What is your IP Infringement strategy?
As the owner of intellectual property (IP) rights, it’s your responsibility to enforce them. Effective enforcement of your IP is necessary to maintain their value in legal terms, to deter potential infringers and to retain the ability to attract commercial value.
IP rights are most effective when they are enforced as part of an infringement strategy.
Your infringement strategy should be tailored to your business needs and should include the following elements:
- Identification: Keep records of the IP you own as well as permission or licences to use IP belonging to someone else.
- Proactive action: Where appropriate, take measures to limit the incidence of infringement. For example, non-disclosure agreements, physical security, watermarks or password protection.
- Detection methods: Periodically review the products and advertising of competitors to look for any signs of infringement. If you are working in an online environment, data ‘seeding’ can help identifying any misuse of your IP.
- Selective enforcement: Define a process to identify who you would bring action against and a level of action appropriate to the infringement. For example, it may be uneconomical to pursue legal action against people taping a sound recording for personal use. However, if a recording is used by a corporation for a public event you may consider taking action.
- Budget: Legal proceedings can be expensive. Consider the value of your IP and compare this with the benefits you could gain in taking legal action. You should also decide on what level of action you can afford to take. One way of preparing for the costs of legal proceedings is to take out IP insurance.
- Set clear goals: The type of action you take should depend on the nature of the infringement. Examples include obtaining injunctions, recovering damages or deterring infringement through publicity. You should assess how far you can go to protect your IP and likely outcomes for taking action.