How can infringements be avoided?
Infringement is the act of reproducing, imitating or using all or part of a work protected by intellectual property rights without the consent of the owner.
Infringement through the illegal or unauthorised reproduction is estimated to account for 5 to 10% of world trade. It threatens both the creator by violating their monopoly on exploitation, and the consumer by creating confusion between the original and copied work.
This is why, in the context of intellectual property and as a creator, it is important to act in cases of infringement.
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Conditions for bringing an infringement action
If you believe you are a victim of an infringement, before taking any action, make sure that your rights are:
- Of prior ownership: The registration or creation of your work must be prior to that created by the alleged infringer.
- Applicable: Make sure that the rights to your creative work, trademark or patent are still in force.
- Protected in the territory concerned: For example, you cannot bring an infringement action in Spain if your rights are only valid in France.
- Legitimate: If your rights arise from a transfer, make sure it is in order.
- Tangible: Evidence of registration or creation must be provided.
How to bring an action for infringement
Criminal or civil action can be taken. To do so, representation by a lawyer is required. The civil procedure is relatively simple to implement and can take up to 2 to 3 years. Criminal proceedings are more complex and often very lengthy.
This is mostly recommended for high volume infringements.
In both civil and criminal cases, the court can compel the infringer to:
- Paydamages calculated on the basis of the harm the victim has sustained.
- Cease the infringement and to withdraw the infringed copyright from all commercial channels.
Criminal sanctions can mean the infringer is liable to a penalty of up to 7 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to 750 000 €.
Protecting against infringement
To fight infringement, ownership rights of any alleged infringed work must be proven. This can be done by registering your intellectual property. At Fidealis we offer you the possibility to register copyright on your creative work. These are then officially certified, signed and timestamped.
This registration allows you to assert your rights in the event of a dispute.