Misuse of Intellectual Property - Understand your Rights

What is misuse if intellectual property?

The misuse of intellectual property (IP) refers to unauthorised or improper use of someone else’s intellectual property rights.

Copyright infringement:

Copying, distributing, performing, or displaying copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner constitutes copyright infringement. This includes works such as literature, music, art, and software.

Trademark infringement:

Unauthorised use of a legally protected trademark or a similar mark that may cause confusion with an existing trademark is considered trademark infringement. This can include using a similar logo, brand name, or any other distinctive mark.

Patent infringement:

Making, using, selling, or importing a patented product or invention without the permission of the patent holder constitutes patent infringement. This applies to both product and process patents.

Trade secret misappropriation:

Unauthorised acquisition or use of confidential business information, such as formulas, manufacturing processes, or business strategies, can be considered a misuse of trade secrets.

Design right infringement:

Copying or reproducing the design of a product without the consent of the design rights owner may constitute design right infringement.

Database right infringement:

Unauthorised extraction or reutilisation of the whole or a substantial part of the contents of a database protected by the Database Right may be considered an infringement. 

What can be done about it?


If you believe that your intellectual property rights are being misused, there are several routes you can take to address the issue, including:

Cease and Desist Letter:

You or your legal representative can send a cease and desist letter to the party you believe is infringing on your intellectual property rights. This letter typically demands that the alleged infringer stop the infringing activities immediately and may also request compensation.

Negotiation and Settlement:

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the dispute through negotiation and reach a settlement with the alleged infringer. This could involve licensing agreements, financial compensation, or other terms to address the infringement.

Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):

Mediation or ADR processes provide a way to resolve disputes without going to court. A neutral third party can help facilitate discussions between the parties and assist in reaching a resolution.

File a Complaint with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO):

You can file a complaint with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK. The IPO may offer assistance and advice on intellectual property matters and can provide information on the available legal options.

Legal Action:

If informal measures are unsuccessful, you may need to consider taking legal action. This involves filing a claim in the appropriate court (such as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court or the High Court). You may be able to seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, or an account of profits.

Customs Enforcement:

In cases of counterfeiting or infringement involving imports and exports, you can work with customs authorities to prevent the movement of infringing goods across borders.

Online Enforcement:

If the infringement occurs online, you can explore options for enforcing your rights on the internet. This could include submitting takedown notices to online platforms hosting infringing content.


How can Expert Commercial Law assist?


Expert Commercial Law maintains a panel of legal experts and solicitor who are experienced in dealing with cases involving IP protection.

We are not a firm of solicitors; however, we have a panel of commercial law solicitors who are authorised and regulated by the SRA. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel law firm.

Panel firms pay fees which contribute to the running of our website and marketing. We will never charge you for passing on your case.

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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 


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