Intellectual Property

Hylton-Potts - London Based Law Firm Helping People Across the UK since 1999

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Intellectual Property Lawyers

We advise on copyrights, patents, trademarks, anti-counterfeiting and piracy, and know-how. Also confidential information and trademarks.

Securing IP Rights

We advise on buying and selling intellectual property rights, auditing, negotiating and drafting contracts, joint ventures, competition law and agency agreements.

Brand Protection

We advise on trademarks, design registration and implementing anti-piracy measures.

Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights

We will prevent infringement of rights using commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods.

Intellectual Property Protection

This helps in:

  • Preventing competitors from copying or closely imitating your products and services.
  • Avoiding wasteful investment in research and development and marketing.
  • Creating a corporate identity through a trademark and branding strategy.
  • Negotiating licensing, franchising or other IP based agreements.
  • Increasing the market value of the company.
  • Acquire venture capital and enhancing access to finance.
  • Obtaining access to new markets.

Management of Intellectual Property

We can commercialise inventions, market brands and know-how and deal with joint ventures agreements.

Due Diligence

We advise on the value and position of IP, often in the context of mergers, acquisitions and fund raising.

We advise on the creation and protection of intellectual property licensing, databases, software and distribution rights, structuring, joint ventures, marketing, and piracy.

Areas of Expertise

  • Internet service providers
  • Media
  • Entertainment
  • Publishing
  • Property
  • Manufacturing
  • Travel
  • Social Media sites
  • Facebook

Trademarks

We can help you register a trademark and protect it. We have advised on:

Applications in multiple jurisdictions
Prospects of success in infringement proceedings
Meeting opposition proceedings in trademark registries
Trademark licensing

Copyright

We advise on:

  • Copyright ownership
  • Breaches of licensed use
  • Litigation infringements
  • The collection of damages
  • Publishing contracts

Misuse of Confidential Information and Trade Secrets

We advise on:

  • Advising in what circumstances confidential information may be used
  • Drafting non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements
  • Addressing employees’ misappropriation of confidential information
  • Application for injunctions preventing unlawful disclosure of confidential information

Fixed Fees

Poor man’s copyright (£100 incl VAT)

Protection for designers.

What steps designers can take to protect their work?

The problem

Among all the creative industries, fashion designers are some of the least well protected.

The fashion industry is renowned for plagiarism, but that need not mean that your designs can be lifted freely and without recompense.

What steps should you be taking either right away, or (more likely) in the future to protect against another design being appropriated?

Your are insistent you can demonstrate that you designed ‘that dress’ – be it a high-profile wedding dress featured in international publications, the heroine’s evening gown from last night’s glitzy film launch, or a new £15 bargain sold alongside the eggs in a supermarket.

What can you do?

Designers recognise that fashion trends only exist as a result of influence. This is usually influence on mass-market retail exerted from themes developed by the couture houses; it is rare for offence to be taken because a concept or idea is utilised.

The solution.

A grievance arises where design is flagrantly copied, or where design details are replicated which wrongly suggest that the product in the marketplace was designed or produced by someone entirely different – the clasp on a Hermes handbag for example.

If you do not have a design registration, you must appreciate that there is no copyright in an idea alone, and it is only very close copying that may be protected.

It will be necessary to make a comparison of the overall look and feel of the design, as well as a piecewise analysis indicating as many minor, or elemental duplications as possible. This is best done in a meeting, with drawings to hand and an album of photographs from all angles. If practicable, make a test purchase and compare the two pieces side by side.

Most importantly, though, with an unregistered design it must be shown that it was directly copied – that the infringing designer had sight of your product and that there was an element of plagiarism. If your product is already on sale, it may be possible that this is inferred; otherwise, one must look to evidence of industrial espionage.

Once you have undergone the analysis, a detailed letter before action should identify all the similarities you have found, and the circumstances of copying that you allege.

As Coco Chanel said: “Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” This industry moves quickly – so a quick action for damages will usually be a better option, than enforcing an ongoing license.

In many cases – notably the weaker ones – the most constructive advice to give is to try and regard the infringement as an object lesson.

It may seem like asking directions to be told ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ – but the designer should be told that their efforts might well be better directed to protecting themselves in the future.

Consider the following forms of protection.

Trademark protection – build a brand and be the better ‘label’. This may attract more copying – but in the fashion world the real deal will always command respect, and if brand copycats arise they will be far easier to restrain.

Registered design – this beats the unregistered protection hands down, and can extend to whole designs or elements of them. There is no need to show evidence of copying is , and the costs of enforcement plummet. This suits the fashion world in particular – as the initial right can be obtained inexpensively for five years, with no need to renew for a dwindling line.

Copyright – costs nothing, but requires the designer to maintain good ‘housekeeping’. Sketches should be kept on record, with signatures and dates; prototypes should be preserved to show a train of development and, by extension, originality. At Hylton-Potts operate a poor man’s copyright scheme for £100 including VAT.

If you can be persuaded to let the infringement action drop, and instead to divert some funds into shoring up their protection for the future rather than risking cash, they will be developing true assets for their business.

If you are a designer consult the experts – For more information or a free legal opinion telephone 020-7381-8111 or email law@hylton-potts.com.

More Information

We are better, cheaper and faster than any solicitor.

We are approachable, no no-nonsense, commercial and street wise, and not bound by any rules, so enabling us to obtain the best result for out clients.
For more information or a free legal opinion telephone 020-7381-8111 or email law@hylton-potts.com.

We offer a fast and efficient service and are committed to a high level of client satisfaction.

Idea theft

I am hoping to develop a new method of delivery for a drug. It has not been used before and has considerable benefits compared to other methods. The problem, however, is that neither the delivery method nor the drug itself are new. Therefore this product will not be patentable as it is classed as “obvious”. I want to approach a delivery system manufacturer, but we run the risk of them taking our idea. I have discovered a journal article that suggests the same method of drug delivery that I intend to develop. Would a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement (NDA) be enough to protect our idea from being stolen? And would the fact that the idea has been published, albeit as one line in an obscure journal, count against an NDA?

Before you discuss your idea with any third party, you should take advice from a patent lawyer. For an idea to be patentable, it must be both novel and inventive. Only if exactly the same method for the same drug has already been published – even in an obscure journal – will your invention lack novelty.
Provided that your method is different to what has been done previously, and the differences solve a problem with existing approaches for delivering the drug, you will have a case that your idea is inventive, and therefore patentable.

A lawyer will be able to prepare a patent application and advise you on your chances of success. Filing a patent application will put you in a good position to discuss your potential product with third parties, as you will be able to disclose the patent application to them, without losing the protection of what was behind it.

The non-disclosure agreement is designed to stop the company disclosing your invention to anyone else, or exploiting of themselves. If the agreement is broken you can seek an injunction and /or damages.

If the lawyer advises you that the idea is unlikely to be patentable, you may still have some knowhow relating to the delivery system, which could be commercially valuable, provided it is kept confidential. Mark any materials supplied to the company, even under a non-disclosure agreement, as “confidential”, date the materials and keep a copy of what you have disclosed. That way if you end up disputing what you disclosed to the company, you will have evidence to support your position.

If you have a new idea, which may be patentable, seek expert advice – For more information or a free legal opinion telephone 020-7381-8111 or email law@hylton-potts.com.