Is it OK to hyperlink to copyright protected material?

copyright_symbolA recent court case before the European Courts of Justice (CJEU), has added clarification to the question of when you are allowed to hyperlink from your website to copyright protected material.

Posting hyperlinks to legally published copyright protected material is allowed, even without the copyright owners permission.   You are not, however, allowed to link to material that you know has been illegally posted.

GS Media BV v. Sanoma Media a.o. case (C-160-15)  is a dispute between Dutch shockblog GeenStijl and Sanoma, publisher of Playboy.   GeenStijl posted hyperlinks on its website to a website showing copyright protected photographs which had not previously been published, and had been posted on the website without permission from the copyright holder.

The court has ruled that parties with a profit motive would be expected to research whether or not the materials that it is linking to have been published legitimately.

If one of the parties does not have a profit motive, they would not be expected to have the resources to carry out the necessary research to find out if the material is posted legitimately, then it is acceptable to link to the material.

Click to view and download the Flow Chart below

copyright-flow-chart

Even if there is a profit motive, if it can be proved that there was enough evidence to believe that the material was legally posted, you are able to link to the material.

In essence, if you knowingly link to material that is published without the copyright owners permission, you are breaching their copyright, and you are expected to take reasonable efforts to establish whether or not the material has been legally published.

If you have any questions about this or any other intellectual property issue please contact us.

 

How does IP help small companies grow?

Some companies think that investing in Intellectual Property isn’t right for them…. it’s something that the big boys do…  Wrong!  IP isn’t just for large companies with deep pockets.  UK SME’s file over 10x as many patents and trade mark applications as big companies.   The time and money that you have invested in your innovation and business should be protected by IP rights.

  • IP encourages investment in your company
  • IP protects against unsafe and counterfeit goods
  • Inventions that are protected by patents are valuable business assets
  • Registering your trade mark allows you to safely extend its business use
  • IP protects and supports innovation
  • Innovation promotes business growth
  • Profits from patented inventions attract reduced UK corporation tax through the Patent Box so you get to keep more of your profits to re-invest in business growth

Below is a short film from Ideas Matter – www.ideasmatter.com

IP By Numbers: Video from Ideas Matter on Vimeo

Contact Sanderson & Co to talk about how you can make the best use of IP rights.

Setting your IP GOAL – Leveraging your IP Rights

The importance of developing an IP strategyYour Intellectual Property (IP) rights can provide a number of significant benefits to your company.

The most obvious benefit is that they can prevent your competitors from copying your products or brands, but they can also be used to generate revenue through licensing or selling your IP rights to others.

It is important to have a  complete strategy for your business when it comes to IP.  Your comprehensive IP strategy should consider four main areas:

In our previous three posts we have discussed Generating IP, Obtaining IP rights and Avoiding IP rights; in this final post in the series we discuss ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you with Leveraging your IP rights.

Passive Approach

What are your competitors doing?

If you are aware of your competitor’s products and brands, then you can be in a better position to assert your rights against those products and brands. Sanderson & Co. can monitor the products and brands of your competitors and can help you to identify potential infringements. We can also provide an assessment of the strength of your IP rights and advise on the likelihood of there being an infringement.

Collaborative Approach

Do you want to compromise?

Sometimes the most appropriate approach is to grant a licence or assignment of your IP rights to a potential infringer.  Sanderson & Co. can assist with negotiating licences or assignments of IP rights, and we can be on hand to review licence and assignment agreements to ensure that they are suitable for your needs from an IP perspective.  We can also work with solicitors on the wider commercial aspects of a deal.

Pro-active Approach

Is further action needed?

Ultimately it may be necessary to assert your IP rights against others. However, this must be done in the right way so as to be effective and so as to avoid you being accused of making groundless threats.

At Sanderson & Co. we can help you to assert your rights in the right way, for example by sending appropriately worded warning letters. We can also assist with providing arguments to present during court proceedings for infringement actions.

The above are just some of the ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you to achieve your GOAL of a comprehensive IP strategy.

If you would like any advice regarding Leveraging IP or any of the other topics in this series of blogs, then do not hesitate to contact Sanderson & Co. to book a free 30-minute consultation. Please remember to mention this blog when booking your consultation.

