Our expertise includes:

  • Entertainment law
  • Sports Law
  • Media
  • Defamation
  • Privacy
  • Licensing, brand acquisition and sale
  • Franchises
  • Trade Marks and Passing-off
  • Registered and Unregistered designs
  • Confidential information and know-how
  • Copyrights and Database rights
  • Patents
  • Data Protection
  • Freedom of Information
intellectual property dispute - man thinking
intellectual property dispute - man thinking

Intellectual property law services

Being in the public eye can be daunting, however we are here to guide and advise you in navigating the best path, this includes advice on: Print and broadcasting media: advertising models, author agreements. Reputation management of companies and individuals, book publishing agreement, pre-publication advice. Visual Art and Design: fine art, royalties, moral rights.

Unfounded accusations can cause enormous distress, but with our assistance we can help you take the appropriate action. Defamation occurs when defamatory words or writing have caused or are likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of a person or company. Thus a business or individual can seek to protect their reputation by taking legal action for defamation.

The issue of privacy has become of great importance in recent years particularly if you come under public scrutiny, more so if the matter concerns one’s private life or company information. Privacy is where information or conduct should be kept private by an individual or company. Privacy actions have been successful where private and confidential information is disclosed in breach of a duty of confidence established by way of a contract or relationship.

For some businesses Licensing is a very economic market entry strategy and also a means by which to expand a business. We are able to advise on software licensing agreements for acquisition or disposal, video games development, technology licenses, production agreements, SMS content and websites, including the licensing of trademarks and trade names.

Franchising is the granting of a licence by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to trade as their own businesses under the brand of the franchisor, following a proven business model. Most commonly they are seen in the consumer retail sector. From the franchisor’s point of view, franchising is a way that a business can be rapidly expanded using the capital and efforts of franchisees whilst the know-how and goodwill are retained by the franchisor. From the franchisee’s point of view, a good franchise comes with a guaranteed brand name, know-how, systems and a ready-made customer base that makes running a successful business much easier. There are around 40,000 franchise outlets in the UK and franchise agreements are long and complex documents. We can help you set up a franchise as franchisor if your business model would benefit from it; or guide you through the pitfalls of signing that franchise agreement if you are thinking about becoming a franchisee.

A trade mark is a “brand” that indicates the owner of goods or services and is expressed in words, slogans, logos, domain names, shapes and packaging of goods. If the trade mark is registered, the owner has the exclusive right to use the mark, which can last indefinitely, subject to renewal every 10 years. The mark may apply territorially for the UK only or for Europe (a community trade mark CTM) and for many other countries throughout the world.

If you have a trade mark which is not registered, it’s referred to as an unregistered trade mark. The owner can protect his unregistered trade mark by bringing an action against an infringer for “Passing-off”, which is not as strong or as easy a claim. So it’s better to have a registered mark.

Depending on your type of business and the markets and territories in which you intend to trade, we can advise you accordingly. We have many years of experience of advising clients in this area of the law.

Design rights – protects the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features and the design of the shape or configuration (whether internal or external) of the whole or part of an article.

The designer is the first owner of the design. Registration is through the UK Intellectual Property Office or in Europe via the OHIM.

Registered designs essential feature is to protect both three-dimensional and two-dimensional designs and registration gives:

- Up to 25 year monopoly
- For the whole or part of a product – lines, contours, shape, texture or materials.
-The design should have some novelty and individual Character


Unregistered designs – UK unregistered design rights give the owner the right to protect the appearance of three-dimensional functional products against unauthorised copying or dealing in infringing copies

- Automatically arising upon creation of the design;
- Duration can last up to 15 years;
- Weaker than registered design right
- In addition to UK unregistered design right there is the European Community Unregistered Design right.

The Unregistered Community Design gives the owner the right to prevent any unauthorised copying or dealing in infringing copies throughout the European Union. The right arises automatically when the goods are first made available to the public in the Community and, although it is slightly wider in scope than the UK one, lasts for only three years.

Breach of design right is a very useful tool when competitors copy your products (or obtain grey imports from China or similar non-EU manufacturing centres) as it applies automatically to very many manufactured products. If you think a competitor may be copying your product, then don’t hesitate to ring our dispute resolution team.

Confidential information plays a crucial part in the transfer of knowledge. It can be the most valuable asset of any business. It is therefore important to identify such information and mark it and store it securely.

Know-how can be referred to as ‘closely held’ information in relation to inventions, formulas, designs, drawings, procedures and methods, together with accumulated skills and experience in the hands of an individual or company which may offer a competitive advantage. Know-how is a ‘private intellectual property’ and may be transferred by way of license.

