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Specialisms

IP Litigation

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Our specialist legal team have set precedent several times, securing remarkable commercial results for our clients across the broadest scope of IP disputes.

 

What is IP litigation?

 

Intellectual property (IP) rights are the rights surrounding your intangible assets such as your brands and technology. IP rights are a poorly understood area of law. Getting it wrong can not only cost your business a great deal of money, it can also remove your commercial edge.

Whilst IP covers all intangible assets, some of these are better known and understood than others. For example, you may already know about trade mark and patent rights as you’ve already registered those rights at the Intellectual Property Office. What is less visible are your customer and supplier databases, your product designs and your copyrights. Those copyrights exist in your photos, texts, layouts, and your software or confidential rights in your data, reports and similar.

 

 

The Go-To Experts for Experts

 

Sadly, these days, there are many so-called “experts” out there offering a range of low-quality solutions. However, given the specialist nature of IP law and general lack of awareness, many people (including non-expert lawyers) lack the experience and expertise to handle IP issues without additional help. Fewer know very much about IP litigation. It’s one reason why we're the go-to experts for many other experts such as trade mark and patent attorneys.

 

 

The Elephant in the Room

 

Cost is not the elephant in the room for us.

We’ll provide you with fixed costs notes of advice, setting out your options ahead of time. This gives you peace of mind and something to think about. We also offer fixed cost calls to discuss the problem and your choices. Once we've embarked on litigation, we’ll inform you of costs upfront. No one likes surprises. We're not cheap, but we're certainly not rip-off merchants either. This goes against our core values of who we are and what we do. We wish we could be 100% accurate upfront with quotes, but litigation rarely allows us to cap costs as we do in other IP areas.

We guarantee that we will always be conscientious of your financial position, every step of the way.

 

Your Success is our Success

 

When we speak to you about IP litigation; it’s all about the best result for you.

It's important from day one to understand and plan for what can and can't be achieved. It’s also essential to put this into a commercial context. Not just a legal one. We’ll consider the problem in the round. Who will this affect? What message will be sent out to your team, your competitors, your adversaries? How will litigation affect the management of your business and the cash flow?

The answers to these questions and help you put the issue into context. Winning but winning at all costs doesn't always get you where you want to be. We will always work to secure your best possible outcome.

 

Picture of a nice cannon. IP Litigation.

 

Trade Mark Disputes

Trade marks help businesses secure brands that help them stand out in the marketplace.

Trade mark disputes arise when someone uses a brand that is identical, or similar to and there is a risk of confusion to,  someone’s trade mark.

Resolving trade mark disputes is important because:

  • It provides clarity about how you can deploy your brands in the marketplace
  • It stops others utilizing brands similar to yours, benefitting from your hard-earned reputation and confusion created amongst the relevant public
  • It helps you maximise the income you make from the brands you have developed

We have helped businesses both enforce trade marks they own, and defend against claims made against them for the past 15 years.

If you are experiencing an issue related to trade mark infringement and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry to our team.

 

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Copyright Disputes

Copyright protects various works, and can include things such as artwork, music, photography, videos and written works.

Copyright disputes emerge when an infringer uses these works without permission of the rights holder, infringing either their economic or moral rights over the work

Resolving copyright disputes is important because:

  • It ensures that creators’ financial rights to their work are realised
  • It helps creators realise where their work can be used to generate revenue
  • It encourages and protects creativity in the marketplace by limiting the incentive to copy works

Virtuoso Legal have assisted hundreds of creators in enforcing and protecting their works through copyright.

If you are experiencing an issue related to copyright infringement and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below to submit an enquiry.

 

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Passing Off Disputes

Passing off is a legal tort that allows business owners to achieve protection over brands that have not been registered as trade marks, but have sufficient reputation to warrant protection.

Passing off claims allows businesses to protect their brands, albeit in a less efficient way than if they would be able to launch a trade mark infringement claim.

