Life and travel
Last checked : 30/01/2019

Infringement of intellectual property rights

UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information

As of 30 March 2019, all EU law will cease to apply to the UK, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, or the European Council and the UK decide unanimously to extend the two-year negotiation period. For more information about the legal repercussions for businesses:

If you consider that your intellectual property rights have been infringed, there are different authorities you can contact.

For an alternative to a court, you can use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which can be cheaper and faster than a legal dispute in court.

Patent infringement

If someone uses your product or invention protected by a patent without authorisation, you can defend your right and take action. For infringements of national patents you can contact the competent national court.

Imitation of a branded good – Counterfeit products

If someone is selling a good bearing your trademark without your authorisation, you are the victim of counterfeiting.

Block suspicious products

If you suspect that certain goods infringe your intellectual property rights, you can request the competent national customs department to detain these goods. To do so, follow the instruction on the TAXUD portal. For help completing the application, consult the manual on counterfeit.

To protect your products against counterfeit, register with the Enforcement Database of European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which puts you in direct communication with the relevant authorities.

If you are an EU company and you want to report a counterfeit in a country outside the EU, you can use the Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS).

Identical or similar EU trade marks

If someone has registered a similar or identical EU trade mark to yours, you can ask the European Union Intellectual Property Right Office (EUIPO) to cancel their registration. If the registration is still ongoing, you can oppose the application.

To find out more about your right and the procedures to follow, check the EUIPO page on enforcing your registered trade mark.

Infringement of trade secrets

In case of infringement of trade secrets, you can initiate a legal proceeding before a court. The outcome might be a court order prohibiting the infringer from using or further disclosing the trade secret and/or monetary compensation.

Dispute over domain names

If you find out that someone has deceivingly registered a domain name whose IP rights belong to you, such as:

If then, this person tries to sell you such a domain, you are victim of cybersquatting. In domain name dispute cases, you can either go to court or make good use of non-judicial remedies including ICANN alternative proceedings. ​

Sample story

Sofi is a Swedish entrepreneur and trades Asian food products in Sweden and Finland. To sell her product online, she has registered a website called orientexpress-asianfood.com. A few months after the registration, a company contacts Sofi to try to sell her the domain name orientexpress-asianfood.eu. If she doesn't agree to buy this domain, they tell her they will sell it to another company, could make her lose some clients. Sofi thinks this is a sort of blackmail so she decides to report the company to the Swedish authorities.

For further information, consult the fact sheet on domain names and cybersquatting from the European Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk (EHD).

Infringement of protected geographical indications

If your product that is protected by geographical indication has been counterfeited or there have been other infringements of geographical indication, you should contact the competent national authority.

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Local business support - Do you have questions on operating a business cross-border, for example exporting or expanding to another EU country? If so, the Enterprise Europe Network can give you free advice.

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