Setting your IP GOAL – Avoiding IP rights of others

The importance of developing an IP strategyIntellectual Property (IP) rights can be a powerful tool for your business, but also for your competitors’ businesses!

Your business needs to be aware of what other people are doing so that you can avoid infringing their IP rights, find ways to work with them or oppose their rights when necessary.

It is important to have a  complete strategy for your business when it comes to IP.  At Sanderson &Co. we believe that a comprehensive IP strategy should consider four main areas:

In this four-part series of blogs we will explain how we can help you to achieve your IP GOAL.

In our previous post we discussed Obtaining IP rights.  This week we discuss ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you with Avoiding the IP rights of others.

Passive Approach

Do you know what IP rights your competitors have?

If you are aware of your competitors’ IP rights, then you can be in a better position to avoid infringing those rights. Intellectual Property searches for existing IP rights are a good starting point to enable you to identify the IP rights of others. These searches can be tailored to a particular product or brand and to particular competitors.

As well as carrying out IP searches, Sanderson & Co. can also monitor the various IP offices’ registers for IP rights being granted to your competitors.

We can help you to identify IP rights that may affect your business, and help you to avoid those rights by suggesting ways to “work around” them.

Collaborative Approach

Can you reach a compromise? Would licensing be a solution?

We understand that sometimes it is not possible or desirable to work around the IP rights of others. In these cases, you may be able to seek a licence or assignment of the IP rights in question.

Sanderson & Co. can co-ordinate the negotiation of licences or assignments of IP rights, and we can be on hand to review licence and assignment agreements to ensure that they are suitable for your needs from an IP perspective.

Pro-active Approach

Is further action needed?

IP rights are not infallible and it may be that the IP rights granted to your competitors should not have been granted to them. At Sanderson & Co. we can help you to challenge the IP rights of others either at the IP office in question or during court proceedings.

For example, European patents can be opposed during the nine months following grant of the patent. Trade Mark applications can also be opposed after registration. Sanderson & Co. can file these oppositions so that spurious IP rights can be cancelled. We can also assist with providing arguments to present before or during court proceedings.

The above are just some of the ways in which Sanderson & Co. can help you to achieve your GOAL of a comprehensive IP strategy.

If you would like any advice regarding Generating IP or any of the other topics in this series of blogs, then do not hesitate to contact Sanderson & Co. to book a free 30-minute consultation. Please remember to mention this blog when booking your consultation.

In our next piece we will be discussing Leveraging your IP rights.

Is it possible to protect early-stage creative output? A new IP collaboration aims to find a way…

On 22nd April 2013 Sanderson & Co attended the inaugural meeting of the IP Innovation Fund at the British Library in London.

brain_cogs_smallWe are proud to be one of 30 UK IP law firms who have now united behind IP Innovation Fund to focus on early-stage entry into the IP system for creators of all types.  The launch of the IPIF has been led by Creative Barcode and Innovation Bank in response to the UK IP Review, Hargreaves recommendations, and the (Richard) Hooper Stage 1 report.   The aim of the IPIF is to discuss, develop and work toward ways of helping creators, of all types, to enter the intellectual property system at an earlier stage than they currently do.

“In the digital age the IP issues have become far more confused and complex where most internet users do not understand the difference between free to access, free to view and that of free or paid or permission based download and use of copyright works published online” commented Maxine Horn, CEO, Creative Barcode.

Protection of concepts and safe disclosure

It is essential that creators feel confident that they can have safe conversations with third parties at the beginning of the design process. Of particular interest is how early-stage concepts are protected allowing them to develop further and potentially lead to patent applications, registered designs or copyright registration and the commercialisation of that IP.

Caroline Ward from Sanderson & Co says, “We look forward to seeing the progress that is made by the IPIF, but it is vitally important to consider whether it is possible to obtain IP protection, and, if so, to apply for such protection before you disclose a concept; a public disclosure of your concept could prevent you from obtaining protection.”

For advice about IP protection please contact Caroline Ward.

For further information about the IP Innovation Fund please contact Maxine J Horn, CEO Creative Barcode. m.j.horn@creativebarcode.com