When resolved, passing off disputes are characterised by:

  • Allows you to secure the use of your brand within the area in which it has been deployed and has a reputation
  • Establishes evidence of reputation and sales under the brand within that area
  • Grants a certain degree of stability for using that brand into the future

 

Passing off claims are not the most straight-forward and are often more complex and involved than trade mark infringement claims. We have assisted a number of businesses in asserting their brands through passing off.

If you are experiencing an issue related to brand infringement and do not have a trade mark, get in touch with our team, to find out what your best next steps are.

 

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Patent Disputes

Patents are a form of registered intellectual property right that protect inventions.

Patent disputes emerge when a patented technology or process is used without the express permission of the patent rights holder.

Enforcing against patent infringement is important because:

  • Patents take a significant investment of time and money to secure, but confer some of the strongest rights over the use of patented technology
  • Patents offer 25 years of protection over technology, and as such offer monopoly for a limited time
  • Patents often sit at the core of a company’s unique offering, and competitive advantage

Patent disputes are often highly technical, and require both specialist understanding of IP law, as well as the area of technology the patented invention exists within. Our specialist team have enforced several such disputes to positive outcomes for our clients.

If you are experiencing an issue related to patent infringement and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry to our team.

 

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Design Disputes

Designs are protected by design rights and there are two types.

These are registered and unregistered design rights. Both provide a different scope and length of protection over a design. 

Design infringement occurs when a design has been used without the express permission of the original designer - who has a set of rights over the design.

Enforcing against design infringement is important because:

  • Designs are not examined when submitted for registration, as such it is down to designers to be vigilant about encroachment on their designs
  • Enforcing designs, alongside copyright can offer a "second bite of the cherry" against infringers  
  • Designs are often one of the less well-enforced IPRs, and offer a fantastic opportunity for designers to secure their core ideas

Designs are not examined when they are submitted for registration. As such, design infringement claims can be complex as they require a clear understanding of the status of a design, elements that have been infringed and the strength of the claim.

If you are experiencing an issue related to design infringement and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry to our team.

 

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Data Loss

In recent years, data has become more and more important to businesses. Whether it is business plans, client lists, or otherwise – data is providing businesses with the insight that informs their next big moves.

Because of this, data loss within a business can quickly cause serious damage to a business’ fortunes.

We help businesses with data loss disputes by:

  • Calculating the value of the data loss to the organisation
  • Identifying liabilities and the best way to retrieve value lost
  • Acting decisively to stop damage and secure your data flows

We have assisted clients in a number of data loss matters.

If you are experiencing an issue related to data loss get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Data Protection

Data protection is an important consideration for modern businesses.

New laws such as GDPR, the Data Protection Act 2018 and otherwise have placed a higher threshold on businesses to handle and process data appropriately.

Breaches of data protection also involve more significant enforcement.

We help businesses:

  • Analyse their data protection requirements and deploy best practices within the business
  • Effectively deal with any data protection claims and disclosure requests
  • Help you with any ICO issues and data protection enforcement actions

If you are experiencing any data protection issues and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Brand Disputes

Protected by trade marks or under the law of passing off, brands are used by businesses to attract clients and customers to a recognisable sign.

Brand disputes encompass trade mark disputes, passing off and a host of other disagreements that can come from misuse of brands.

As brand protection specialists we are experts in helping you:

  • Enforce or defend any trade mark infringement and passing off claims
  • Dealing with issues that may arise from 3rd party use of brands
  • Offer proactive services, helping you avoid any further brand disputes in the future

We have helped businesses resolve a broad scope of brand disputes for the past 15 years.

If you are experiencing or anticipate a brand dispute and would like to know what top do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Confidential Information

Confidential information refers to any information that has been designated as held in secret between a certain group of people.

This is often designated through confidentiality agreements, demarcation of confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements, employment contracts or under common law.

Disputes arise when confidential information is unlawfully shared.

In these circumstances we can help by:

  • Immediately restricting the use of confidential information
  • Bringing claims against defendants where they have breached confidentiality
  • Helping businesses establish best practices relating to confidential information moving forward

We have assisted a number of businesses in addressing breaches of confidentiality. Get in touch with our team by clicking below to learn how we can assist you.

