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Defending your intellectual property

In general, the more your intellectual property (IP) is worth, the higher the chance someone else might try to infringe on it. 

If you think someone is imitating, copying or stealing your IP, it’s a good idea to take these basic steps:

  1. Don’t overreact. People get into trouble by thinking they’re in the right, when often they’re not.
  2. Check your IP. Are you actually being infringed on? Make sure the IP is actually yours and you haven’t, for example, accidentally let your registration lapse.
  3. Get legal advice. Specialist IP advisors will figure out the best (and most cost-effective way) to defend what’s yours. Read more on prepping for IP advice.
  4. Consider the costs. Before agreeing to legal action, ask yourself how much this infringement will cost your business. If it’s affecting your bottom line (or is likely to), it may be worth taking legal action to protect your IP.
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Most IP disputes in New Zealand are settled out of court.

Most IP disputes in New Zealand are settled out of court.

casestudy FromPartnersToRivals

Case study

From partners to rivals

Sammi and Trudi run a successful business selling infant products, including a new type of toddler cup that Sammi developed. After a disagreement, however, Trudi leaves to work for another business, taking the idea for the infant cup with her.

In an effort to claim ownership over the cup and stop the rival company selling it, Sammi tries to register the design with IPONZ. However, because the cup has been sold for years without any IP protection, it’s not considered new and her application for a design is deemed invalid.

Read more on IPONZ (external link)

Find out more about getting patent support using the New Zealand Patent Attorney Register (external link)

Watch out for traders taking advantage of your good reputation.

Watch out for traders taking advantage of your good reputation.

If sales are unusually down, or customers complain about inferior goods that you didn’t provide, someone could be copying your IP.

Examples are key in IP disputes so consider how you might  gather  proof of infringements.

Examples are key in IP disputes so consider how you might gather proof of infringements.

This might be product samples, website screenshots, quotes or material from the infringing party. 

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