You should keep in mind that the laws concerning the enforcement of IP are not the same in every country. Hence, since law harmonisation is not the case in IP enforcement, it is safer to try – at least at the first stage – to resolve any IP dispute out of court. However, if all of the attempts to find an out-of-court solution fail, IP owners shall rely on court proceedings. The contribution of an IP lawyer is pivotal at this point.
In this context, two different proceedings can take place; civil actions and criminal prosecution. Bringing a civil action to the court means that you are about to enforce your IP rights by filing a lawsuit for infringement in a national specialised civil court. That is to say, you are applying for a preliminary or permanent injunction or other forms of interim measures (i.e. seizure of bank account) and claiming for a compensation through the award of damages. Other relief measures may also be confiscation as well as the destruction of illegal goods. It is to be noticed that since IP legal proceedings are rather costly, you are advised to anticipate an approximate budget for enforcement litigation and insuring the organisation against the financial costs linked to it.
Criminal prosecution, on the other hand, is also possible under certain circumstances and sanctions such as criminal fines, confiscation, destruction of goods and even imprisonment can be posed by courts. However, these criminal offences can be brought to trial only by public prosecutors and decided upon by criminal courts. Furthermore, it is to be noticed that criminal prosecution is mainly for trademarks and design “counterfeiting” as well as for copyright “piracy” or theft of confidential business information since the legal base of prosecution is usually the infringer’s intention to benefit financially from the commercial advantage of the IP owner.