Government Releases Intellectual Property Guide For Businesses

The Government’s Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox, has announced the launch of a new guide for businesses on how to avoid falling foul of intellectual property laws.

The guide, entitled ‘Preventing Infringement of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights in the Workplace’, is designed to give companies and their employees advice on IP laws and how they can make sure they aren’t using other people’s intellectual property in an illegal manner.

Also included in the guide are examples of how IP laws can be broken in the workplace, such as:

• Employees using the work intranet system to sell infringing products to colleagues
• Using unlicensed software on work computer systems
• Employees using company equipment and servers to sell or distribute infringing content online without management’s knowledge

The consequences of breaching IP laws could be very costly for businesses, as cases often end up in court as copyright infringement lawsuits. Businesses and employees can also be fined as much as £50,000 if found guilty of infringing on copyright laws. This is why business owners are also advised to take out professional indemnity insurance, so that the costs of this kind of legal case and its outcome are covered.

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