The Law Commission of England and Wales is undertaking a consultation on what are known as groundless threats in patent and trade-mark cases
"Intellectual property rights are a vital foundation of economic growth.
Patents, trade marks and design rights ensure that innovation is
rewarded and encouraged. If misused, however, they can stifle new ideas
and inventions. Infringement litigation can be disruptive and
expensive. The law provides a remedy in the shape of the threats
provisions. Where a threat is made without a genuine intention to
litigate; where there has been no infringement or where the right is
invalid the threat is said to be groundless (or unjustified). Any
person aggrieved by a groundless threat may apply to court for an
injunction, declaration or damages."
"There are problems with the current law. The provisions
do not distinguish well between the trade source of the infringement and
others with a lesser connection, such as customers. Groundless threats
actions can also be used tactically to drive a wedge between legal
advisers and their clients or to drive cases to court rather than
encourage negotiations over settlement."
The consultation is part of the Commission's Patents, Trade Marks and Design Rights: Groundless Threats
Labels: intellectual property, law commissions, UK