Why you need to develop an infringement strategy

Defending your intellectual property from infringement is a headache. You need to decide what the appropriate response is, depending on a number of factors including who the infringer is, your budget and what you stand to gain from taking action. What you need, in other words, is an infringement strategy.

It's always frustrating to find another party infringing on your IP. When it occurs, it's up to you to choose how to respond. That choice should be informed by an infringement strategy you've developed with an intellectual property lawyer.

But what is an infringement strategy, and why do you need to have one?

Know your rights

Unlike many other legal rights, authorities will not pursue IP violations on your behalf – you need to enforce them yourself. This is not to say you take justice into your own hands, but rather that you as the IP owner choose how to enforce your IP rights. You can choose to do nothing about infringers, but you will find the legal value of your IP protections greatly diminished if you do. As such, the action you choose to take will depend on your infringement strategy.

You're in charge of protecting your own IP.You're in charge of protecting your own IP.

What is an infringement strategy?

In a sentence, an infringement strategy is the set of principles you'll use to respond to IP violations by other parties. To see why such a strategy is important, imagine for a moment that we lived in a world where it was incredibly easy to prove infringement had taken place, and the costs of doing so were non existent. In this world, your infringement strategy wouldn't really be a strategy at all, because it would consist of one thing – launching legal proceedings in every case.

But the real world is far more complicated. Sometimes proving infringement is difficult; sometimes the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits that will be gained from winning. As such, every instance of potential infringement needs to be taken on a case by case basis, using your infringement strategy to inform what you do.

What makes up an infringement strategy?

A fully developed infringement strategy involves a number of factors:

IP management – you need to know what your IP is, and maintain records of its development and use. This makes it much easier to prove the IP is yours.

Budget – what resources do you have to protect your IP? If they're low, how will you prioritise?

Choice of enforcement – does the perpetrator of the infringement influence whether you'll pursue legal action?

There is a great deal more that goes into an infringement strategy. To learn more about developing your own, get in touch with Alder IP today for a free consultation.