What happens if someone infringes your IP?
Except for bootlegging, counterfeiting and piracy, intellectual property infringement is no crime. Enforcement is therefore the responsibility of the intellectual property owner - that is to say you - and nobody else.
Intellectual property rights are usually enforced by proceedings in the civil courts. Regrettably IP litigation remains expensive in England and Wales though much less expensive than it once was. Because of the cost of litigation, anyone seeking patent or other legal protection for an intellectual asset is urged to consider taking out intellectual property insurance at the same time.
In 2003 IPAC (HM Government's high level advisory committee on intellectual property) published "The Enforcement of Patent Rights". At page 50 of this report IPAC compared the cost of a patent infringement action in the Patents Court and Patents County Court with similar proceedings in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the USA. The costs in the continental countries ranged between €10,000 for a summary proceedings in the Netherlands to €50,000 for a trial in France and Germany. The costs in the Patents Court were about £1 million. Even in the Patents County Court costs ranged from £150,00 to £250,000. Costs in the USA were even higher than in the UK ranging from US$2 to 4 million and upwards. However, these were mitigated by the fact that costs do not usually follow the event and US lawyers can accept instructions on a contingency basis. The cost of intellectual property litigation in the Patents County Court will shortly be capped at £50,000 for proceedings on liability and £25,000 for accounts and inquiries.
Alternatives to Litigation
Fortunately there are alternatives to civil litigation:
You can obtain advice and assistance from counsel and solicitors specializing in IP or from patent or trade mark attorneys with rights of audience or rights to conduct litigation in the civil courts. Most counsel specializing in IP litigation belong to the Intellectual Property Bar Association and most specialist law firms to the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. NIPC Law offers specialist intellectual property services to inventors and small businesses,