Dispute Resolution /

Intellectual property disputes

Defending & protecting your key asset

Intellectual property runs like a vein through everything a business does and a clear strategy for the protection of this significant asset is crucial to success. When issues emerge, be they allegations that your business is infringing another company’s intellectual property rights or a competitor is infringing your rights, you must take speedy and decisive action. You need advisers who can provide you with pragmatic, business-focused strategic advice which will support you in maintaining the competitive advantage of these critical assets to ensure that you stay ahead of the game.

Make an enquiryMeet the teamIntellectual property disputes

  • Key contact

    Patrick Wheeler

    Patrick Wheeler

    Partner - Head of IP & Data Protection

    ArrowView profile

  • The Team

    Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to provide you with creative, personalised solutions in a clear and understandable way.

    ArrowMeet the team

  • Our Publications

    Discover a wealth of invaluable guidance in the form of guides and brochures written by our expert lawyers.

    ArrowSee our downloads

  • Your IP Rights Health Check

    Are you certain your business’ IP rights are protected?

    ArrowTake the test

About

Our Intellectual property dispute team advises businesses across a wide variety of industries on resolving disputes related to all intellectual property rights, including copyright, trade marks, design rights, patents, database rights and anti-counterfeiting and customs measures. We work with you closely in building a clear understanding of the intricacies of your business and the industry you operate in. We can then provide you with tailored, practical, and innovative solutions which defend or enforce your rights and align with your wider commercial strategy. We pride ourselves on developing lasting working relationships with our clients, often protecting their intellectual property rights through the entire lifecycle of the business.

Our team has the expertise to conduct intellectual property rights disputes through the courts in the UK and EU. We have a distinguished track record of successfully managing disputes in both IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) and the High Court. We can also assist with alternative dispute resolution including mediation, expert determination, or arbitration.  We are at all times focussed on achieving a solution that will enable you to continue with your business as quickly and on the best achievable terms possible.

Jump to the top of the Intellectual property disputes page

Copyright disputes

Unlike a patent or a trademark, you cannot register copyright in the UK. Rather, copyright protection will arise automatically as soon as your work is created. Copyright protection generally expires 70 years after the death of the creator, although shorter periods apply to certain broadcast work.

Copyright laws protect work that is original (does not replicate or imitate someone else’s work) and tangible (exists in physical form and is not merely an idea). Works subject to copyright typically include:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work
  • Illustration and photography
  • Software, web content and databases
  • Sound and music recordings
  • Film and television recordings
  • Broadcasts

What happens if someone infringes my copyright?

Copyright protection allows you to control the use that others can make of the work. This means that using the work without the owner’s permission can amount to copyright infringement, which is a civil offence. Video games, music and software are common objects of piracy, which can also amount to a criminal offence if certain conditions are met.

Since there is no register of protected works, it can be very difficult for someone to know if a work is subject to copyright. However, the law helps the copyright owner by presuming that the work has been copied if two similar versions exist. The burden will be on the defendant to show that their work is original.

If in doubt, the safest option is to assume that a work is protected and not copy it without permission.

Why choose Collyer Bristow as your copyright lawyer?

As a full-service Intellectual Property team, our copyright lawyers can help you:

  • Determine who owns copyright and whether the rights are legally enforceable
  • Register copyright in jurisdictions outside the UK where this is possible
  • Licence, franchise or sell your copyright safely
  • Enforce your rights if your copyright has been infringed
  • Defend you if a copyright owner claims that you have infringed their rights

In the UK, infringement cases can be especially challenging. We have a strong record of success in this complex area, bringing a large amount of commercial experience to the table. Our copyright lawyers can help you commercialise your copyright, while shutting down problems before they cost you serious money.

Patent disputes

A patent is a monopoly right that protects inventions; both products or processes. The significance of a monopoly right is that it protects the invention not only against people who copy it, but also against those who independently develop something that falls within the patent’s scope. Patents are seen as the most valuable intellectual property rights because of their wide-ranging protection. They are also one of the most challenging and expensive to enforce.