If you are about to have discussions with others about buying or investing in your business or the possible entry into joint ventures or other long-term commercial agreements, you should always make sure the other side is made aware of the confidential nature of the information being shared and have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). We can assist in the negotiation and drafting of the terms of the NDA.

These are similarly rights that arise automatically on creation of works by qualifying persons and last for many decades (usually 70 years after the death of the creator). Generally the copyright of a work vests in its maker, unless that person is creating the work in the course of his or her employment, in which case it will belong to his employer. If you sub-contract out your software coding, website or graphic design, photography, creation of advertising copy or translation of brochures etc. it is critical to make sure that you get assignment of any copyright to you – or you will at best be left with a licence to use but no ownership of the right. Database rights are an additional right (very similar to copyright) and are used when the works comprised in a database are not sufficiently original to engage copyright protection but nevertheless reflect significant work being put into the database (the most famous examples are TV schedules and football fixtures).

Our business team often acts in the licensing of such rights whilst our dispute resolution team is experienced in both their enforcement and defence of allegation of breach of them.

Inventing things is great, particularly when it helps others, but it’s even more rewarding if your invention can earn you money. If it can earn money, then it is best to get that invention patented, so that you can defend it from copying (whether intentional or accidental).

To be granted a patent, your invention must be all of the following:

- something that can be made or used;
new; and
have an inventive step – not just a simple modification to something that already exists.

Not every invention is patentable and expense can be a huge hurdle to getting your invention patented, so ensure that your invention is not excluded from been patented.

Our team can refer you to the appropriate specialist patent attorney to help you get your invention patented as well as dealing with patent licensing and enforcement actions.

These are very complex and much misunderstood areas of law. Data Protection Law affects virtually every business in the UK and, with the growth of data held and increasing connectivity and access to it, compliance with the law is recognised as being of increasing importance in many business sectors.

Freedom of Information is a similar area that needs to be understood by any supplier to public bodies.

Our commercial team can help you navigate the minefield of compliance and make sure that your agreements and processes legally enable you to use the data you need in the way you want to.

intellectual property law thinking
intellectual property law thinking

Why choose Davis Blank Furniss?

Merit Icon Founded in 1877
Team members icon 60+ experienced employees
Apartment block icon Offices in Manchester & Glossop
Law Scales Full service law firm

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Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

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“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

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“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

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“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

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“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

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How can we help?

Get expert legal advice.

If you need any legal advice or assistance with regards to personal or family law, contact the Davis Blank Furniss team now.

Get expert legal advice.

If you need any legal advice or assistance with regards to personal or family law, contact the Davis Blank Furniss team now.








    Manchester Office

    If you need any legal advice or assistance from our Manchester office, contact the Davis Blank Furniss team now.

    Glossop Office

    If you need any legal advice or assistance from our Glossop office, contact the Davis Blank Furniss team now.

    Kate Oldfield

    Kate Oldfield

    Managing Partner
    Martyn Gee

    Martyn Gee

    Partner
    Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan

    Partner
    Richard Hamilton

    Richard Hamilton

    Partner
    Sonio Singh

    Sonio Singh

    Partner
    Susan Bann

    Susan Bann

    Partner
    Andy McNish

    Andy McNish

    Partner
    Shiva Shadi

    Shiva Shadi

    Partner
    Kirsty Morbey

    Kirsty Morbey

    Partner
    Jennifer Smith

    Jennifer Smith

    Partner
    Paul Walton

    Paul Walton

    Consultant
    Stuart Shalom

    Stuart Shalom

    Consultant
    Amie Tsang

    Amie Tsang

    Senior Consultant
    Rebecca Taylor

    Rebecca Taylor

    Associate Solicitor
    Katherine Darbinean

    Katherine Darbinean

    Solicitor
    Gregory Carr

    Gregory Carr

    Solicitor
    Danielle Cobb

    Danielle Cobb

    Solicitor
    Lauren Sever

    Lauren Sever

    Solicitor
    Kirsty Fillery

    Kirsty Fillery

    Solicitor
    Joanne Mercer

    Joanne Mercer

    Probate Manager
    Jackie Miller

    Jackie Miller

    Senior Litigator
    Emma Little

    Emma Little

    Conveyancing Paralegal
    Rachel McNeill

    Rachel McNeill

    Senior Litigator
    Tanya Birkett

    Tanya Birkett

    Trainee Solicitor
    Rhiannon Turner

    Rhiannon Turner

    Trainee Solicitor