The following IP practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained. This Practice Note sets out the law of unjustified threats of patent infringement prior to its amendment by the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 (IP(UT)A 2017). Communications made prior to 1 October 2017 continue to be governed by the old regime in respect of patents, trade marks and designs, as appropriate.
All references in this Practice Note to the Patents Act 1977 (PA 1977), are references to the legislation as it was prior to its amendment by the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 (IP(UT)A 2017) on 1 October 2017.
For information about the current threats regime, which applies to communications made since 1 October 2017, see the maintained Practice Note: Unjustified threats of intellectual property right infringement.
Patent litigation is recognised as being time consuming and often costly. The statutory threats provisions have attempted to minimise the disruption to businesses that are threatened by rights owners wielding their registered 'monopoly' rights in an overly aggressive and unjustified way.
Under PA 1977, a ‘threat’ of bringing infringement proceedings may allow a person 'aggrieved' by the threat to bring proceedings against the person who made the threat in circumstances where that threat is 'groundless'. An allegation of unjustified threats can also form part of a counterclaim in patent infringement proceedings.
Where a groundless
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Unlike many other countries, the UK has no unfair competition law. Brand owners seeking to prevent competitors from marketing ‘copycat’ products or using misleading advertising have to rely on a combination of different intellectual property rights. These rights include the common law right to
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