Skip to main content

IP myth busters (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

Myth and legend is not just the stuff of Lord of the Rings. There are plenty of ommon misconceptions in intellectual property which are often further exacerbated by statements on the internet and the popularity of TV shows where legal ‘advice’ or commentary may be given. Here are a few of the most common ones we hear and the truth behind them.

Myth: If I use only 20 seconds of music or 8 bars of a song then I don’t need permission from the copyright owner
Busted: The test for copyright infringement is whether or not a substantial part of the original work has been copied. This test is more qualitative than quantative but both are relevant to the assessment. The reality is that if only a small part is copied, if that part is significant (eg. the hook of a song), then it may still be an infringement of copyright.

Myth: If I make 5 changes to my design then I won’t infringe design rights
Busted: There is no magic number of changes required to avoid infringement. A registered design right has been infringed if the new design creates the same overall impression as the registered design. The more unique the original design and the greater the design freedom for the subject of the design, the greater the changes required to create a different overall impression.

Myth: It’s on social media/the internet so I can use it
Busted: Materials protected by intellectual property rights are still protected, even if they are on social media or other internet sites. You will generally need the rights holder’s consent for the specific use you would like to make of the work.

Myth: TM means registered trade mark

Busted: You have probably seen the TM sign on various products and in advertising. TM does not mean registered trade mark, though it may mean that someone is indicating that they are using that mark as an unregistered trade mark. In the UK, the correct symbol for a registered trade mark is the “R” sign. It is a criminal offence to use the “R” sign with a mark that is not a registered trade mark.

This article was first published in the Brands & IP newsnotes publication - issue 4

Related items

Related services

Christmas counterfeits – How did you fare? (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

At the end of 2016 the OECD/EUIPO released research suggesting that the total trade in counterfeit and pirated products in the EU amounted to as much as 85 billion Euros in 2013. Luxury goods are top of the list and firmly in the sights of counterfeiters for Christmas. So what was done to tackle the problem for Christmas 2016?

Rubik’s Cubes: In a spin (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

Those of us of a certain age will remember the frustration of trying to complete a ‘Rubik’s Cube’. But following the CJEU’s ruling that the trade mark registration for the shape of the famous puzzle is invalid; it is the owner of the original Rubik’s Cube 3D puzzle that will be feeling frustrated.

Unregistered designs: Open and shut case (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

In a recent case, Action Storage (a producer of lockers, such as the ones installed in schools) sued G-Force (another producer of lockers) for infringing its design rights in producing a similar product.

Step by step - trade marks in China (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

Brand owners will take comfort from a decision of China’s highest Court (the Supreme People’s Court of China) in early December. As part of a long running battle between former basketball star, Michael Jordan, and Chinese sports manufacturing giant, Qiaodan Sports, the former basketball star has finally come out on top – at least in relation to one specific trade mark. Overturning decisions from the lower courts, the Supreme People’s Court revoked a trade mark held by Qiaodan for “Jordan” represented in Chinese characters.

Hacked off? Data breaches abound (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

08 February 2017

The inevitable rise of the data breach, otherwise known as the ‘hack’, continued unabated in 2016. The UK government reported that two thirds of ‘large’ business (i.e. greater than or equal to 250 employees – regardless of revenue) “experienced a cyber-breach or attack in the past year”.

New Year’s resolutions for better IP (Brands & IP Newsnotes- issue 4)

08 February 2017

Why stop at making personal resolutions for the New Year when you can make them for your IP too. The start of the year is an excellent time to consider your general IP strategy and even to introduce new practices that will make protecting, using and enforcing your IP that much easier in 2017.

UK proceeding with UPC (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 4)

07 February 2017

The UK government announced that it will proceed with the Unitary Patent and the Unitary Patent Court (“UPC”). This ends months of speculation in the patent community as to what would happen afterthe Brexit vote last June. The UK was a mandatory signatory to the UPC Agreement and there had been concern that the project would stall in light of the UK’s European exit. Only Germany is left to ratify the Agreement and it is expected that the UPC will open in December this year.

Back To Top