Most people dealing with Intellectual Property (‘IP’) law will need expert help and advice. This is because IP is a complex and difficult area of the law that solicitors do train to become specialists in. This article contains some examples of frequently asked questions surrounding IP law:
Why do people use a specialist intellectual property lawyer?
The reason why so many people seek the advice and assistance of a specialist intellectual property lawyer is because they are experts in this complex area of the law. When you have created something unique and special such as a work of art, writing or recording, an invention, or a design, you want to ensure that it is properly protected and this is where getting the right intellectual property advice, at an early stage, from these legal experts can prove to be invaluable.
Why protect my ideas and work?
When you have spent time and effort on an idea or creation the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and reap the benefits. Your idea or work could be very valuable to you both in terms of sentiment and monetary value but without the proper protection in place someone else could come along and easily pull the rug from under you leaving you with a product, creation, or idea that is no longer unique and is devalued. With the proper legal protection you can ensure that this does not happen and if anyone attempts it you will have the framework in place to take appropriate action.
If I come up with an idea for the company I work for, who owns the intellectual property rights?
If the idea you came up with was as part of your duties at work the rights will usually lie with the company. However, sometimes this can be a grey area and will depend on a number of factors such as whether you developed the idea in work time, using work equipment, following discussion with your manager, etc. If you are not sure about who owns the IP rights you should speak to your intellectual property lawyer who will assess the factors to determine whether the rights lie with you or the company that you work for.
What do I do if I find out someone is using my work without my permission?
If someone is infringing on your IP rights then you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. You have two options – you can either take action to stop them from using your work altogether or you can decide whether you want to allow them to continue using it with your permission and on your terms. If you decide to take action you may be able to settle out of court.