7 somewhat less obvious ways of infringing others’ IP rights

There are some things, such as copying an article without the owner’s consent, which many would recognise as an obvious infringement of intellectual property (IP) rights. However, there are numerous ways of infringing IP rights that might surprise you. Being aware of these may reduce the chances of you unknowingly undermining another’s IP rights.

  1. Reproducing a published edition of a work, in whole or in part, even if the copyright in the original work has expired. For example, reproducing a published edition of a novel online, using the same font, style and layout.
  2. Creating a product that is sufficiently similar to an existing product on the market, such that people confuse the two to the detriment of the existing product.
  3. Simply offering to use a patented process, knowing that using it would breach its patent, amounts to an infringement of the patent owner’s rights.
  4. Abusive use of a trade mark, whether registered or unregistered, in a domain name for a commercial website undermines the trade mark owner’s rights.
  5. If you keep a patented product, you risk infringing the patent owner’s rights. Whether or not you dispose of the product soon after acquiring it is irrelevant.
  6. You could probably guess that the owner of a design will have rights to it, and that making a product identical, or very similar, to the design risks infringing those rights. What you might not have guessed is that creating a document that enables such a product to be made could also infringe the owner’s IP rights.
  7. Creating a patented product, without permission, is an infringement of the owner’s IP rights. But did you know that importing a patented product can also infringe the patent owner’s rights?

More on trade mark infringement

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