Intellectual property law is of a constantly evolving nature. With every new invention and every copyright filed, a new dynamic is created. The law changes with case law and litigation around Intellectual Property, making it difficult for a lay person to keep up with. It can also be observed that numerous artists, even today are unaware of their rights thus often face moral and financial loss.
An IP lawyer/solicitor plays a major role in various forms to simplify complex procedures, from strategy in filing or registering of your Intellectual property to defending it in a Court of law and everything in between.
The registration of any form of intellectual property involves various steps that need professional guidance. The steps involved while filing, need technical skills like knowledge of procedures, assessment of competitor intellectual property, drafting of complex scientific differences when it comes to patents for example ( where many patent solicitors are also experts in science and technology), choosing the right Classes and specifications to avoid future objections, removal of objections, as well as duties like educating clients with the nuances of (legal) language used and keeping abreast with updates in the law such as during Brexit.
An IP professional is also able to keep clients up-to-date regarding monitoring of other similar brands, companies, or websites that may be infringing their IP rights and vice versa prevent them from infringing the rights of another entity. As and when the situation demands, this infringement may be tackled by way of Alternative Dispute Resolution like Mediation, Conciliation, or Arbitration as a more cost effective and advisable option in the first instance. If need be, the dispute can be resolved by way of Litigation before the appropriate forum as well as taking of criminal action for rip-offs of famous brands or films and organizations such as FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) which works worldwide to help protect your brand or ideas eg. copying a TV programme or film script, sport, music and games, without payment of royalty take strict action.
As an example of repercussions of more concrete action against piracy , over Christmas 2020 and the lockdown people are using online portals more than usual. More than 7000 residents, believed to have been using an illegal TV streaming service, are set to receive warning notices this week from Lancashire Police.
The Police cyber-crime unit is issuing the warnings to subscribers of an IPTV service which allows users to illegally stream premium channels at a reduced rate.
Subscribers will receive the Cease and Desist Notices this week, via email, asking them to stop using the service immediately.
The warning states that subscribing to these services is a crime which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine, and a criminal record.
The notice, one of the first of its kind aimed at consumers of illegal streaming services, also makes clear that Lancashire Constabulary will monitor subscribers’ behaviour and an investigation will be launched if the email is ignored.
This action is part of an ongoing investigation designed to crackdown on illegal streaming and those profiting from it.
The list of subscribers to the IPTV service was discovered after officers carried out a warrant at an address in Lytham in June. A 28-year-old man was arrested in connection with suspected illegal streaming of premium TV channels, fraud and money laundering. Two high value cars, designer clothing, jewellery and handbags were also seized from the address.
The man has since been released under investigation.
People who subscribe to these services might not realise that they are illegal, but the fact is they are, and we believe that the people who sell them know that.
“What may cost you a relatively small one-off fee, actually results in television producers and sports broadcasters losing millions of pounds which affects their ability to make and show sports events and entertainments series, which many of us enjoy watching.
“Anyone who subscribes to an illegal streaming service should stop now to avoid facing prosecutions themselves.”
The CEO of FACT added: “We are pleased to give our full support to Lancashire Police in sending a really clear message to those choosing to consume content illegally. This is taken very seriously by the police and these notices are a direct and alarming wake up call for people using illegal streams. If you use illegal streaming services you are accountable for your actions and you will be pursued. This is not a grey area and it is not worth the risk.
“Consumers should also be aware that illegal streaming originates from sophisticated criminal enterprises; your money goes directly into criminals’ pockets.”
It is a lesser-known fact that an IP professional also plays a crucial role in the Marketing of a company. With growth in all innovative and creative fields, digital marketing, in particular, has become an important tool to keep up with competition. This has, on the other hand, given rise to passing off actions in advertisements involving infringement of unregistered Intellectual property or copyright to stealing of a marketing strategy itself. It is therefore important to draw a line between healthy and unhealthy competition and seek professional guidance from your lawyer to protect your brand and ideas from lost profits, litigation and damaged reputation. So also protection of your brand from day one will help add value at the point of sale or allow you to license it in a franchise.
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