The number of cases being brought at the UK’s specialist Intellectual Property (IP) Court has hit a record high, largely driven by an increased awareness amongst SMEs of the need to protect their IP.

IP is more than just an idea or a concept – it protects genuine business assets that can be integral to the core of your business and its overall long-term viability.

The reality is that such legal disputes, including IP, will inevitably arise at some stage for a business and can be very expensive, particularly if they reach the court stage.  It’s therefore important to develop an effective strategy for dealing with them should the need arise.

Letter before action – In general, when a dispute arises, litigation should be the last resort as it can be expensive, time-consuming and may not achieve the commercial solution you are seeking. Sending a letter before action can be a useful way to open up negotiations without going to the expense of starting legal proceedings.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) -Court proceedings can be an effective method of IP rights enforcement, however it’s important to note that with litigation comes risk, and court is not always the best place to resolve disputes.  Alternative forms of dispute resolution exist include mediation or arbitration, both of which employ a neutral third party to oversee the process and can save cost, help  to maintain control over the dispute settlement process, maintain confidentiality and also help to reach a speedy settlement without damage to reputation.

Taking legal action –if you can’t resolve the dispute by other means, legal action will be necessary and it is important to get help from a solicitor, The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can also help.

IP claims are often complex and tricky to prove. There are common misconceptions regarding the ownership of IP rights which can catch out the unwary, particularly with regard to Copyright therefore it’s important to speak to a specialist in this area.

Call Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or email the team today.