Protecting intellectual property through private prosecutions
Produced in partnership with Kyle Phillips and James Seadon of Fieldfisher LLP

The following IP practice note produced in partnership with Kyle Phillips and James Seadon of Fieldfisher LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protecting intellectual property through private prosecutions
  • Why prosecute?
  • Why a private prosecution?
  • Offences
  • Copyright offences—making or dealing with infringing articles
  • Unauthorised use of trade mark etc in relation to goods
  • Fraud
  • Conspiracy to defraud
  • The Real Deal Campaign
  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • More...

Protecting intellectual property through private prosecutions

This Practice Note summarises the main legal and practical issues that rights holders and their lawyers need to bear in mind when considering whether to bring a private prosecution for counterfeiting or piracy. It also looks at the benefits of criminal prosecutions, the types of offences and potential risks, and provides a summary of the main stages of a prosecution and the relevant legal and procedural matters that may arise.

Why prosecute?

Repeat offenders and organised criminals frequently copy, counterfeit and pirate protected goods. They may do so at a low level (eg at market stalls, car boot sales, pubs), but also as part of more sophisticated operations, such as through illicit websites and sham or phoenix companies and via social media. In such cases, the criminality is often clear. While prosecutions should not be used as a means of settling civil disputes over arguably legitimate activities, they offer a highly effective mechanism for dealing with clearly criminal activities that may not be dealt with adequately in the civil courts and offer costs protection, even where the defendant is acquitted.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of prosecution is deterrence. Serious infringements can result in custodial sentences and confiscation of assets, putting infringers out of business and deterring others. Prosecution is also an effective means of targeting individuals and directors who might otherwise be

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