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How to enforce your IP rights

Published 01.11.08 at 13:03

You must instruct and pay lawyers (solicitors) or agents who can enforce your IP rights in return for an agreed fee; for example, copyright collection societies, such as the Designers and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) for designers and fine artists and the Performing Right Society (PRS) for music. Instructing lawyers and agents when it comes to legal proceedings is expensive and it's difficult to find lawyers who are prepared to act in IP matters on 'a no-win/no-fee' basis.

You are entitled to damages if you prove infringement at trial. Damages generally take the form of a reasonable licence fee, though in rare situations you may be entitled to some of the profits of the person who wrongfully uses your work.

You can also obtain an injunction to stop someone using your IP rights. This may be granted permanently after trial or prior to trial in the form of a temporary injunction. You may also be entitled to seize infringing items making use of your IP. In extreme situations, (for example, counterfeiting and boot-legging), criminal remedies are also available to stop and punish IP infringement and can include imprisonment.

Practical steps:  Any type of IP litigation is expensive and uncertain. Even if you believe or are advised you have a strong claim you may be often better to settle if a reasonable offer is made and grant the user a licence for past use and any future use of your IP rights. Try and obtain free legal guidance, for example, through Own-it's Ask Us page, before taking further steps.  

Learn more about enforcing your IP rights at one of our free events.

Content supplied by Daniel McClean, solicitor at Withers LLP. Photo credit: Gruntzooki

 

Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.

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