IP: Avoid being trigger-happy with trademark lawsuits

Companies that are too aggressive in enforcing their IP rights may suffer negative publicity

Lawyers like to keep busy. But sometimes a good lawyer will advise his or her client to back off, no matter how strong the claim might be.

This is undoubtedly the case in IP litigation, where a misjudged cease and desist letter can be disastrous. There are numerous reasons why it might not be the right strategy to commence proceedings, despite having a perfectly valid case. It might be that the likely damages are minimal compared to the cost of the claim, or it might be that by suing you risk raising the profile of the alleged infringement (also known as the "Streisand Effect", named after Barbra Streisand's counterproductive efforts to hide her house). Just as importantly, a rightsholder risks damage to the reputation of the brand if it is perceived to be overly aggressive or simply lacking a sense of humor.

Contributing Author

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Robert Lands

Robert Lands is head of intellectual property and media at Central London law firm, Finers Stephens Innocent LLP. He specializes in intellectual property and related...

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