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Letter To The Editor: Protecting Intellectual Property

Letter To The Editor: Protecting Intellectual Property

This is a guest article by Alan Burgess of Timberweld®

Dear Jason,

The industry has a mixed record of respecting intellectual property (IP). We’ve probably all seen cases of copying (ranging from accidental infringement to blatant copying and theft) of innovations, product design and brands. Common infringements range from using images and brochures without permission, passing off as other brands, as well as copying other companies’ products without permission and benefitting from their innovation and investment without paying for them.

We all pay a price if we allow this to happen. People invest a great deal of time and money in building their brand and developing innovations. As an industry, we need a flow of innovative ideas and new products to help us take advantage of new opportunities and expand the market. But companies are not going to continue investing their time, efforts and money if they don’t get a return.

Over the years, window systems, roofline companies, hardware and conservatory companies, fabricators and installer networks like TimberWindows.com and Bygone Collection have engaged in successful legal action to defend their intellectual property, and indirectly have defended the industry.

As MD of Masterframe and the Bygone Collection, I’ve experienced this at first-hand. Recently, we successfully took legal action against a company that purported to sell Bygone windows and doors, using Bygone promotional literature. When the homeowner realised the difference in quality and turned to us we took the company to court, acting on behalf of the homeowner and Bygone Collection installers who they were pretending to be. The guilty party was fined over £5,000 plus 100 hours unpaid community work. Rip-offs like this give our industry (and them) a bad name.

it’s important to check if the image, product or innovation you want to use is copyrighted, or patented, and if you need a licence. Checking and obtaining a licence is a lot cheaper than legal action, and a lot less disruptive. Doing it right saves you money and your reputation.

Yours sincerely

Alan Burgess, Timberweld®

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By |2018-12-11T23:14:12+00:00December 11th, 2018|Categories: double glazing industry|

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Keith Paceyalan burgessJohn Kelehermark hanson Recent comment authors

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mark hanson
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mark hanson

Alan has raised some very good points. Developing products and brands is expensive and companies that invest deserve to make a better than average return on that investment – those who copy or cut corners undermine this and ultimately pull down prices.

John Keleher
Guest

Hear, hear, totally agree with you Alan. We are constantly protecting our registered trade names, and intellectual property. Unfortunately, we never recover the full costs of the legal action we take, or advice we receive.

alan burgess
Guest

Thank you Mark, John, appreciate the comments, question is, what can be done to prevent it. The issue is that we always find out after the event, then its “oh didn’t realise” and “were only little you’re a big company, it wont hurt you to turn a blind eye” Sorry but we are still a small business, passionate and we act responsibly. As product leaders in sash windows, we’ve always invented stuff, developed our own solutions and never knowingly breached anyone’s patents or copied their ideas, just a pity so many organisations think differently. Is it too much to expect… Read more »

Keith Pacey
Guest

Hi Alan, well done on the result of your court case. The time and effort involved in obtaining IP for our company, to gain valuable USP’s for our customers is immense, but if we go to the trouble of obtaining IP, then it has to be defended. We have always attempted to take the friendly approach first, and I think the response “oh we didn’t realise” seems to be the stock answer! When we have approached companies in the past about copying our IP, we have been accused of defamation of character! But once they realise we will defend our… Read more »

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