Keeping Your IP Out Of Trouble

Posted on 01 Nov, 2021
By IPOS International

Investment in intellectual property (IP) can have great rewards. However, it’s not without risks. This guide provides you with insights into where those risks lie, and how you can mitigate them. It emphasises how you can keep your business out of trouble. A separate guide—Upholding your IP Rights, explains your options for enforcing your IP, should the need arise.


Chapter 1 relates IP risk to business risk, showing you the damage imitation can cause, and setting out why decisions about your IP are too important just to be delegated to your legal advisers. It addresses the misconception that IP is a game that only ‘big boys’ can play, but also highlights the possible consequences of getting it wrong.


IP is a form of property—something your business can own and with which it can transact business. However, its non-physical nature means it does not behave in the same way as other, more familiar types of property. For example, with intangibles like IP, lots of people (potentially millions) can benefit by using the same asset at once.


Over time, this difference has led to the development of ‘exceptions’ in the law, to help balance the rights of the creator and owner of an IP asset with that of the would-be user, and with society. An overview of what you can do with other people’s assets, without breaking any laws, is in Chapter 2.


Chapter 3 looks at the risks in your IP rights. It walks through each of the four main types of IP rights (i.e. patents, trade marks, designs and copyright) and provides a series of checklists to help you identify the risks of most concern to you. It also touches on protection for software and databases.


To help you avoid running into trouble with other companies’ IP rights, Chapter 4 sets out a series of tips for staying alert to the possibility of infringement and keeping track of what your competitors are doing. Chapter 5 then sets out a series of steps for dealing with accusations of infringement, which will typically start with written correspondence such as a ‘cease and desist’ letter.