Someone is using my IP

When someone uses your product for commercial gain without your permission, they may be infringing on your intellectual property (IP). Here's how to determine if your IP is being infringed, and what you can do to stop it.

What is IP infringement?

IP infringement is the violation or unauthorised use of an IP right. If someone is using your IP without you knowing or without your permission, this may be infringement.

How can I stop the infringement?

You'll first need to understand if infringement has taken place. This depends on the type of IP right involved. If you think someone has infringed your IP, consider:

  • What IP is being infringed?
  • What's the value of that IP?
  • Who do you believe is infringing your IP?
  • What evidence do you have that the infringement has occurred?

It may be tempting to take strong action against a potential infringer, but it may not be your best option. You need to consider the cost of pursuing compared to the potential for lost income.

Keep in mind that making an unfounded claim of IP infringement can result in liability for damages.

Before taking legal action

If someone has made a new application to protect a similar trade mark, patent, design or plant variety, and you have grounds for a complaint, you can:

  1. Dispute an application for new IP
  2. Oppose the registration or grant of new IP
  3. Oppose an extension of time request
  4. Request re-examination of an application
  5. Request removal of a trade mark for non-use.

Challenge an IP right

Stop infringing goods from coming into Australia

If you believe someone's importing goods that infringe your rights, you can lodge a notice of objection with the Australian Border Force (ABF). This gives them the authority to temporarily seize suspected infringing goods.

To help the ABF identify infringing goods, you can also provide them with information about your brand at any time. Your details are commercially protected and won't be released or used for any other purpose.

Australian Border Force

How to stop online infringement

If your IP is infringed online, you'll need to find out who the infringer is. Check their domain name's registration in the Australian and international WHOIS databases.

If you can't contact or identify the infringer, you may need to engage an investigator or IP professional. If the infringer is outside Australia, you may need to work with lawyers in the relevant country to act on your behalf.

For help with online infringement, check out the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center. It offers mediation, arbitration, and expert determination to enable parties to settle their domestic or cross-border commercial disputes.

Seek legal advice

Before you take any action, consider getting legal advice specific to your situation. It's important to know:

  • What rights you have
  • What remedies are open to you
  • The cost and likelihood of success.
Engage an IP attorney