protecting trademarks, patents, design rights & copyright
If you have worked hard to develop an innovative product or manufacturing process, or to create a unique slogan, design or corporate brand, then it is only fair that you should be the one who stands to reap the rewards and who gets to decide whether your inventions may be copied or utilised.
The registration or assertion of intellectual property rights is the best way to ensure that your ideas and creations are protected. However, you can also help to safeguard your interests by taking swift and decisive action against those who seek to illegally exploit or misuse your rights, or who wrongly try to challenge the validity of the intellectual property (IP) to which you lay claim.
Our team of experienced dispute resolution and litigation lawyers specialise in finding effective solutions to intellectual property based problems, and have the legal and technical expertise needed to support you, in whichever sector you operate.
We can help you to resolve disputes about:
- the validity of registered patents, trade marks and design rights;
- the validity of unregistered designs and copyright;
- intellectual property right infringement (including online violations);
- the right to prevent unlawful passing off;
- the sale of counterfeit goods and other IP crimes;
- the right of employees to claim compensation for inventions;
- brand creation and ownership;
- breach of a trade secrets agreement; or
- breach of IP licensing terms.
How are intellectual property disputes usually dealt with?
The approach we take to resolving an intellectual property dispute will depend on the circumstances. For example, in minor infringement claims, it may be that all we need to do to make your opponent see the error of their ways is to send them a ‘cease and desist’ letter.
In other cases, it may be appropriate for your dispute to be referred to mediation or to another collaborative process where you and your opponent are supported to resolve your differences amicably e.g. on terms that see you paid appropriate compensation or which result in a licence being granted that allows your IP to be used, but in return for payment of a fair fee.
And in some cases, it may be that the only sensible course of action is to refer your dispute to arbitration or to put matters in the hands of a judge via the instigation of formal legal proceedings.
Assuming a dispute goes to court, what remedies are available?
If your dispute ends up in court – and assuming you are successful in proving that your IP rights have been infringed – then there are a range of orders that might be made, including:
- an order for the payment of compensation, to reflect either the losses you have sustained or the profits the infringer has made;
- an order for the destruction of counterfeit goods or other infringing articles and materials;
- an order for the return of documents or data on which your trade secrets or other commercially sensitive information is recorded or stored;
- an order that a copy of the court’s judgment must be published in the trade press covering your sector or area of expertise; and, where appropriate
- an injunction to ensure that no further incidents of infringement take place, or to require your opponent to take certain specified steps or to refrain from certain specified behaviour.
In what circumstances can an injunction be sought?
It will often be necessary to apply for an injunction as soon as an IP dispute arises, and most notably in cases where infringing activity is continuing which has the potential to cause serious and irreversible harm.
Orders made in this scenario are known as ‘interim injunctions’ and will usually be granted where you can demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that:
- you have a strong case in respect of the underlying dispute that has arisen;
- your opponent’s behaviour is prejudicing your interests or interfering with your rights; and
- an award of compensation alone will not be enough to make up for the damage that is being caused and will continue to be caused if your request for immediate aid is refused.
Interim injunctions will usually remain in place until a specified date, or until the substance of your dispute has been decided at trial or resolved via settlement. However, where there is a need for an injunction to remain in place after proceedings have been concluded then it is possible for a final injunction to be made and which may be allowed to continue indefinitely where this is justified.
Do you just deal with UK IP disputes?
Given the depth and breadth of our intellectual property knowledge, we are able to deal not just with disputes involving domestic IP disputes but also those which have an international dimension.
We are particularly fortunate in this regard to have Trevor Coward on our team, who has a wealth of experience in resolving cross-border claims and who is part of a global network of lawyers who can be called on to provide country-specific advice when needed.
Why choose Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors?
We understand the challenges that IP disputes can pose, and we appreciate the balance that needs to be struck between robustly defending your rights while also ensuring that the approach we advocate is proportionate, commercially sensible and cost effective.
With the help of our specialist and experienced dispute resolution lawyers you can rest assured that you are in safe hands. We have an excellent track record in resolving disputes outside of court, and in those cases where proceedings cannot be avoided we have an enviable reputation as accomplishes litigators.
To find out more, please call us now on 01908 692769 and ask to speak to Ken Stangoe, Richard Millard, Trevor Coward or Guy Brooks. You may also find it helpful to visit our resource hub, to sign up to our topical newsletter or to view some of our recent client testimonials.
What our clients say:
‘’Trevor Coward of Geoffrey Leaver acted for us in a particularly challenging litigation. His tenacity, sound practical advice and tactical approach to the case secured us a very satisfactory outcome.
‘’He is someone you will be glad to have on board when the going gets tough.”
Alan Mills, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance
For more information about how we can help, you can read testimonials from our dispute resolution clients
Chambers & Partners 2021 notes the team is well-respected and active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs. One client commends the “proactive, engaging and considerate” nature of the team.
Chambers & Partners 2020 says ‘Well-respected team active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs.’
Legal 500 2020 says ‘Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s dispute resolution and litigation practice specialises in commercial property disputes, distribution and agency agreements, debt collection and director, shareholder and partnership disputes. Its work includes dealing with injunctions and freezing orders and work in areas such as insolvency, international trade and IT and e-commerce. Practice head Kenneth Stangoe, Trevor Coward, Guy Brooks and Richard Millard are the key contacts’
The Dispute Resolution & Litigation Team
Ken Stangoe Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689307Ken is Head of the Department. He has over 20 years' experience as a commercial litigator, with a heavy focus on property disputes, including forfeiture actions and applications for relief, right of way disputes, rent recovery for commercial landlords, trusts of land, dilapidations claims, boundary disputes, rent and service charge recovery and lease renewal applications.
Richard Millard Managing Partner
Construction & Development 01908 689382Richard has over 20 years’ experience acting for clients in the construction industry, providing pragmatic advice to developers, contractors, sub-contractors, design and construction professionals, housing associations, smaller builders and homeowners.
Guy Brooks Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689304Guy has more than 30 years’ experience in the legal profession and headed up the Commercial Litigation department of local firm Fennemores, before joining Geoffrey Leaver as joint head of the Dispute Resolution department in 2006. The Dispute Resolution department have been recognised by Legal 500 UK.
Trevor Coward Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689311Trevor specialises in the closely connected fields of commercial litigation, partner/director disputes, insolvency, property litigation, and professional negligence. His background is one of broad experience across a wide range of commercial litigation. He is a member of Legal Counsel International, an alliance of lawyers in 17 countries.