 

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Software Disputes

Software businesses face a range of unique challenges when it comes to protecting their products and services.

Whilst generally protected via copyright, ownership over software is more complicated over other forms of creative work – making software disputes often trickier and more technical.

We help enforce and defend businesses when it relates to software disputes, this includes

  • Helping businesses enforce agreements around software (e.g. licensing and SaaS agreements)
  • Where copying has occurred, enforcing copyright in relation to software
  • Untangling and identifying specific rights relating to ownership over software

If you anticipate a software dispute and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are a type of information that is held within an organisation, broadly kept secret from the wider public, albeit not via a patent or other registered right.

An example of trade secrets is the Coca-Cola recipe, or the knowhow relating to self-driving cars in the high-profile Google v Uber case in the USA.

To hold information as a trade secret, a business must undertake a certain formal methodology and management of this information within their business.

Trade secrets disputes emerge when trade secrets are made available to the wider public despite the best practices of the business protecting them. These are complex and highly involved claims, no unlike patent disputes in their intricacy.

Resolving trade secrets disputes is important because:

  • As with patent disputes, innovations protected via trade secrets are oftentimes the cornerstone of a business
  • Trade secrets allow businesses to hold an innovation within their business in perpetuity (whereas patents are a limited time monopoly), as such it is important to remain vigilant in their enforcement

We have specialist expertise relating to the enforcement of trade secrets.

If you are experiencing an issue related to trade secrets and would like to know what happens next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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IP Interim Injunctions

Interim injunctions are a legal mechanism which stops an alleged infringer from continuing with the alleged infringement of rights. In IP this may occur in relation to a broad range of intellectual property rights.

Key to a successful interim injunction is evidencing the likelihood of infringement and damage at a preliminary hearing. Injunctions are a strong relief act and have a significant impact on the injunctee.

Virtuoso Legal have both issued and defended clients in the past from injunctive actions. Detail and experience are important when bringing injunctions on account of:

  • Injunctions if brought incorrectly can result in an adverse costs and damages award to the injunctor
  • To bring an injunction quickly and correctly requires prior experience and knowledge of the requirements relating to the burden of proof of infringement and damage
  • Injunctions also initiate a broader set of proceedings that require experts to deal with in order to minimise financial disruption

 

If you have had an IP interim injunction brought against you, or wish to injunct an alleged infringer, get in touch with our team by clicking the button below in order to discuss the next steps.

 

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Website Disputes

Websites have become the “shop front” for contemporary businesses – becoming the main point of contact for customers and clients to interact with a business and its products.

Because of this, websites have become a common target of intellectual property disputes, whether it is to do with ownership of a website, or the content that it hosts.

Virtuoso Legal have assisted a range of clients in dealing with website disputes including:

  • Securing ownership of websites to businesses where disputes occur with developers
  • Asserting rights over website content and layout where infringement occurs
  • Enforcing where trade has been diverted through infringing domains or otherwise

Virtuoso legal have assisted a number of companies in high profile disputes pertaining to websites.

If you are experiencing a website dispute and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Licensing Disputes

Licensing of IP occurs between an intellectual property rights holder and someone who uses the IP under the terms of the license – typically paying the rights holder for the privilege.

Licensing disputes can emerge when a licensee does not adhere to the terms of the license and uses IP in an improper way or does not fulfil their financial obligation.

Virtuoso Legal have acted for businesses in relation to licensing disputes, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting comprehensive IP licenses to ensure that they protect the licensors best interests
  • Enforcing the terms of a license when a dispute has occurred
  • Reviewing licensing agreements to examine liabilities and responsibilities of parties

 

If you are a licensor or licensee and a dispute is set to occur get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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IP Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants are terms that restrict employees in certain actions when leaving a business.

This might include things such as working for a direct competitor within a reasonable amount of time or contacting previous clients and customers.

Intellectual property can come into play when it comes to restrictive covenants.