Our patent lawyers have years of specialist patent experience. We can help you ensure your inventions are not used without your permission – and defend you if someone accuses you of infringing their rights.

What is patent infringement?

A registered patent comes with a set of claims. These specify the breadth of the patented invention. If a competitor’s product or process incorporates all of the elements of just one of the claims, that is enough to infringe that patent.

Depending on the type of invention that has been patented, an infringement can occur in different ways, such as:

  • Making, selling, using or importing a patented product without the owner’s permission.
  • Using, selling or importing any product that was obtained directly by someone’s patented process.

What is patent litigation?

Patent litigation is the process for deciding whether someone has infringed a patented invention, and what the remedies should be as a consequence of such infringement.

The typical remedies include an injunction to prevent further infringement, damages, or an account of profits where the infringer must surrender all the profits made as a result of their unlawful behaviour.

Broadly speaking no one, not even a large organisation, wishes to enter a patent dispute. Often, a strong cease and desist letter can put a stop to any infringement. Where more robust enforcement is necessary, we can support you with litigation in the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. IPEC hears claims of lower value and less complexity than the High Court, although often these claims are just as commercially vital.

It is important to act with caution when making accusations of patent infringement. If your patent is invalid, or if no infringement was being made, then your threat to sue may be deemed ‘unjust’ and there could be a counterclaim against you.

Our patent lawyers are experts in handling patent infringement cases. We will be able to advise you on the strength of your case.

How can our patent lawyers help with your patent dispute?

Our patent lawyers can:

  • Advise on the patentability of your invention
  • Provide a strategic overview on the infringements risks associated with your patents, so you are alert to potential threats and litigation
  • Enforce patents through IP infringement actions in the Patents Court or Intellectual Property Enterprise Court
  • Coordinate complex patent disputes across multiple jurisdictions
  • Appeal to the Intellectual Property Office, for example, to avoid revocation of the patent
  • Defend businesses against patent infringement claims

We deal with all types of patent disputes, including infringement, patent validity and patent ownership cases. We have a proud record of success in acting for clients across a wide range of inventions and industries, and a reputation for finding commercially minded solutions that have your business goals at their heart.

Trademark disputes

Ensuring your trade marks are registered and protected prevents others from exploiting your most critical assets, such as your brand name, logo, goodwill and reputation. We can help you create a robust trade mark strategy to distinguish your brand from competitors and protect it from external threats.

What is the meaning of a trade mark in the UK?

In the UK, a trade mark is any design, logo, word or shape that has an association with a product or business, and thus distinguishes it from other products and businesses. You can trade mark a variety of things, including business names, brand names, slogans, logos, and jingles.

To be legally enforceable, a trade mark needs to be registered and renewed every 10 years. If you do not register the trade mark, anyone can copy your design. This has the potential to mislead consumers and damage your reputation, by creating an association with your brand reputation that simply is not there.

The ® can be used as soon as you have registered your trade mark. While it is not essential to display this symbol, it does serve as evidence that the mark is registered and cannot be legally copied. The ™ symbol can be used if you consider yourself as having a trade mark but haven’t registered it.

What happens if there is a trade mark dispute?

If someone uses your trade mark without permission, or if you think someone is using or trying to use a trade mark similar to yours, you may have a claim for intellectual property infringement. There are various remedies you can seek, including:

  • An injunction to stop the copycat trade mark
  • An obligation to cease and desist
  • Compensation for any losses you have sustained
  • Destruction of items that breach your trade mark rights

Even if your trade mark is unregistered, we can generally rely on the action passing off to protect the goodwill in the trade mark. We have the specialist expertise to advise and assist you so please contact us at any time.

Why choose Collyer Bristow as your trade mark lawyer?

Our trade mark disputes lawyers can advise you on the best options for protecting your trade marks. Our services include:

  • Identifying what may qualify for trade mark protection
  • Advice on whether your trade mark should be registered, and how to go about it
  • Defending your trade mark against infringers
  • Helping you exploit your trade mark by licensing it to third parties to use
  • Advice on the assignment of trade mark
  • Passing off claims

Litigation can be costly, and our trade mark solicitors will always seek alternative dispute resolution to reduce the amount of cost and time of the proceedings. We’re very experienced in trade mark disputes and can solve many problems before they even arise.

