Retail sales have been steadily shifting online since web browsers were first created in the 1990s. Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics shows us that “Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales” increased from 6.8% in February 2010, to 11.7% in February 2015, to 19.1% in February 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the UK into various stages of lockdown since March 2020, internet sales ballooned to a record 36.2% of all retail sales in November 2020.
On the back of this huge shift in retail sales towards the internet, the UK Intellectual Property Office has now issued guidance on the tools that are available to an owner of an IP right, such as a patent, a registered design or a registered trade mark, to remove potentially infringing product listings from some of the more popular e-commerce platforms.
The UKIPO’s guidance covers Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and Facebook (Marketplace). Each of these e-commerce platforms provides a way for an owner of an IP right to effectively assert that IP right. This may allow the owner to remove a competitor’s product listing without having to file an infringement action before a court.
At Reddie & Grose we can provide you with advice on registering commercially useful IP rights in the UK, Europe, and across the world, such as patents, registered designs and registered trade marks. As outlined in the UKIPO’s guidance, registered IP rights can be used to remove allegedly infringing product listings from the most popular e-commerce platforms.
We can also help you to apply to invalidate existing registered IP rights that are being used against you on one of these e-commerce platforms.
If you would like any assistance on anything discussed in this article, or in the UKIPO’s report, or if you would like further information, then please contact us.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.