This could be potentially valuable and/or competitive information that you own or are about to receive. It may be that it has yet to be formally protected by way of registration, or it is such technical data, methods, or other ‘know how’ that is not capable of being registered and therefore vulnerable from disclosure and unauthorised use. Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) or Confidentiality Agreements are often used by parties to govern the way in which such information is shared.
This right extends to a variety of works that can be protected without the need for registration. Once created it is automatically protected. This right includes literary, dramatic and musical works; a table or compilation; a computer program; a database; artistic works; a work of architecture; engravings; sound recordings; films; broadcasts; cable programmes; published editions; moral rights; performance rights; designs; typographical arrangement; Crown Copyright.
Database rights and the data contained therein can often be mutually exclusive subject areas and frequently protected in parallel with copyright law. The architecture and construction of a database is valuable where there has been a substantial investment of financial, labour or technical resource.
This includes unregistered design protection as provided for under UK and European legislation for those designs that do not require formal registration to benefit from protection, and those designs that are capable of being registered under formal systems of registration at national, European or international level. Designs protect the appearance, including configuration and shape of a product, or is otherwise a functional aspect of the design. Registered design can include packaging, get up, graphic symbols and typographical typefaces.
Many different domain name styles exist, such as those that reflect company names and/or trade marks and others that simply describe what is being offered via the website. A whole host of generic, country code and restricted top level domains (amongst others, such as sponsored TLDs) also now exist. The domain name itself however may act in the same way as a company name or trade mark to promote products and therefore can also merit from reciprocal trade mark protection (including passing off). Various dispute resolution services are available to assist with the settlement of disputes and transfer of domain names.
Often described as the tacit knowledge of a party, which may not be easily discernible both in terms of value and expression. Know How in terms of intellectual property can include a trade secret, process or method of invention that either has yet to be protected by registration (usually by way of a patent, utility model or design), or is insufficient to qualify for registered protection.
A patent can provide an owner with an effective monopoly right to a process, invention or other industrial innovation. A granted patent secures protection for the vision, solution and imagination of an inventor. Crucially such rights can enable an owner to enforce rights against a defendant irrespective of whether copying has taken place. Effective registration of a patent will enable an owner to secure valuable licensing revenue, profitable joint ventures and promote effective research and development projects.
Trade marks educate your clients and customers. Brands give value to your business. Whilst a trade mark can be distinctive and distinguish your business from your competitors, it is encapsulating your reputation; raising your product profile; and heightening market awareness. Trade marks are the most easily recognised intellectual property assets of a business. With a foundation in the law of passing off, trade marks have evolved to include sounds, smells, colours and shapes.
Most forms of intellectual property are recognised overseas. Assets capable of registered protection will often benefit from reciprocal (albeit different) foreign systems of registration. Importantly your business needs to recognise the opportunities of such rights that are available throughout the EU and globally by way of international conventions thereby maximising commercialisation and protection.
Intellectual Property Litigation
Our litigation team has experience in the full range of contentious intellectual property matters. These include advising and representing clients in relation to registered trade mark infringement, registered and unregistered design infringement, copyright infringement, passing off, seizure of counterfeit goods and domain name recovery.
We can support you with proceedings in the Court of Appeal, High Court, the specialist Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the General Court in Luxembourg as well as trade mark and design oppositions and challenges, both at UK and EU levels. Our team comprises qualified Accredited Mediators, providing a specialist dispute resolution service relating to intellectual property disputes.
Intellectual Property Mediation
The Civil Mediation Council (CMC) is the recognised authority within the United Kingdom, which provides members of the public and businesses with a simple low-cost method of resolving a wide range of civil disputes out of court. In particular the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) encourages parties to consider mediation as an alternative to often expensive and timeconsuming litigation. BPE can also offer such services on account of the UK IPO’s recognition and approval of one of its accredited and authorised CMC members.