Design rights disputes

In the UK, protecting your design rights is a complex and multi-layered process.

What are design rights?

There are two types of design rights: registered and unregistered. Both protect you against someone copying your rights, but registering your design rights gives you better protection. For example, your designs are protected for up to 25 years and you will not have to prove that you own a design if someone has copied it.

You can register your design rights if your design meets strict eligibility criteria of being “novel” and of “individual character.” Our design rights solicitors can help you understand what can be registered, and we can recommend specialists to register your designs with both the UK and EU Intellectual Property Office.

What happens if someone copies my design?

The presence of a public register at the UK/ EU Intellectual Property Offices means that others have express notice of your design rights. So, an infringer will not be able to claim that they did not know about your rights.

However, there may be question marks about the scope of what has been registered, and whether your rights cover all the features of the design. Sometimes, even a slight difference in the overall look of the product can help in the infringer’s defence.

The usual remedies for design right infringement are an injunction to prevent further infringement, financial compensation for past infringement and an order requiring the destruction of the infringing goods.

What design rights services do we offer?

Our intellectual property lawyers can help you file, protect and defend your design rights. Our services include:

  • Helping to register design rights – we can recommend a specialist to take control of the application process for UK and EU registered design rights applications.
  • Commercialising design rights – we can draft and negotiate the proper assignments, licenses and commercial agreements to ensure that you obtain the maximum commercial benefit from your designs.
  • Disputes and enforcement – we provide expert litigation and dispute resolution advice and representation if your design rights have been infringed, or if someone challenges your ownership.

Due to the complex and technical nature of design rights disputes, we work collaboratively with you and your design experts to examine all the legal options. We can also help in a range of related areas, including commercial disputes and corporate reputation management. This means you can be certain that you will be receiving the highest quality legal advice with your commercial interests front and centre.

Brand Protection

A brand is a valuable asset to any business and always worth protecting. Our expert team can help ensure that your company’s name, logo, trademarks and other brand assets are ring-fenced, registered, protected and not infringed upon by another business.

Our brand protection services

We help businesses of all sizes and maturity identify the distinguishing characteristics of their company and take steps to strengthen, protect and enforce them. Our services include:

  • Brand audits – a thorough examination of your company’s IP assets, including those you own, use or licence, to assess risk while helping business leaders make informed brand strategy decisions.
  • Brand creation – ensuring that the names, logos, slogans and mascots you are creating are protectable and registrable.
  • IP rights clearance – our specialist business IP lawyers will make the appropriate searches to uncover any third-party rights that may restrict the use of your chosen brand marks either now or in the future.
  • Brand protections – we look at your business as a whole to identify which potential rights and trade marks you should register to stop your brand from being used by others without your permission.
  • Brand ownership structures – sometimes, it is helpful to ring-fence brand assets and place ownership in a different company, to ensure you retain control of the brand if the trading company gets into financial difficulty. We provide guidance on this.
  • Enforcement – our dedicated intellectual property litigators can help enforce your IP rights in a variety of ways and where necessary through the courts, both inside and outside of the UK.

Why work with Collyer Bristow?

We have a strong reputation in the field of intellectual property and an even stronger reputation for creative problem solving, dealing with brand protection issues efficiently before they snowball into bigger problems. We work hard to get under the bonnet of your business. This tells us what’s important to your company, so we can develop strategies that protect you from copycat competitors.

Intellectual property disputes insights

View all insights

Back

Need some more information? Make an enquiry below



    Intellectual property disputes key contacts

    Intellectual property disputes

    Intellectual property disputes

    Intellectual property disputes

    Defending & protecting your key asset

    Intellectual property runs like a vein through everything a business does and a clear strategy for the protection of this significant asset is crucial to success. When issues emerge, be they allegations that your business is infringing another company’s intellectual property rights or a competitor is infringing your rights, you must take speedy and decisive action. You need advisers who can provide you with pragmatic, business-focused strategic advice which will support you in maintaining the competitive advantage of these critical assets to ensure that you stay ahead of the game.

