Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Non-material assets, such as technological innovations, trade secrets, brand names and logos, internet domain names, designs, and other intellectual creations are increasingly becoming the most valuable assets of companies and organisations in both developing and developed economies worldwide, as they become ever more knowledge based and globalisation has become a reality. At the same time, product piracy and the counterfeiting of products ranging from luxury goods to foodstuffs and medicines damage economies, undermine the reputation of companies, support organised crime, and can put consumers at risk.

Intellectual property law seeks to protect this intellectual capital and to ensure that rights holders are able to make the reasonable return on their investment which they require to foster creativity and to sustain continued investment in innovation.

Klein Solicitors offer a wide range of transactional and dispute resolution services in relation to the creation, protection, commercialisation, management and enforcement of intellectual property and related rights including:

  • Trade marks
  • Copyright
  • Design rights

Our work covers a wide range of industry sectors and client profiles, from award-winning up-and-coming young designers, over multi-national companies and fashion houses, to world-leading academic institutions.

Trade Marks and Domain Names

Brand names and logos help to distinguish a company’s products and services from those of its competitors and serve to guarantee their origin and quality. They are the recognisable face of a product or service and encapsulate the goodwill associated with it. Wrongful use of those signs by third parties may damage the reputation and goodwill attached to the associated products and services and their provider. Establishing, protecting and enforcing trade marks is therefore essential to maximise the commercial value of trade names and brands and to preserve their identity and exclusivity.

In general terms, the holder of a trade mark can prevent others from using a mark that is identical with or confusingly similar to his own trade mark for the same or similar goods or services if this would be likely to cause confusion in the minds of the public. Furthermore, certain famous or well-known trade marks also enjoy protection against uses which take unfair advantage of the reputation of such a mark.

Trade mark law can appear confusing and complex, with the co-existence of national, European Community and international trade mark registrations, which are each subject to differing registration requirements, procedures and benefits. Trade marks are registered in specified classes covering defined goods and services. The classification of a trade mark needs to be carefully reviewed in each individual case to ensure that adequate trade mark protection is obtained. But even unregistered trade names can often be protected through actions for passing-off if they have generated goodwill which comes under threat.

Many trade marks are now also used as internet domain names and the co-existence of the domain name and trade mark systems can give rise to legal friction and practical problems, for example, if a person uses a domain name which consists of or includes the trade mark of another person. The domain name disputes that may result are generally resolved through online dispute resolution procedures based on the dispute resolution policy developed by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

In the area of trade marks, trade names and domain names, we assist clients with:

  • Trade mark clearances for registration and use
  • Domain name clearances and dispute resolution
  • Sponsorship and product endorsement
  • Trade mark oppositions and cancellations
  • Brand development and protection, anti-counterfeiting
  • Portfolio management advice, strategies and implementation
  • Trade mark and passing-off litigation
  • Licensing agreements and merchandising
  • Injunctions, search and seizure orders and other protective measures

In addition to the above, we offer a world-wide trade mark filing, trade mark watch and domain name registration service in co-operation with a tried and tested network of leading trade mark attorneys and domain name registrars. They are recognised specialists in their field and help us to ensure that our clients receive best advice, service and value in each and every case. We undertake investigations of suspected IP infringements nationally and internationally in co-operation with experienced specialist investigators and advise you on your options for taking action if problems are identified. Speak to us about the real advantages of carrying out such investigations through us rather than by instructing investigators direct.

Klein Solicitors and/or our lawyers are members of key specialist organisations, including WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization), INTA (International Trademark Association), and the Intellectual Property Committees of the IBA (International Bar Association), UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats) and ABA (American Bar Association). Our lawyers include arbitrators and/or mediators with organisations such as WIPO, ADR.eu and ADR Group, who regularly serve as panellists at the forefront of intellectual property dispute resolution.

Copyright and Design Rights

Copyright protects a wide range of creative works, from technical design drawings, over literary and artistic output and music, to software and new media. Copyright also creates moral rights which allow the author or creator of a work to claim authorship and to prevent any form of mutilation or deformation of his creative work by others which may harm his reputation.

In addition, both registered and unregistered design rights are protected by law. In the area of copyright and design rights, we have longstanding experience and expertise with:

  • Copyright, data base and design right litigation
  • Anti-counterfeiting measures
  • Rights management, and commercialisation, including licensing agreements

We are also able to help with the registration of design rights.

Advertising

We regularly advise clients on advertising issues and the compliance of their print and other media advertisements with applicable statutory requirements and the relevant advertising codes and standards. We are also familiar with the specific rules applicable to web-content and provide terms and conditions for web-site use as well as advice on wider e-commerce issues.

Data Protection

Most businesses and organisations now process data relating to their customers, employees and contacts but are in practice often unaware of their rights and obligations under data protection legislation, ranging from the need to register as a data processor to maintaining required minimum standards in relation to the processing, storage and use of data. We can help you to put the necessary procedures for compliance in place, including, for example, the creation of a privacy policy for use on business web-sites.

Equally, data bases often take considerable time, effort and skill to compile and they are therefore protected by specific data base rights, against breach of confidence, or as trade secrets.

Further Information

We will always be pleased to discuss your legal issues and requirements with you on an informal basis before accepting instructions and to provide you with examples of our track record in your areas of interest. Our Intellectual Property expertise is closely linked with our art law practice. Please ask us for a copy of our leaflet “Art, Antiques, Auctions & Cultural Heritage”. If your query relates to patents, we may offer to conduct certain types of patent litigation and are otherwise able to recommend specialist patent attorneys to you. Please contact Gregor Kleinknecht on +44 (0)207 958 9080 or by e-mail to gk@kleinsolicitors.com for further information.

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