permitted and restricted acts, and courses of action to take in the event of infringement.

In addition to the guidance notes, a standard cease and desist letter has been prepared with a variety of optional requests relating to a third party’s unauthorised use of copyright material.

Given the ease with which copyright material can be copied and disseminated via the internet, many websites may find themselves inadvertently hosting third party copyright material which has been copied without its rightful owner’s consent. It is a sensible precaution for websites which host third party material to have in place a notice and take down policy which provides a clear procedure for content owners to follow in the event that they discover their material has been reproduced and is being disseminated without their consent. Simply-Docs now offers such a policy and a counterpart notice template.

Trade Mark Protection

Registered Trade Marks are protected by the Trade Marks Act 1994 and must meet a number of criteria in order to become registered. Unregistered trade marks, whilst mentioned by the Act, are instead protected by the common law tort of passing off. In cases of infringement of either registered or unregistered trade marks, a number of criteria must be met.

The second set of IP Guidance Notes from Simply-Docs this month focuses on trade marks and the protection thereof, dealing with the basics of trade mark registration, the procedures to follow in order to oppose new trade mark applications and courses of action to take in the event of infringement.

Sitting alongside the guidance notes are two cease and desist letter templates, one for registered trade marks, the other for unregistered. As with the copyright cease and desist letter set out above, each letter contains a number of optional requests relating to an infringing trade mark.

Customers are also reminded of our existing Trade Mark Co-existence agreement which is suggested as an alternative to an action for infringement in the Trade Mark Enforcement Guidance Notes.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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