    • Key contact

      Patrick Wheeler

      Patrick Wheeler

      Partner - Head of IP & Data Protection

      ArrowView profile

    • The Team

      Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to provide you with creative, personalised solutions in a clear and understandable way.

      ArrowMeet the team

    • Our Publications

      Discover a wealth of invaluable guidance in the form of guides and brochures written by our expert lawyers.

      ArrowSee our downloads

    • Your IP Rights Health Check

      Are you certain your business’ IP rights are protected?

      ArrowTake the test

    Our Intellectual property dispute team advises businesses across a wide variety of industries on resolving disputes related to all intellectual property rights, including copyright, trade marks, design rights, patents, database rights and anti-counterfeiting and customs measures. We work with you closely in building a clear understanding of the intricacies of your business and the industry you operate in. We can then provide you with tailored, practical, and innovative solutions which defend or enforce your rights and align with your wider commercial strategy. We pride ourselves on developing lasting working relationships with our clients, often protecting their intellectual property rights through the entire lifecycle of the business.

    Our team has the expertise to conduct intellectual property rights disputes through the courts in the UK and EU. We have a distinguished track record of successfully managing disputes in both IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) and the High Court. We can also assist with alternative dispute resolution including mediation, expert determination, or arbitration.  We are at all times focussed on achieving a solution that will enable you to continue with your business as quickly and on the best achievable terms possible.

    Jump to the top of the Intellectual property disputes page.

    Copyright disputes

    Unlike a patent or a trademark, you cannot register copyright in the UK. Rather, copyright protection will arise automatically as soon as your work is created. Copyright protection generally expires 70 years after the death of the creator, although shorter periods apply to certain broadcast work.

    Copyright laws protect work that is original (does not replicate or imitate someone else’s work) and tangible (exists in physical form and is not merely an idea). Works subject to copyright typically include:

    • Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work
    • Illustration and photography
    • Software, web content and databases
    • Sound and music recordings
    • Film and television recordings
    • Broadcasts

    What happens if someone infringes my copyright?

    Copyright protection allows you to control the use that others can make of the work. This means that using the work without the owner’s permission can amount to copyright infringement, which is a civil offence. Video games, music and software are common objects of piracy, which can also amount to a criminal offence if certain conditions are met.

    Since there is no register of protected works, it can be very difficult for someone to know if a work is subject to copyright. However, the law helps the copyright owner by presuming that the work has been copied if two similar versions exist. The burden will be on the defendant to show that their work is original.

    If in doubt, the safest option is to assume that a work is protected and not copy it without permission.

    Why choose Collyer Bristow as your copyright lawyer?

    As a full-service Intellectual Property team, our copyright lawyers can help you:

    • Determine who owns copyright and whether the rights are legally enforceable
    • Register copyright in jurisdictions outside the UK where this is possible
    • Licence, franchise or sell your copyright safely
    • Enforce your rights if your copyright has been infringed
    • Defend you if a copyright owner claims that you have infringed their rights

    In the UK, infringement cases can be especially challenging. We have a strong record of success in this complex area, bringing a large amount of commercial experience to the table. Our copyright lawyers can help you commercialise your copyright, while shutting down problems before they cost you serious money.

    Patent disputes

    A patent is a monopoly right that protects inventions; both products or processes. The significance of a monopoly right is that it protects the invention not only against people who copy it, but also against those who independently develop something that falls within the patent’s scope. Patents are seen as the most valuable intellectual property rights because of their wide-ranging protection. They are also one of the most challenging and expensive to enforce.

    Our patent lawyers have years of specialist patent experience. We can help you ensure your inventions are not used without your permission – and defend you if someone accuses you of infringing their rights.

    What is patent infringement?

    A registered patent comes with a set of claims. These specify the breadth of the patented invention. If a competitor’s product or process incorporates all of the elements of just one of the claims, that is enough to infringe that patent.

    Depending on the type of invention that has been patented, an infringement can occur in different ways, such as:

    • Making, selling, using or importing a patented product without the owner’s permission.
    • Using, selling or importing any product that was obtained directly by someone’s patented process.

