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Monitoring and protecting your Intellectual Property: The Why’s and How’s

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Intellectual Property (IP) rights are business assets, and often the most valuable assets a business has. These protectable rights encompass patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Effectively monitoring these rights ensures they are kept protected and helps retain their commercial value. Knowing why and how to safeguard these assets can therefore have a massive impact on your business.

the “Why”

Regular monitoring can help identify unauthorized use of IP rights, which can be damaging to your company’s brand, reputation, goodwill, and have significant impact on revenue and your client base. Early detection of infringement allows you to take timely action, thereby preventing further unauthorized use, limit monetary loss, and may give rise to a claim of damages.

Keeping your IP rights monitored ensures that competitors are not exploiting your innovations or branding, which could result in both lost revenue and damage your reputation. Just one unpleasant experience can lower public confidence in your company. According to the popular review website Trustpilot, 89% of global consumers tend to check online reviews before making a purchase with a new supplier. Protecting IP rights and proprietary information helps maintain your competitive edge, which can be especially valuable in the beginning and position you for market leadership.

Active monitoring also demonstrates the strength and value of your IP portfolio, which is beneficial for attracting investors and partners. Ensuring IP rights are enforced maintains their market value and potential for revenue generation. Compliance with IP laws and regulations can be achieved by regular monitoring, thereby avoiding potentially costly legal disputes. Make sure you are documenting your efforts to protect IP rights, as this can support legal claims and support defenses in court.

the “How”

There are various well-known firms specialising in monitoring databases and markets for unauthorised use of trademarks. More recently a number of firms have emerged leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate IP rights monitoring, thereby greatly reducing costs for what was traditionally very time-consuming and costly services. Whether traditional or AI-powered, these services alert IP owners to potential conflicts, allowing for prompt action to defend their rights and if so necessary, lodge objections with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). To prevent wider unauthorised use of your IP rights, online tools such as Google Alerts can monitor web services such as e-commerce platforms, social media, and websites for counterfeit products or unauthorized content such as images, logos, and trademarks. These tools help identify infringing listings quickly, allowing the owner to take appropriate action to protect both the brand and its customers. The intensity of monitoring can be adjusted based on the value and potential risk associated with specific IP assets.

Since trademark protection is territorial, separate protections are required in each country or region of interest. This is especially important after Brexit. Even if you have existing trademark registrations elsewhere, registering your brands in the UK is highly recommended. This establishes a clearer legal right for enforcement within the UK and strengthens your overall brand presence.

While IPO typically check for infringement before granting registration, it’s crucial to regularly monitor IPO database yourself. This vigilance can save substantial costs involved in the IP registration process by identifying potentially conflicting filings early on.

While monitoring IP rights is essential for identifying potential infringement, it is equally crucial to have a plan for enforcement when necessary.

Litigation, with the support of legal experts, can be a powerful tool. Lawyers can analyse infringement, take steps to prevent further harm (such as sending cease and desist letters), and initiate legal proceedings to protect your IP rights. This comprehensive strategy, combining proactive monitoring with the potential for legal action, ensures your competitive advantage, enhances asset value, and guarantees legal compliance.

Our experienced intellectual property team at Oracle Solicitors is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of intellectual property law, protect your rights, and maximize the value of your assets. Schedule a consultation with us by calling +44(0)20 3051 5060 or emailing [email protected].

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