IP Disputes – The Trade Mark Minefield

In today’s entrepreneurial age, the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection cannot be overstated. The increase in new businesses being incorporated and the growth of existing ones creates a complex landscape where clashes over trademarks, copyrights, and patents are becoming more common and the recent case involving the luxury good giant LVMH  highlights the challenges smaller companies face when larger entities oppose their IP applications.

This case, the details of which can be found here, is your typical David v Goliath battle. A Norfolk couple applied to register the trade mark LV Bespoke to protect its home and gardening business.  LVMH, perhaps unsurprisingly given the value of the brand, objected to the registration arguing that it was too similar to their mark and an attempt to ride on the coat tails of Louis Vuitton’s reputation. Usually at this stage the minnow would back down in the face of such opposition but L V Bespoke stood their ground and after 2 years and £15,000 in costs they won and succeeded in getting their mark registered.

This case matters because often smaller companies cave in to those with deeper pockets and expensive lawyers and it doesn’t come without cost. If a company is forced to change its name or pull a product from the market following an IP dispute, the costs can be devastating.

So, to avoid IP  disputes please consider the following points when creating and exploiting your IP:

Legal Guidance: It’s crucial to seek early legal advice from a qualified intellectual property attorney. They can guide you through the process, help you navigate potential objections, and provide valuable insights for a successful IP strategy.

Proactive Protection: Don’t wait until a dispute arises to think about IP protection. Registering trademarks and patents early in the business development process can be a proactive measure to prevent future conflicts.

Documentation: Keep detailed records of your IP creation and use, including dates, prototypes, design processes, etc. This documentation can serve as evidence in case of a dispute and strengthen your position.

IP Strategy: Develop a comprehensive IP strategy that aligns with your business goals. This may include licensing agreements, monitoring competitors’ activities, and actively enforcing your IP rights when necessary.

Regular Audits: Periodically review and reassess your IP strategy. This is especially important as your business evolves, launches new products, or enters different markets.

Take out IP insurance: This will level the playing field by funding any oppositions/litigation that arises. It will enable you to enforce your IP as your business grows

IP is a hugely important tool for adding value to a business but, unfortunately, the system is not perfect. The process of acquiring rights can be lengthy, complicated and expensive and often those with the deepest pockets are able to game the system most effectively. However, by seeking sound professional advice as early as possible and putting IP insurance in place, you too can use IP to protect what you  have worked so hard to create

For more information on how to obtain a quote for IP insurance, get in touch today or complete the form here

Great Patents Need Insurance

Sometimes you have to hold your hands up to the genius of humankind. A colleague was recently at a cricket match and saw a man carrying this multi cup beer holder and anyone who has had to carry multiple pints without this device will know what a life saver it is. No more having to walk away from the bar at 1mph, no more spillage and most importantly, no more fear of dropping the lot!

On further investigation, it appears the clever entrepreneur who invented this beauty has also taken steps to protect it by registering intellectual property, in this case a patent (see the drawing below). This is very sensible as I am sure we will soon be seeing this device in sports stadiums around the world.

So not to be left with a bad hangover, the next sensible step will be to buy a patent insurance policy to mitigate the risk of this device being copied.  Unfortunately, as with all successful IP, larger competitors are bound to want a piece of the action but a patent insurance policy would level the financial playing field and allow action to be taken to stop any copycats.

If you’d like to get a quote for patent insurance please head here to complete our short form and we’ll obtain a quote for you within two working days. The policies will cover the cost of enforcing rights against infringers and also defending claims that you have infringed others rights. Premiums start from around £80pm for UK cover.

Its vital cover is in place before any potential claims arise so don’t delay and complete our form today.


Patent and Trade Mark insurance

Safeguard iP

In today’s modern economy company value is predominantly tied up in intangible assets such as brands, innovative product or process, copyright or trade secrets etc and whilst most businesses insure other (less valuable) business assets like buildings, stock and staff they overlook Patent Insurance and Trade mark Insurance to protect their most valuable asset.

In an environment where it is cheaper to copy then create, there is always a risk that successful IP will be ripped of by a competitor. Copycats take the view that smaller businesses wont have the funds to stop an infringement of their rights and often this assessment is accurate, given the significant costs of enforcing IP rights through the courts. IP insurance levels the playing fields and allows smaller companies to fight back and preserve the value of their intellectual property.

The cost of intellectual property insurance starts from as little as £100pm for UK cover, so there is every reason for IP rich businesses to consider putting IP insurance cover in place, before its too late. Its vital to protect investment in IP today!

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of Patent insurance and trade mark insurance go to our website here and if you’d like a quote you just need to complete the short form here and we’ll get back to you in 48 hours.



FICPI World Congress 2022

I am delighted to have been asked to share my knowledge of Patent, Trade Mark and Copyright insurance at the FICPI World Congress, which is taking place in Cannes in September. This congress will be one of the largest gatherings of IP Attorneys in the world.

I will be talking about how SME’s can mitigate the cost risk of Intellectual Property litigation by having a robust insurance policy in place.

If you are attending the event please let me know so we can set some time aside to meet.

If you are not attending, I shall post my presentation on this site after the event.

In the meantime, if you are concerned about the risk of IP litigation please read up about the benefits of having cover in place here and if you’d like to obtain a quote please complete the short form here

Disney’s Mickey Mouse Problem

2024 is a big year in the life of 95 year old Mickey Mouse. Ever since he was a young mouse, his family, in the shape of Disney, has wielded its considerable power to protect his value to the company ($3bn in merchandise sales alone in 2019).  This power extended to successfully lobbying the US government on no less than three occasions to change US copyright laws. When he was born on 1 October 1928, Copyright protection in the US lasted 56 years. When this was close to expiring Disney supported the Copyright Act 1976 which extended the length of Copyright in the US to 75 years. And you’ve guessed it, when Mickey’s copyright was close to expiring in 1998 they further lobbied the government to have protection for Copyright extended to a whopping 95 years.

Despite further lobbying, Disney appears to have now run out of road and is facing up to the fact that, pretty soon Mickey Mouse will be in the public domain and can be ‘owned’ by anyone. In fact, any third party will be able to use the Mickey Mouse character as it was originally created and create their own Mickey Mouse stories or stories with the character.

I imagine, there will be many publishers, film studios and merchandisers rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect however, the right to reproduce this world famous character is not unfettered.

To ensure continued protection Disney has over the years, filed a number of trademarks that protect certain catchphrases and signature outfits worn by Mickey and his mates. So if anyone is considering replicating Mickey, they need to be very careful to ensure that consumers don’t assume the work originated from Disney. If any such confusion arises, you can be sure one of Disney’s vast team of lawyers will come knocking on your door to serve trademark infringement papers and, given the sums at stake they wont be wearing trade mark Disney smiles.

The interesting point here is it’s not only Disney that are affected. Hugely famous books, records, plays and characters will be coming to the end of there copyright life every year and it will be fascinating to see how commercial entities capitalise on this and how the creators (or most likely their estates) fight back.

If you are concerned that a third party might copy your trademark, copyright or patent please do get in touch here and we can advise on the best way forward. Taking out Patent Insurance, Trademark Insurance and/or  Copyright Insurance is an excellent way to mitigate this significant business risk.

Intellectual Property Insurance Explainer Video

Most of our clients are new to patent insurance or trade mark insurance. They appreciate it can add real value to their business but are unsure of how it works in practice, what it covers and how much it costs.

I recently spoke to Lexdech to answer some of these questions and the short video of our chat can be found at the link below.

Lexdech Interview

If, after watching the video, you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you’d like to obtain a quote, just fill out the short form here, and we will get the process started for you.