    What is patent litigation?

    Patent litigation is the process for deciding whether someone has infringed a patented invention, and what the remedies should be as a consequence of such infringement.

    The typical remedies include an injunction to prevent further infringement, damages, or an account of profits where the infringer must surrender all the profits made as a result of their unlawful behaviour.

    Broadly speaking no one, not even a large organisation, wishes to enter a patent dispute. Often, a strong cease and desist letter can put a stop to any infringement. Where more robust enforcement is necessary, we can support you with litigation in the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. IPEC hears claims of lower value and less complexity than the High Court, although often these claims are just as commercially vital.

    It is important to act with caution when making accusations of patent infringement. If your patent is invalid, or if no infringement was being made, then your threat to sue may be deemed ‘unjust’ and there could be a counterclaim against you.

    Our patent lawyers are experts in handling patent infringement cases. We will be able to advise you on the strength of your case.

    How can our patent lawyers help with your patent dispute?

    Our patent lawyers can:

    • Advise on the patentability of your invention
    • Provide a strategic overview on the infringements risks associated with your patents, so you are alert to potential threats and litigation
    • Enforce patents through IP infringement actions in the Patents Court or Intellectual Property Enterprise Court
    • Coordinate complex patent disputes across multiple jurisdictions
    • Appeal to the Intellectual Property Office, for example, to avoid revocation of the patent
    • Defend businesses against patent infringement claims

    We deal with all types of patent disputes, including infringement, patent validity and patent ownership cases. We have a proud record of success in acting for clients across a wide range of inventions and industries, and a reputation for finding commercially minded solutions that have your business goals at their heart.

    Trademark disputes

    Ensuring your trade marks are registered and protected prevents others from exploiting your most critical assets, such as your brand name, logo, goodwill and reputation. We can help you create a robust trade mark strategy to distinguish your brand from competitors and protect it from external threats.

    What is the meaning of a trade mark in the UK?

    In the UK, a trade mark is any design, logo, word or shape that has an association with a product or business, and thus distinguishes it from other products and businesses. You can trade mark a variety of things, including business names, brand names, slogans, logos, and jingles.

    To be legally enforceable, a trade mark needs to be registered and renewed every 10 years. If you do not register the trade mark, anyone can copy your design. This has the potential to mislead consumers and damage your reputation, by creating an association with your brand reputation that simply is not there.

    The ® can be used as soon as you have registered your trade mark. While it is not essential to display this symbol, it does serve as evidence that the mark is registered and cannot be legally copied. The ™ symbol can be used if you consider yourself as having a trade mark but haven’t registered it.

    What happens if there is a trade mark dispute?

    If someone uses your trade mark without permission, or if you think someone is using or trying to use a trade mark similar to yours, you may have a claim for intellectual property infringement. There are various remedies you can seek, including:

    • An injunction to stop the copycat trade mark
    • An obligation to cease and desist
    • Compensation for any losses you have sustained
    • Destruction of items that breach your trade mark rights

    Even if your trade mark is unregistered, we can generally rely on the action passing off to protect the goodwill in the trade mark. We have the specialist expertise to advise and assist you so please contact us at any time.

    Why choose Collyer Bristow as your trade mark lawyer?

    Our trade mark disputes lawyers can advise you on the best options for protecting your trade marks. Our services include:

    • Identifying what may qualify for trade mark protection
    • Advice on whether your trade mark should be registered, and how to go about it
    • Defending your trade mark against infringers
    • Helping you exploit your trade mark by licensing it to third parties to use
    • Advice on the assignment of trade mark
    • Passing off claims

    Litigation can be costly, and our trade mark solicitors will always seek alternative dispute resolution to reduce the amount of cost and time of the proceedings. We’re very experienced in trade mark disputes and can solve many problems before they even arise.

    Design rights disputes

    In the UK, protecting your design rights is a complex and multi-layered process.

    What are design rights?

    There are two types of design rights: registered and unregistered. Both protect you against someone copying your rights, but registering your design rights gives you better protection. For example, your designs are protected for up to 25 years and you will not have to prove that you own a design if someone has copied it.

