Insights IP crime and enforcement: UK Intellectual Property Office publishes guidance

The Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) has published a video and short guidance summarising the issues and processes that apply to claimants and defendants in IP disputes, particularly aimed at small businesses and individuals. In respect of claimants, for example, the guidance states that mediation is a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes (and the court will expect claimants to have tried to resolve the dispute – possibly via mediation – before starting legal proceedings) and provides links to the IPO’s mediation service. It also explains that the IP Enterprise Court is designed to help SMEs and individuals get affordable access to justice by providing two alternative tracks: one for claims of less than £10,000 (now heard in Manchester) and another for claims of less than £500,000. Further, the Guidance highlights that, although trading standards usually conduct criminal IP investigations and prosecutions, individuals and organisations can conduct private investigations and bring private prosecutions in the criminal courts. Successful criminal prosecutions do not result in damages awards (as with civil IP infringement claims), but criminal courts do have the power to make compensation orders and a private prosecutor can pursue confiscation proceedings against a convicted defendant.

The Guidance provides numerous useful links such as to a list of IP offences and penalties and to government guidance on how IP rightsholders can report and remove infringing listings on ecommerce websites.

As regards issues relating to potential defendants in IP disputes, the guidance provides a link to the Supply Chain Toolkit, which aims to make individuals and businesses aware of the growing risks from counterfeit goods getting into business supply chains.

For more information, click here.