Breakdown of Litigation: Intellectual Property Disputes

It can be very beneficial for companies to invest in intellectual property as it can protect original work and boost a company’s brand image.

However, should another business or person use your intellectual property without your consent, or if they were to breach your intellectual property by creating work that mirrors your own, you could have grounds for complaint.

What does intellectual property cover?

Many different things can be placed under intellectual property, including:


Music can be protected by intellectual property as soon as it has been written down in or is recorded.

Artistic works

Such as paintings, sketches and photographs.

Original works

It can be difficult to distinguish between original works though. In these cases the court must adjudicate.


Including ballet, musicals and opera.

Recorded speech

As soon as a spoken word performance or speech is recorded it can come under intellectual property laws.

TV and films

The original screenplay and musical score of a TV series or film can come under intellectual property rights.

Published materials

Published books, magazines, poetry anthologies and other published materials can include many aspects of intellectual property. For example, specific editions may be copyrighted for their unique typographical differences.

What are the different types of intellectual property?

Products can be covered by intellectual property in the following ways:




-Industrial design rights

-Trade secrets (these are only considered intellectual property in certain jurisdictions, such as the UK, USA and Japan, among others).

What to do if intellectual property rights are breached

If another company or person breaches your intellectual property rights you should first contact the party to inform them of the situation – they may not have realised the item or content was protected.

The first step in the process is to write to them. You can do this yourself or ask your solicitor to handle the matter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work.

What to do if the other party continues

If your letter falls on deaf ears and the other party either ignores it or contacts you to dispute the matter, mediation or arbitration may be the next step. This can help businesses to reach a resolution concerning intellectual property disputes without having to appear in court.

What to do if mediation fails

Unfortunately, mediation doesn’t always provide the result that either party was hoping for. In this instance, a trial might be necessary to allow a judge to rule on the matter. Intellectual property disputes should only be taken to court after serious consideration though, as court cases can be very expensive and time consuming.

How to pay for mediation, arbitration or court cases

Many businesses haven’t the funds available to follow-up on intellectual property disputes. However, they could be very lucrative as they often have large compensation pay-outs attached.

Before heading into an intellectual property dispute, businesses should be aware of the costs. If the funds are genuinely lacking, litigation funding could be a suitable option – most litigation funding companies work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and recoup costs from the compensation amount. This means that, should the case lose, the funding company wouldn’t bill its client for any work done.

This post was contributed on behalf of Vannin Capital, a litigation funding company providing businesses throughout the UK, USA, EU and Caribbean jurisdictions with financial assistance.

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