The term “Intellectual Property,” or “IP,” is used to refer to a variety of legal rights that are associated with particular informational and conceptual entities as well as the ways in which they are represented. Intellectual property rights come in two varieties: registered and unregistered. Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are three well-known categories of intellectual property rights. Regarding copyright, this will safeguard original literary, dramatic, musical, and creative creations, such as sound recordings. However, IP is a complicated area of the law, and various IP rights will apply in various circumstances.

What is IP (Intellectual Property)?

Intellectual property is a unique physical creation. Patents, trademarks, designs, and copyright are all examples of intellectual property rights, but an idea by itself is not an intellectual property that may be protected by copyright. IP can be bought, sold, or given away. When others use the owner’s intellectual property without their consent, IP conflicts may result.

Why is it important to protect Intellectual Property?

Every company owns significant intellectual property, including designs, written or spoken words, information, and even original creations. As demonstrated by numerous pieces of case law, including the most recent Court of Session case of William Grant & Sons Irish Brands Ltd -v- Lidl Stiftung & Co KG [2021] CSIH 38, intellectual property can be just as valuable to firms as machinery or other tangible assets. The bottle shape, label form, design, and colour scheme of Lidl’s “Hampstead Gin” were too similar to those of William Grant’s well-known “Hendricks Gin,” in William Grant’s opinion.

When analysing IP issues, reputational concerns will also be taken into account. In the contemporary, technologically advanced period in which we live, this is even more true. Concerns about customer misunderstanding are common in cases like the one involving William Grant, as there is a chance that prospective buyers would mistakenly purchase Hendricks for Hampstead Gin, for instance.

It is a problem when new brands attempt to capitalise on an established brand’s reputation since it could weaken the brand and harm the company. If the imitation is of poor quality, this could damage the reputation of the genuine business by connection.

Indeed, we occasionally witness similar arguments being resolved in a court as well as on Twitter. The most recent example is a tweet from Home Bargains that also makes reference to the famous Colin vs. Cuthbert Saga.

How can your Intellectual Property be safeguarded?

While online disagreements can be entertaining, the appearance of these knockoff products poses a serious risk of harm to a company’s reputation and brand. The intellectual property assets of your business must therefore be protected.

Some forms of intellectual property protection are automatically given, but when they are not, organisations must investigate possible approaches when there are considered to be risks or problems. Strategy is always crucial when doing this. Businesses may initially attempt to brand their publically available content, whether it be online or in another format, by explicitly stating that it is the property of the mentioned firm and that it is not meant for reproduction.

If this is ignored, protection may occasionally be gained by sending a cease-and-desist letter prior to filing a lawsuit. Common court remedies include asking for a temporary interdict, damages, an accounting of profits, or the delivery or destruction of the infringing objects if that is unsuccessful. The Court of Session has appointed IP judges and established a specialized process under Chapter 55 of the Rules of Court of Session in order to settle these kinds of matters as quickly and cheaply as possible. However, litigation is typically costly by nature.

However, choosing a no-win no fee claims organisation like SGT Law Firm can help you keep your fees minimal if litigation becomes necessary.

Please contact us if you need assistance protecting your business’s intellectual property rights.