The last few weeks has seen me tied up in a flurry of IP problems. It seems more and more companies are keen on exercising their IP rights in all manner of ways. The most recent scandal has been concerning alleged infringing of a website design. Now if the text and photographs were the same I could see the point. However the complainer has a very familiar layout that you see all over the web and in fact you can buy a template just like it for $58.00. They claim £100,000 in damages ! How they have lost profits of this magnitude from a website is beyond reckoning.
Now the threats they have made in their letters in my book amounts to blackmail and extortion and time will see if they can indeed prosecuted in the criminal courts.
My main objection also has to do with the courts. This company and their lawyer can file a “complaint ” for £100,000 and the courts and judge will not really read what is in the rubbish but procedures require that you file your defence. If you do not then judgement can be entered against you. The scam works this way. You pick on a small to medium company, threaten them with a barrage of legal rubbish in a specialised area. The scammed party contacts a local lawyer who is not really up on the finer points of IP and believes that the best way is to settle thus playing into the hands of the IP lawyer who pockets the majority of the claim. The client of the lawyer gets very little as the settlement is all used up in “fees”.
This time we are not giving in and hope to end this type of dodgy practise. Hopefully the courts will see through the scam and that we can see an end to further abuses of IP. It will be interesting to see if the magistrates at the criminal court agree with our assertions of fraud and take action