    You can register your design rights if your design meets strict eligibility criteria of being “novel” and of “individual character.” Our design rights solicitors can help you understand what can be registered, and we can recommend specialists to register your designs with both the UK and EU Intellectual Property Office.

    What happens if someone copies my design?

    The presence of a public register at the UK/ EU Intellectual Property Offices means that others have express notice of your design rights. So, an infringer will not be able to claim that they did not know about your rights.

    However, there may be question marks about the scope of what has been registered, and whether your rights cover all the features of the design. Sometimes, even a slight difference in the overall look of the product can help in the infringer’s defence.

    The usual remedies for design right infringement are an injunction to prevent further infringement, financial compensation for past infringement and an order requiring the destruction of the infringing goods.

    What design rights services do we offer?

    Our intellectual property lawyers can help you file, protect and defend your design rights. Our services include:

    • Helping to register design rights – we can recommend a specialist to take control of the application process for UK and EU registered design rights applications.
    • Commercialising design rights – we can draft and negotiate the proper assignments, licenses and commercial agreements to ensure that you obtain the maximum commercial benefit from your designs.
    • Disputes and enforcement – we provide expert litigation and dispute resolution advice and representation if your design rights have been infringed, or if someone challenges your ownership.

    Due to the complex and technical nature of design rights disputes, we work collaboratively with you and your design experts to examine all the legal options. We can also help in a range of related areas, including commercial disputes and corporate reputation management. This means you can be certain that you will be receiving the highest quality legal advice with your commercial interests front and centre.

    Brand Protection

    A brand is a valuable asset to any business and always worth protecting. Our expert team can help ensure that your company’s name, logo, trademarks and other brand assets are ring-fenced, registered, protected and not infringed upon by another business.

    Our brand protection services

    We help businesses of all sizes and maturity identify the distinguishing characteristics of their company and take steps to strengthen, protect and enforce them. Our services include:

    • Brand audits – a thorough examination of your company’s IP assets, including those you own, use or licence, to assess risk while helping business leaders make informed brand strategy decisions.
    • Brand creation – ensuring that the names, logos, slogans and mascots you are creating are protectable and registrable.
    • IP rights clearance – our specialist business IP lawyers will make the appropriate searches to uncover any third-party rights that may restrict the use of your chosen brand marks either now or in the future.
    • Brand protections – we look at your business as a whole to identify which potential rights and trade marks you should register to stop your brand from being used by others without your permission.
    • Brand ownership structures – sometimes, it is helpful to ring-fence brand assets and place ownership in a different company, to ensure you retain control of the brand if the trading company gets into financial difficulty. We provide guidance on this.
    • Enforcement – our dedicated intellectual property litigators can help enforce your IP rights in a variety of ways and where necessary through the courts, both inside and outside of the UK.

    Why work with Collyer Bristow?

    We have a strong reputation in the field of intellectual property and an even stronger reputation for creative problem solving, dealing with brand protection issues efficiently before they snowball into bigger problems. We work hard to get under the bonnet of your business. This tells us what’s important to your company, so we can develop strategies that protect you from copycat competitors.

    Intellectual property disputes insights

    View all insights

    Need some more information? Make an enquiry below.

      Subscribe

      Please add your details and your areas of interest below

      Specialist sectors:

      Legal services:

      Other information:

      Jurisdictions of interest to you (other than UK):

      Message us on WhatsApp (calling not available)

      Please note that Collyer Bristow provides this service during office hours for general information and enquiries only and that no legal or other professional advice will be provided over the WhatsApp platform. Please also note that if you choose to use this platform your personal data is likely to be processed outside the UK and EEA, including in the US. Appropriate legal or other professional opinion should be taken before taking or omitting to take any action in respect of any specific problem. Collyer Bristow LLP accepts no liability for any loss or damage which may arise from reliance on information provided. All information will be deleted immediately upon completion of a conversation.

      I accept Close

      Close
      Scroll up

      Get in touch

      Get in touch using our form below.



        Business Close
        Private Wealth Close
        Hot Topics Close