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Dont fall foul of the groundless threats provisions

By John Rule.

If you find that someone is copying your invention or brand, it is usually a great temptation to throw the legal book at them. However the law attempts to protect businesses from vexacious law suits and damaging threats by providing protection for companies that are unjustifiably threatened with legal action.  

There are several aspects to consider before threatening legal proceedings for alleged IP infringement. For example, in the case of potential trade mark infringement, it may be prudent to consider:

  • Has the alleged infringer just started to use the trade mark? Investigations may reveal that they actually started before you.
  • Do you suspect that they are using the same or a similar trade mark because they are trying to take advantage of the reputation of your brand?
  • Could your customers or prospects think that the alleged infringer's goods and services are originating from you as a result of the alleged infringers use of the brand?

While we always agree that it is best for people to talk to each other, either directly or through us, rather than going straight to legal action, a great deal of care needs to be taken when talking or writing to others whom you believe to be infringing your intellectual property rights.

The waters surrounding correspondence with alleged infringers are littered with dangers. There are instances of litigation where it is claimed that groundless threats were made which have caused damage to the recipient’s business. Careful review of the actual circumstances should be made before opening any very carefully worded dialogue with the third party.

If you think that someone else is using your brand or copying any of your IPR, then call us for advice. We can talk to you about the possible consequences of allowing this use to continue and how to go about stopping it.

This news item may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not contain legal advice.