Virtuoso Legal have assisted ex-employees, and businesses in claims relating to restrictive covenants and IP, including but not limited to:

  • Non-compete and non-solicitation
  • Restriction related to expertise gained in the previous employment
  • Defending injunctions, and bringing injunctions in relation to the above

We have helped businesses both enforce trade marks they own and defend against claims made against them for the past 15 years.

If you are experiencing an issue in this area and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry.

 

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Breach of IP Contract Disputes

IP contracts between businesses establish terms of use relating to various different forms of intangible assets. Whether it is shared use of: data, brands technology or otherwise.

Strong IP contracts and agreements are a must for innovation and research-led businesses.

Equally, upon breach of IP contracts, it is important to be able to effectively enforce legal action to limit damage and misuse of intellectual property.

Virtuoso Legal is able to assist businesses in a range of IP contractual disputes, including but not limited to:

  • Reviewing and amending IP contracts to ensure that they effectively protect a business
  • Enforcing the terms of IP contracts when they are transgressed
  • Reviewing contractual claims made for their validity and enforceability

 

If you are experiencing an IP contract dispute and would like to know what to do next, get in touch with our team, by clicking the button below and submitting an enquiry to our team.

 

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The process we follow

1

Review and Advice

The key to any successful legal action is the best possible plan. At the beginning of any dispute a review is undertaken to 1) gather all the facts 2) identify the best options on the table and 3) ascertain the client’s ideal outcome. In many ways, the review is the most important stage in any matter. Our specialists are best placed to make the strongest argument at this stage often solving issues before they gain traction.

2

Response

Once a review is completed, a response letter to the other side may be required. A response letter often concludes a matter – either seeking action from the other side or mitigating a claim by limiting its legal footing. We formulate responses so that are carefully constructed, as it constitutes the foundation of a claim should it continue and furthermore, incorrect claims can result in costly counterclaims.

3

Correspondence

Should the other side not agree to withdraw their claim or fulfil undertakings – correspondence may then occur to progress the claim. We strike a balance between accruing further legal fees to argue with belligerent opposition and seeking to conclude the claim. In each instance we endeavour to leave you in the best possible commercial position.

4

ADR / Settlement

Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADRs) and settlements are agreed courses of action decided by both sides on a claim. Such agreements are expertly negotiated by our team to ensure that the outcome best suits your business goals. In such cases where binding agreements are made, it is vital to have experienced experts negotiating your position; as such agreements will determine how your business is legally bound in the future.

5

Trial

Where possible, Virtuoso Legal’s experts will do everything within their power to ensure that your claim is resolved before trial. However, if not possible, the Virtuoso Legal team are highly experienced in resolving litigious matters in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), High Court and intellectual property offices (IPOs). In addition, we have secured results in the UK Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Trial can be challenging, with a large amount of preparatory work being completed by our team and barristers. We present the strongest possible legal argument, minimise the impact of the litigation on your business, and achieve the best outcome for you.

“In each case, our specialist team seeks to resolve your dispute as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Our unique in-house expertise allows us to resolve issues much quicker than our competitors, before costs get out of hand.”

Elizabeth Ward, Founding Director and IP Solicitor

Our experts in this area

Elizabeth Ward

Kirsten Toft

Case study

Ex-employees of a biotechnology giant contacted the team when their previous employers brought a claim. Having set up their own business, the giant claimed they were using of confidential info and breaching their old contracts. We successfully stepped in to defend the ex-employees in the High Court in a highly technical David versus Goliath case.…
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Case study

A complex case involving trade mark use, Google AdSense advertising and the domain name "argos.com".  Virtuoso Legal client Argos Systems (USA) receive a High Court claim from retailer Argos (UK) relating to the domain and associated issues. Claim is defended by Virtuoso Legal, through the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.  …
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Testimonial

Thanks very much to Virtuoso Legal for bringing me justice. This success is only kept me my job, but also my family. I spent everything I have in defending this case and finally received peace of mind. It is no doubt his team is the best I can find and they also have lots of…

How can we help?

If you need assistance in any of these areas, get in touch with our world class solicitors.

Leeds 0113 237 9900

London 0208 088 2367

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