A trading business will always have some form of intellectual property (IP), whether it be in a trading name, a logo, a customer database etc. These different types of IP rights should be adequately protected so that a business can realise their value, whether through licensing, assigning or on a sale of the business.
Protecting IP is often made more difficult given the rate at which the area of law is moving. 2024 looks to be no exception. The recent decision in Thatchers Cider Co Ltd v Aldi Stores Ltd illustrated some of these complexities when assessing the question of ‘how similar is too similar’. This case involved not only a global assessment of likelihood of confusion, but also a taste test from the Judge herself. If you are manufacturing goods (alcoholic or otherwise), knowledge of the market will be essential in avoiding IP infringement, especially as larger retailers have continued to show a willingness to vigorously defend their IP.
AI continues to be a hot topic in the world of copyright. With generative AI able to ‘create’ from text and data mining, authors of copyrighted material will be keen to see how the cases currently in the English Court system are dealt with. 2024 is therefore likely to be an important year in the development of this area of law (for authors of copyrighted materials in particular).
Brexit also continues to impact on IP rights, and businesses will want to ensure that they have in place the correct procedures and protections for their IP. If you have not had a review of your IP since Brexit, it may be time to conduct an IP audit (especially if your business previously benefited from certain European IP protections) as many of the transitional provisions are now coming to an end.
Here at Gaby Hardwicke, our specialist IP lawyers can help you navigate all IP-related matters. Whether you need to licence or assign IP rights between subsidiary companies, or you need advice on avoiding IP infringement, our commercial team is on-hand to assist.