Thursday, April 18, 2013

Law Commission of England Consultation on Patents, Trade Marks and Design Rights: Groundless Threats

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 project.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:57 pm


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