Infringement Liability Advise please!

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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muddyuk
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Infringement Liability Advise please!

Post by muddyuk » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:03 am

Hi - hoping someone can help with a question please.

The company I work for is currently involved in a dispute over a trademark infringement. It concerns a piece of artwork generated as an act of parody of a well known brand and distributed free to our customers over 4 years ago and up to the present.

It is currently being argued back and forth between solicitors as to whether the artwork has infringed their trademark.

My question is to do with my personal involvement as an employee who created the piece of disputed artwork. I have not been involved in any of the discussions and am a little uncomfortable. The company is a limited company, the managing director was aware the piece of artwork was in circulation and so far has been fine. Is it likely that this can affect me personally when I was acting in a role employed by the company?

Thanks very much for your help.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:13 pm

Hi muddyuk,

As this is in the hands of the company's solicitors, I think you would be well advised to ask your line manager at work what the company's position is regarding your actions, and whether their solicitor has expressed an opinion over liability in your case.

Were you asked to create this artwork or did you make it on your own initiative? If it was the former, then you should be relatively free from liability, depending on the brief you were given and how closely you stuck to it. However if you created the artwork on your own initiative, albeit for the benefit of the company, you may be considered jointly liable along with the company, in any litigation. It is unlikely the other company will go after you alone.

The problem with trade mark disputes is that there is no defence for parody. It may be that if the parody was sufficiently obvious then no reasonable person would have been confused as to its origins, say, as publicity on behalf of the other company, which might undermine a claim of infringement.

If your company fails to reassure you that they will look after your interests, and you are in a union, it would be worth speaking to a union representative to see if legal advice is available from that direction. Failing that, contact Citizens Advice.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

muddyuk
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Post by muddyuk » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:41 am

Hi Andy - thank you for taking the time to reply, I really do appreciate it. As you can imagine it is a little stressful to have this hanging over you and being a little out of the loop with the communications regarding this matter.

Anyway - thank you. Whilst it hasn't alleviated my concerns, I have more idea of what I may have to deal with.

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